Moyers: "What does it mean, "Eternity is in love with the productions of time? (said by William Blake)
Campbell: "The source of temporal life is the eternity. Eternity pours itself into the world. It is a basic mythic idea of the god who becomes many in us. In India, the god who lies in me is called the "inhabitant" of the body. To identify with that divine immortal aspect of yourself us to identify with divinity." (p. 49)
Campbell: "I think of mythology as the homeland of the muses, the inspirers of art, the inspirers of poetry. To see life as a poem and yourself participating in a poem is what mythology does for you."
Moyers: A poem?
Campbell: "I mean a vocabulary in the form of not words but acts and adventures, which connotes something transcendent of the action here so that you always feel in accord with the universal being." (p. 55)
Campbell: "The inner world is the world of your requirements and our energies and your structure and your possibilities that meets the outer world. And the outer world is the field of your incarnation. That's where you are. You've got to keep both going. As Novalis said, "The seat of the soul is there where the inner and the outer world meets." (p. 57)
Campbell: "Myths are so intimately bound to the culture, time, and place that unless the symbols, the metaphors, are kept alive by constant recreation through the arts, the life just slips away from them."
Moyers: "Who speaks in metaphors today?"
Campbell: "All poets. Poetry is a metaphorical language."
Moyers: "A metaphor suggests potential."
Campbell: "Yes, but it also suggests the actuality that hides behind the visible aspect. The metaphor is the mask of God through which eternity is being experienced." (p. 60)
Campbell: "There has to be an experience to catch the message, some clue - otherwise you are not hearing what is being said."
Moyers: "The person who has the experience has to project it in the best way he can with images. It seems to me that we have lost the art in our society of thinking in images."
Campbell: "Oh, we definitely have. Our thinking is largely discursive, verbal, linear. There is more reality in an image than in a word." (p. 61)
Campbell: "Usually you think of a thing in practical terms, but you could think of anything in terms of its mystery. For example, this is a watch, but it is also a thing in being. You could put it down, draw a ring around it, and regard it in that dimension. That is the point of consecration... Do you really know what a thing is? What supports it? It is something in time and space. Think how mysterious it is that anything should be. The watch becomes the center for a meditation, the center of intelligible being, which is everywhere. The watch is not the center of the universe. It is the still point in the turning world." (p. 61)
Campbell: "Time and space form the sensibilities that bound our experiences. Our senses are enclosed in the field of time and space, and out minds are enclosed in a frame of the categories of thought. But the ultimate thing (which is no thing) that we are trying to get in touch with is not so enclosed. We enclose it as we try to think about it. The transcendent transcends all categories of thinking. Being and nonbeing - those are categories, The word "God" properly refers to what transcends all thinking, but the word "god" itself is something thought about... I mean whatever is ultimate is beyond categories of being and nonbeing... God as the ultimate mystery of being ios beyond thinking."
Campbell: "Then think of the galaxies beyond galaxies in infinite space, each a lotus, with a Brahma sitting on it, opening his eyes, closing his eyes." (myth of Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva and Indra). (p. 63)
Campbell: "Life is, in its very essence and character, a terrible mystery - this whole business of living by killing and eating. But it is a childish attitude to say no to life with all its pain, to say that this is something that should not have been." (p. 65)
Campbell: "You are participating in the evil, or you are not alive. Whatever you do is evil for somebody. This is one of the ironies of the whole creation... What is good for one is evil for the other. And you play your part, not withdrawing from the world when you realize how horrible it is, but seeing that this horror is simply the foreground of a wonder: a mysterium tremendum et fascinans..."All life is sorrowful" is the first Buddhist saying, and so it is. It wouldn't be life if there were not temporality involved, which is sorrow, loss, loss. You've got to say yes to life to see it as magnificent this way; for this is surely the way God intended it... I don't believe there was anybody who intended it, but this is the way it is. James Joyce has a memorable line: "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." And the way to awake from it is not to be afraid, and recognize that all of this, as it is, is a manifestation of the horrendous power that is of all creation. The ends of things are always painful. But pain is part of there being a world at all." (p. 65)
Campbell: "The hero is the one who comes to participate in life courageously and decently, in the way of nature, not in the way of person rancor, disappointment or revenge. The hero's sphere of action is not the transcendent but here, now, in the filed of time, of good and evil - of the pair of opposites." (p. 66)
Campbell: "You've got to say yes to this miracle of life as it is, not on the condition that it follows your rules. Otherwise, you'll never get to through to the metaphysical dimension." (p. 67)
Campbell: "Eternity isn't some later time. Eternity isn't even a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now that all thinking in temporal terms cuts off. And if you don't get it here, you won't get it anywhere... But the experience of eternity right here and now, in all things, whether thought of as good or evil, is the function of life." (p. 67)
Campbell: "The ancient myths were designed to harmonize the mind and the body. The mind can ramble off in strange ways and want things that the body does not want. The myths and rites were means of putting the mind in accord with the body and the way of life in accord with the way that nature dictates." (p. 70)
Campbell: "What am I? Am I the bulb that carries the light, or am I the light of which the bulb is a vehicle? One of the psychological problems in growing old is fearing death. People resist the door of death. But this body is a vehicle of consciousness, and if you can identify with the consciousness, you can watch the body go like an old car. there goes the fender, there goes the tire, one thing after another - but its predictable. And then gradually, the whole thing drops off, and consciousness rejoins consciousness. It's no longer in this particular environment." (pp. 70-71)
Campbell: "I would say that is the basic theme of all mythology - that there is an invisible plane supporting the visible one." (p. 71)
Campbell: "The main theme in ritual is the linking of the individual to a larger morphological structure than that of his own physical body." (p. 72)
Campbell: "That is the way life is. Man is a hunter, and the hunter is a beast of prey. In the myths, the beast of prey and the animal who is preyed upon play two significant roles. They represent two aspects of life - the aggressive, killing, conquering, creating aspect of life, and the one that is the matter or, you might say, the subject matter."
Moyers: "Life itself..." (p. 72)
Campbell: "... in a kind of "participation mystique," a mystical participation in the death of the animal, whose meat has become their life, and whose death they have brought about. There's an identification, a mythological identification. Killing is not simply slaughter, it's a ritual act, as eating is when you say grace before meals. A ritual act is a recognition of your dependency on the voluntary giving of this food to you by the animal who has given his life. The hunt is a ritual."
Moyers: "And a ritual is a spiritual reality."
Campbell: "It expresses that this is in accord with the way of nature, not simply with my own personal personal impulse." (pp. 72-73)
Campbell: "You can address anything as a "thou," and if you do it, you can feel the change in your own psychology. The ego that sees a :thou" is not the same ego that sees an "it." (pp. 78-79)
Campbell: "Is the beauty of the bird's song intentional? In what sense is it intentional? Or is it the expression of the bird, the beauty of the bird's spirit, you might say?" (p. 79)
Campbell: "A temple is the landscape of the soul." (p. 80)
Campbell: "And what is a woman? A woman is a vehicle of life. Life has overtaken her. Woman is what it is all about - the giving birth and the giving of nourishment. She is identical with the earth goddess in her powers, and she has got to realize that about herself." (p. 83)
Campbell: "With respect to ritual, it must be kept alive. So much of our ritual is dead... Myth must be kept alive. The people who can keep it alive are artists of one kind or another. The function of the artist is the mythologization of the environment and the world."
Moyers: "You mean artists are the mythmakers of our day?"
Campbell: "The mythmakers of earlier days were the counterparts of our artists." (p. 85)
Moyers: "In these early elementary cultures, as you call them, who would have been the poets today?"
Campbell: "The shamans. The shaman is the person, male or female, who in his late childhood or early youth has an overwhelming psychological experience, that turns him totally inward. It's a kind of schizophrenic crack-up. The whole unconscious opens up, and the shaman falls into it." (p. 85)
"Black Elk said, "I saw myself on the central mountain of the world, the highest place, and I had a vision because I was seeing in the sacred manner of the world," The sacred mountain is Harney Peak in South Dakota. And then he says, "But the central mountain in everywhere." (p. 88)
Campbell: "This is the mythological way of being an individual. You are the central mountain, and the central mountain is everywhere (Black Elk)." (p. 89)
Moyers: "You write in The Mythic Image about the center of transformation, the idea of a sacred place where the temporal walls may dissolve to reveal a wonder. What does it mean to have a sacred place?
Campbell: "This is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, a certain hour or so a day, where you don't know what was in the newspapers this morning, you don't know who your friends are, you don't know what you owe anybody, you don't know what anybody knows owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, some eventually will happen." (p. 92)
Campbell: "In your sacred place you get the "thou" feeling of life that these people had for the whole world in which they lived." (p. 92)
Campbell: "People claim the land by creating sacred sites, by mythologizing the animals and plants p they invest the land with spiritual powers. It becomes like a temple, a place for meditation..."
Moyers: "And the purpose of all this?"
Campbell: "To claim the land. To turn the land where they lived into a place of spiritual relevance." (pp. 92-93)
Moyers: "Where are the sacred place together?"
Campbell: "They don't exist. There a few historical spots where people may go to think about something important that happened there. For example, we may go visit the Holy Land, because that's the land of our religious origins. But every land should be holy land. One should find the symbol in the landscape itself of the energies of the life there. That's what all early traditions do. They sanctify their own landscape." (p. 94)
Campbell: "That's the whole business of myth. Why do we like to talk about these things again? Because it puts us back in touch with the essential archetypology of our spiritual life. Going through a ritual day after day keeps you on the line."
Moyers: "But we don't do that now."
Campbell: "We've lost touch with that kind of concern. The goal of early life was to live in constant consciousness of the spiritual principle. In the Assyrian palaces, you see a composite beast with the head of a man, the body of a lion, the wings of an eagle, and the feet of a bull: four signs of the zodiac that have been put together and made into door guardians. Those same four beasts, which are associated with the vision of Ezekiel, become the four evangelists in the Christian tradition... Now this mandala represents the Christ appearing from beyond the veil of Space-Time, veiling eternity, and the Christ in the center is the breakthrough, the second birth, the coming of the Lord of the World from the womb of the universal goddess, Space-Time." (p.97)
Campbell: "All final spiritual reference is to the silence beyond sound. The word made flesh is the first sound. Beyond that sound is the transcendent unknown, the unknowable. It can be spoken of as the great silence, or as the void, or as the transcendent absolute." (p. 98)
Campbell: "The idea of the supernatural as being over and above the natural is a killing idea... In a wasteland, people are fulfilling purposes that are not properly theirs but have been put upon them as inescapable laws. This is a killer... The spirit is really the bouquet of life. It is not something breathed into life, it comes out of life. This is one of the glorious things about the mother-goddess religions, where the world is the body of the Goddess, divine in itself, and divinity isn't something ruling over and above a fallen nature... (pp. 98-99)
Campbell: "You get a totally different civilization and a totally different way of living according to whether your myth presents nature as fallen or whether nature is in itself a manifestation of divinity, and the spirit is the revelation of the divinity that is inherent in nature."
Moyers: "Who interprets the divinity inherent in nature for us today? Who are out shamans? Who interprets the unseen things for us?"
Campbell: "It is the function of the artist to do this. The artist is the one who communicates myth for today. But he has to be an artist who understands mythology and humanity and isn't simply a sociologist with a program for you." (p. 99)
Moyers: "The stunning thing to me about these stories from the planting cultures is that for the first time we have people arising from the womb of the earth. The womb keeps appearing again and again and again in so many of these stories."
Campbell: "It is particularly conscious in legends of the American Southwest, where the first people come out of the earth. They come forth out of the hole of emergence, and that becomes the sacred place, the world axial center. It is associated with a certain mountain." (p. 104)
Campbell: "The Garden is the place of unity, of non-duality of male and female, good and evil, God and human beings. You eat the duality (the tree of knowledge of good and evil) and you are on the way out. The tree of coming back to the Garden is the tree of immortal life, where you know that I and the Father are one." (p. 107)
Moyers: "Have all men at all times felt some sense of exclusion from an ultimate reality, form bliss, from delight, from perfection, from God?"
Campbell: "Yes, but then you also have moments of ecstasy. The difference between everyday living and living in those moments of ecstasy is the difference between being outside and inside the Garden. You go past fear and desire, past the pairs of opposites.."
Moyers: "Into harmony?"
Campbell: "Into transcendence. This is the essential experience of any mystical realization. You die to flesh and are born into your spirit. You identify yourself with the consciousness and life of which your body is but a vehicle. You die to the vehicle and become identified in your consciousness with that of which the vehicle is the carrier. That is the God. What you get in the vegetation traditions is the notion of identity behind the surface display of duality, Behind all these manifestations is the one radiance, which shines through all things. The function of art is to reveal this radiance through the created object. When you see the beautiful organization of a fortunately composed work of art, you just say, "Aha!" Somehow it speaks to the order in your own life and leads to the realization of the very things that religions are concerned to render."
Moyers: "That death is life, and life is death, and that the two are in accord?"
Campbell: "That you have to balance between life and death - they are the two aspects of the same thing, which is being, becoming." (pp. 107-108)
Campbell: "Going to your sacrifice as the winning stroke of your life is the essence of the early sacrificial idea." (p. 108)
"THE WHOLE WORLD IS A CIRCLE. ALL OF THESE CIRCULAR IMAGES REFLECT THE PSYCHE." (title of page opening a series of images)
Campbell: ""A door am I to thee that knocketh at me.... A way am I, a wayfayer." And when the dance is ended, he walks out into the garden to be taken and crucified. When you go to your death that way, as a god, in the knowledge of the myth, you are going to your eternal life. So what is there in the end to be sad about? Let us make it magnificent - as it is. Let us celebrate it." (p. 109)
Campbell: "There is a magnificent essay by Schopenhauer in which he asks, how is it that a human being can so participate in the peril or pain of another that without thought, spontaneously, he sacrifices his own life to the other? How can it happen that what we normally think of as the first law of nature and self-preservation is suddenly dissolved?" (p. 110)
Campbell: "Schopenhauer's answer is that such a psychological crisis represents the breakthrough of a metaphysical realization, which is that you and that other are one, that you are two aspects of the one life, and that your apparent separateness is but an effect of the way we experience forms under the conditions of space and time. Our true reality is in our identity and unity with all life. This is a metaphysical truth which may become spontaneously realized under circumstances of crisis. For it is, according to Schopenhauer, the truth of your life." (p. 110)
Campbell: "There is a beautiful figure in Oriental tradition, the bodhisattva, whose nature is boundless compassion, and from whose fingertips there is said to drip ambrosia down to the lowest depths of hell." (p. 111)
Campbell: "The bodhisattva represents the principle of compassion, which is the healing principle that makes life possible. Life is pain, but compassion is what gives it the possibility of continuing. The bodhisattva is one who has achieved the realization of immortality yet voluntarily participates in the sorrows of the world... the fragmentation of life." (p. 112)
Campbell: "It is in compassion with Christ that we turn to Christ and the injured one becomes our savior... It is the suffering that evokes the humanity of the human heart." (p. 112)
Campbell: "As soon as there is time, there is suffering. You can't have s future unless you have a past, and if you are in love with the present, it becomes past, whatever it is. Loss, death, birth, death, loss, death - and so on. By contemplating the cross, you are contemplating the mystery of life." (p.112)
Campbell: "The New Testament teaches dying to one's self, literally suffering the pain of death to the world and its values. This is the vocabulary of the mystics. Now, suicide, is also a symbolic act. It casts off the psychological posture that you happen to be in at the time, so that you may come into a better one. You die to your current life in order to come to another of some kind. But, as Jung says, you'd better not get caught in a symbolic situation. You don't have to die, really, physically. All you have to do is die spiritually and be reborn to a larger way of living." (pp. 112-114)
Campbell: "Life is pain; life is suffering; and life is horror - but, by God, you are alive." (p. 114)
Campbell: "Very often one of the things that one learns as a member of the mystery religions is that the labyrinth, which blocks, is at the same time the way to eternal life. This is the final secret of myth - to teach how to penetrate the labyrinth of life in such a way that its spiritual values come through." (p. 115)
Campbell: "The one who suffers is, as it were, the Christ, come before us to evoke the one thing that turns the human beast of prey into a valid human being. That one thing is compassion... awakening of his heart to love and the opening of the way." (p. 116)
Campbell: "St. Paul had written, "For God has assigned all men to disobedience, that he may show his mercy to all." You cannot be so disobedient that God's mercy will not be able to follow you, so give him a chance... The great sinner is the great awakener of God to compassion. This idea is an essential one in relation to the paradoxology of mortality and the values of life." (pp. 116-117)
Campbell: "The majority's function in relation to spirit is to try to listen and open up to someone who's had an experience beyond that of food, shelter, progeny, and wealth." (p. 117)
Campbell: "Poets are simply those who have made a profession and a lifestyle of being in touch with their bliss. Most people are concerned with other things." (p. 118)
Campbell: The Wheel of Fortune, France fourteenth century image, "If you are attached to the rim of the wheel of fortune, you will be either above going down or at the bottom coming up. But if you are at the hub, you are in the same place all the time, centered." (p.119)
Campbell: "Now I came to this idea of bliss because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: Sat, Chit, Ananda. The word "Sat" means being. "Chit" means consciousness. "Ananda" means bliss or rapture. I thought, "I don't know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don't know if what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hold on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being." I think it worked."
Moyers: "Do we ever know truth? Do we ever find it?"
Campbell: "Each person can have his own depth, experience, and some conviction of being in touch with his own sit-chit-ananda, his own being through consciousness and bliss. The religious people tell us we really won't experience bliss until we die and go to heaven. But I believe in having as much as you can of this experience while you are still alive." (p. 120)
Moyers: "Do you ever have this sense when you are following your bliss, as I have at moments, of being helped by invisible hands?"
Campbell: "All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as the result of invisible hands coming all the time - namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be." (p. 120)
Campbell: "Wherever you are - if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying the that refreshment, that life within you, all the time." (p. 121)
Campbell: "We only have to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world." (p. 123)
Campbell: "To evolve out of this position of psychological immaturity to the courage of self-responsibility and assurance requires a death and a resurrection. That's the basic motif of the universal hero's journey - leaving one condition and finding the source of life to bring you forth into a richer or mature condition." (p. 124)
Campbell: "Ortego points out that this story (Don Quixote) takes place about the time that a mechanistic interpretation of the world came in, so that the environment was no spiritually responsive to the hero. The hero today is today running up against a hard world that is in no way responsive to his spiritual need." (p. 130)
Moyers: "A windmill."
Campbell: "Yes, but Quixote saved the adventure for himself by inventing a magician who had just transformed the giants he had gone forth to encounter into windmills. You can do that, too, if you have a poetic imagination." (P.130)
Campbell: "Daedalus himself flew the middle way, but he watched his son become ecstatic and fly too high. The wax melted, and the boy felt into the sea. For some reason people talk more about Icarus than about Daedalus, as though the wings were responsible for the young astronaut's fall." (p. 132)
Campbell: "A Hindu text says, "A dangerous path is this, like the edge of a razor... When you follow the path of your desire and enthusiasm and emotion, keep your mind in control, and don't let it pull you into disaster." (p. 132)
Campbell: "There's a transcendent energy source. When the physicist observes subatomic particles, he seeing a trace on a screen. These traces come and go, come and go, and we come and go, and all of life comes and goes. That energy is is the informing energy of all things. Mythic worship is addressed to that." (p. 132)
Moyers: "But does society need heroes?"
Campbell: "Yes, I think so."
Campbell: "Because it has to have constellating images to pull together all these tendencies to separation, to pull them together into some intention."
Moyers: "To follow some path."
Campbell: " I think so. The nation has to have an intention somehow to operate as a single power." (p. 134)
Campbell: "You can't say life is useless because it ends in the grave... Pindar writes, "Creature of a day, what is any one? What is he not. Man is but a dream of a shadow. Yet when there comes as a gift of heaven a gleam of sunshine, there rests upon men a radiant light, and aye, a gentle life." (p. 135)
Moyers; "Don't many of the heroes in mythology die to the world? They suffer, they're crucified."
Campbell: "Many of them give their lives. But then the myth also says that out of the given life comes a new life. It may not be the hero's life, but it's a new life, a new way of being and becoming." (p. 135)
Campbell: "In order to found something new, one has to leave the old and go quest in quest of the seed idea, a germinal idea that will have the potentiality of bringing forth that new thing." (p. 136)
Campbell: "You might also say that the founder of a life - your life or mine, if we live our own lives, instead of imitating everybody else's life - comes fro a quest as well." (p. 136)
Campbell: "The tree is, of course, the mythological world axis, at the point where time and eternity, movement and rest, are at one, and around which all things revolve. It is here represented in its temporal aspect, as the tree of knowledge of good and evil, profit and loss, desire and fear... Desire and fear: these are the two emotions by which all life in the world is governed. Desire is the bait, death is the hook." (p. 136)
Moyers: "What if the hero returns from his ordeal, and the world doesn't want what he brings back?"
Campbell: "That, of course, is a normal experience. It isn't always so much that the world doesn't want the gift, but that it doesn't know how to receive it and how to institutionalize it."
Moyers: "- how to keep it, how to renew it."
Campbell: "Yes, how to keep it going." (p. 141)
Campbell: "That's the reduction of mythology to theology. Mythology is very fluid... Mythology is poetry, and poetic language is very flexible. Religion turns poetry into prose." (p. 141-142)
Campbell: "Plato said somewhere that the soul is a circle." (p. 142)
Campbell: "This is the threat to our lives that we all face today. Is the system going to flatten you and deny you your humanity, or are you going to be able to make use of the system to the attainment of human purposes?... The thing to do is to learn to live in your period of history as a human being. " (p. 144)
Campbell: "Are you gong to be a person of heart and humanity - because that's where life is, from the heart - or are you going to do whatever seems to be required of you by what might be called "intentional power"? (p. 144)
Campbell: "... the powers of life as they are either fulfilled or broken and suppressed through the action of man." (p. 145)
Campbell: "The belly (of the whale) is the dark place where digestion takes place and new energy is created.... an example of a mythic theme that is practically universal, of the hero going into the fish's belly and ultimately coming out transformed." (p. 146)
Campbell: "One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate our lies to that." (p. 148)
Campbell: "Myths inspire the realization of the possibility of your perfection, the fullness of your strength, and the bringing of solar light into the world... Myths are infinite in their revelation." (p. 148)
Campbell: "The influence of a vital person vitalizes, there's no doubt about it. Th eworld without spirit is a wasteland." (p. 149)
Campbell: "Psychologically, the dragon is one's binding of oneself to one's ego. We're captured in our own dragon cage. The problem of the psychiatrist is to disintegrate that dragon, break him up, so that you may expand to a larger field of relationships. The ultimate dragon is within you, it is your ego clamping you down." (p. 149)
Campbell: "That's all you need - an Ariadne thread." Thesues, Ariadne, labyrinth myth (p. 150)
Campbell: "All a teacher can do is suggest. He is like a lighthouse that says, "There are rocks over here, steer clear. There is a channel, however, out there." (p. 150)
Campbell: "The mind has many possibilities, but we can live no more than one life. What are we going to do with ourselves? A living myth presents contemporary models." (p. 150)
Campbell: "This, I believe, is the great Western truth: that each of us is a completely unique creature and that, if we are ever to give any gift to the world, it will have to come out of our own experience and fulfillment of our own potentialities, not someone else's." (p. 151)
Campbell: "The riddle of the Sphinx is the image of life itself through time - childhood, maturity, age and death. When without fear you have faced and accepted the riddle of the Sphinx, death has no further hold on you, and the curse of the Sphinx disappears. The conquest of the fear of death is the recovery of life's joy. One can experience an unconditional affirmation of life only when one has accepted death, not as a contrary to life but as an aspect of life. Life in its becoming is always shedding death, and on the point of death. The conquest of fear yields the courage of life. That is the cardinal initiation of every heroic adventure - fearlessness and achievement." (p. 152)
Campbell: "... the passage to fulfillment lies between the perils of desire and fear." (p. 153)
Campbell: "You can't have creativity unless you leave behind the bounded, the fixed, all the rules." (p. 156)
Campbell: "Love thine enemies because they are instruments of your destiny." (p. 159)
Campbell: "Myths tell us how to confront and bear and interpret suffering, but they do not say that in life there can or should be no suffering. When the Buddha declares thee is escape from sorrow, the escape is Nirvana, which is not a place, like a heaven, but a psychological state of mind in which you are released from desire and fear."
Moyers: "And your life becomes -"
Campbell: "- harmonious, centered, and affirmative."
Moyers: "Even with suffering?"
Campbell: "Exactly. The Buddhists speak of the bodhisattva - the one who knows immortality, yet voluntarily enters into the field of the fragmentation of time and participates willingly and joyfully in the sorrows of the world. And this means not only experiencing sorrows oneself but participating with compassion in the sorrow of others. Compassion is the awakening of the heart from bestial self-interest to humanity. The word "compassion" means literally "suffering with." (p. 160)
Campbell: "There is an important idea in Nietzsche, of Amor fati, the "love of your fate," which is in fact your life. As he says, if you say no to a single factor in your life, you have unravelled the whole thing. Furthermore, the more challenging or threatening the situation or context to be assimilated and affirmed, the greater the stature of the person who can achieve it. The demon you can swallow gives you its power, and the greater life's pain, the greater life's reply." (p. 161)
Campbell: "The God is within you. You yourself are your creator. If you find that place in yourself from which you brought this about, you will be able to live with it and affirm it, perhaps even enjoy it, as your life." (p. 161)
Campbell: "Your life is the fruit of your own doing. You have no one to blame but yourself." (p. 161)
Campbell: "Chance, or what might seem to be chance, is the means through which life is realized. The problem is not to blame or explain but ti handle the life that arises... The best advice is to take it all as if it had been of your intention - with that, you evoke the participation of your will." (p. 161)
Campbell: "The place to find is within yourself... There's a center of quietness within, which has to be known and held, If you lose that center, you are in tension and begin to fall apart." (pp. 161-162)
Campbell: "...when you have found your center of freedom and can act by choice out of that. Voluntary action out of this center is the action of the bodhisattvas - joyful participation on the sorrows of the world. You are not grabbed, because you have released yourself from the grabbers of fear, lust and duties. These are the rulers of the world." (p. 162)
Moyers: "What is the illumination?"
Campbell: "The illumination is the recognition of the radiance of one eternity through all things, whether in the vision of time these things are judged as good or as evil. To come to this, you must release yourself completely from desiring the goods of this world and fearing their loss." (p. 162)
Campbell: "The real artist is the one who has learned to recognize and render what Joyce has called the "radiance" of all things, as an epiphany or showing forth of their truth."
Campbell: "Everybody has his own possibility of rapture in the experience of life. All he has to do is recognize it and then cultivate it and get going with it." (p. 163)
Moyers: "But people ask, isn't a myth a lie?"
Campbell: "No, mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth - penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words, beyond images, beyond the bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond the rim, to what can be known but not told, So this is the penultimate truth. It's important to live life with the experience, and therefore the knowledge, of its mystery and of your own mystery. This gives life radiance, a new harmony, a new splendor, Thinking in mythological terms helps to put you in accord with the inevitables of this vale of tears. You learn to recognize the positive values in what appear to be the negative moments and aspects of your life. The big question is whether you are going to be able to be able to say a heart yes to your adventure.
Moyers: "The adventure of the hero?"
Campbell: "Yes, the adventure of the hero - the adventure of being alive." (p. 163)
Campbell: "Al the references of religious and mythological images are to planes of consciousness, or fields of experience that are potential in human spirit." (p. 165)
Campbell: "So on the cross, Jesus leaves his body on the mother, from whom he has acquired his body, and he goes to the father, who is the ultimate transcendent mystery. (p. 166)
Campbell: "So it is the discovery of your destiny that is symbolized by the father quest.: (p. 166)
Campbell: "And when you have a Goddess as the creator, it's her own body that is the universe. She is identical with the universe." (p. 167)
Campbell: "The idea is that she swallows the sun in the west and gives birth to the sun in the east, and it passes through her body." (p.167)
Campbell: "She is time and space itself, and the mystery beyond her is beyond all pairs of opposites... But everything is within her, so that the gods are her children.: (p. 167)
Campbell: "The act of generating a child is a cosmic act and is to be understood as holy. And so the symbol that most immediately represents this mystery of the pouring of the energy of life into the field of time is the lingam and the yoni, the male and female powers in creative conjunction." (p. 167)
Campbell: "The next, or fourth, center is at the level of the heart; and this is of the opening to compassion. Here you move out of the field of animal action into a field that is properly human and spiritual... And at the heart center, there is again the lingam and yoni, that is to say, male and female organs in conjunction, but here they are represented in gold as symbolic of the virgin birth, that is to say, the birth of spiritual man out of the animal man." (p. 174)
Campbell: "It happens when you awaken at the level of the heart to compassion, com-passion, shared suffering: experienced participation in the suffering of another person. That is the beginning of humanity." (p. 174)
Moyers: "You say that's the beginning of humanity. But in these stories, that's the moment when gods are born. The virgin birth - it's a god who emerges."
Campbell: "And do you know who that god is? It's you. All of these symbols in mythology refer to you. You can get stuck out there, and think it's all out there. So you're thinking about Jesus with all the sentiments relevant to how he suffered - out there. But that suffering is what ought to be going on in you. Have you been spiritually reborn? Have your died to your animal nature and come to life as a human incarnation of compassion?" (p. 174)
Moyers: "Why is it significant that this is of a virgin?"
Campbell: "The begetter is of the spirit. This is a spiritual birth. The virgin conceived of the word through the ear." (174)
Campbell: "This is the sense of the second birth, when you begin to live out of the heart center. The lower three centers are not to be refuted but transcended, when they become subject to and servant to the heart." (p. 176)
Campbell: "The antique model for the Madonna, actually, is Isis with Horus at her breast." (p. 176)
Campbell: "Well, the dove, the bird in flight, is a pretty nearly universal symbol of the spirit, as in Christianity, of the Holy Ghost -" (p. 178)
Campbell: "The death and resurrection of the god is everywhere associated with the moon, which dies and is resurrected every month." (p. 179)
Campbell: "No one knows what the actual date of the birth of Jesus might have been, but is has been put on what used to be the date of the winter solstice, December 25, when the nights begin to be shorter and the days longer. That is the moment of the rebirth of light. That was exactly the date of the birth of the Persian God of light. Mithra, Sol, the Sun." (p. 179)
Moyers: "What does this say to you?"
Campbell: It says to me that there's an idea of death to the past and birth to the future in our lives and our thinking: death to the animal nature and birth to the spiritual. These symbols are talking about this one way or another." (p. 179)
Campbell: "So from mere animal-like carnality, one may pass through a spiritual death and become reborn. The second birth is of an exalted, spiritually informed incarnation. And the Goddess is the one who brings this about. The second birth is through a spiritual mother."
Campbell: "It's the female as the giver of forms. She is the one who gave life to the forms and she knows where they came from. It is from that which is beyond male and female. It is from that which is beyond being and nonbeing. It both is and is not. It neither is nor is not. It is beyond all categories of thought and mind." (p. 181)
Moyers: "In this spiritual transformation that you're talking about, won't the changes depend on those feminine characteristics such as nurturing, creativity, and collaboration instead of competition? Isn't this at the heart of the feminine principle were discussing?" (p. 181)
Campbell: "All this hope for something happening in society has to wait for something in the human psyche, a whole new way of experiencing a society." (p. 182)
Campbell: "A ritual can be defined as an enactment of a myth. By participating in a ritual, you are actually experiencing a mythological life. And it's out of that participation that one can learn to live spiritually." (p. 182)
Campbell: "When Yahweh creates, he creates man of the earth and breathes life into the formed body. He's not himself there present in that form. But the Goddess is within as well as without. Your body is her body. There is in these mythologies a recognition of that universal identity." (p. 182)
Campbell: "You see, the experience of Eros is a kind of seizure. In India, the god of love is a big, vigourous youth with a bow and a quiver of arrows. The names of the arrows are "Death-bringing Agony" and "Open Up" and so forth. Really, he just drives this thing into you so that it's a total physiological explosion. Then the other love, Agape, is a love of the neighbor as thyself. Again, it doesn't matter who the person is. It is your nighbor, and you must have that kind of love. But with Amor we have a purely personal ideal. The kind of seizure that comes from the meeting of the eyes, as they say in the troubador tradition, is a person-to-person experience." (pp. 186-187)
Campbell: "The troubadors celebrate the agony of the love, the sickness the doctors cannot cure, the wounds that can be healed only by the weapon that delivered the wound."
Campbell: "The wound is the wound of my passion and the agony of my love for this creature. The only one who can heal me is the one who delivered the blow. That's a motif that appears in symbolic form in many medieval stories of the lance that delivers a wound. It is only when that lance can touch the wound again that the wound can be healed." (p. 195)
Campbell: "The theme of the Grail romance is that the land, the country, the whole territory of concern has been laid waste. It is called a wasteland. And what is the nature of the wasteland? It is a land where everybody is living an inauthentic life, doing as other people do, doing as you're told, with no courage for your own life. That is the wasteland. And that is what T. S. Eliot meant in his poem, The Waste Land. In a wasteland the surface does not represent the actuality of what it is supposed to be representing, and people are living inauthentic lives." (p.196)
Campbell: "The Grail represents the fulfillment of the highest spiritual potentialities of the human consciousness." (p. 197)
Moyers: "Nature and spirit are yearning for each other to meet in this experience. And the Grail that these romantic legends are searching for is the union once again of what has been divided, the peace that comes from joining."
Campbell: "The Grail becomes symbolic of an authentic life that is lived in terms of its own volition, in terms of its own impulse system, that carries itself between the pairs of opposites of good and evil, light and dark... Every act in life yields pairs of opposites in its results. The best we can do is to lean toward the light, toward the harmonious relatonships that come from compassion with suffering, from understanding the other person." (p. 197)
Moyers: "So joy and pain are in love."
Campbell: "Yes. Love is the burning point of life, and since all life is sorrowful, so is love. The stronger the love, the more the pain."
Moyers: "But love bears all things."
Campbell: "Love itself is a pain, you might say - the pain of truly being alive." (p. 205)
Campbell: "Our way f thinking in the West sees God as the final source or cause of the energies and wonder of the universe. But in most Oriental thinking, and in primal thinking, also, the gods are rather manifestations and purveyors of an energy that is impersonal. They are not its source. The god is the vehicle of its energy. And the force or quality of the energy that is involved or represented determines the character and function of the god. There are gods of violence, there are gods of compassion, there are gods that unite the two worlds of the unseen and the seen. These are all the personifications of the energies in play. But the ultimate source of the energies remains a mystery." (p. 207-208)
Campbell: "But the ultimate mystical goal is to be united with one's god. With that, duality is transcended and forms disappear. There is nobody there, no god, no you. Your mind, going past all concepts, has dissolved in identification with the ground of your own being, because that to which the metaphorical image of your god refers is the ultimate mystery of your own being, which is the mystery of the being of the world as well." (p. 210)
Campbell: "You have to identify yourself in some measure with whatever spiritual principle your god represents to you in order to worhsip him properly and live in accordance to his word... You are God, not in your ego, but in your deepest being, where you are at one with the nondual transcendent."
Campbell: "When Jesus says, "He who drinks from my mouth will become as I am and I shall be he," he's talking from the point of view of that being of beings, which we call the Christ, who is the being of all of us. Anyone who lives in relation to that is as Christ. Anyone who brings into his life the message of the Word is equivalent to Jesus, that's the sense of that." (p. 213)
Campbell: "Then there comes another kind of life, which involves giving oneself to others one way or another. That is the one that's symbolized in the opening of the heart."
Moyers: "What is the source of that life?"
Campbell: "It must be a recognition of your life in the other, of the one life in the two of us. God is an image for that one life..."
Moyers: "Well then, what is religion?"
Campbell: "The word "religion" means religio, linking back. If we say it is the one life in both of us, then my separate life has been linked to the one life, religio, linked back. This has become symbolized in the images of religion, which represents that connecting link." (p. 214)
Campbell: "When a magician wants to work magic, he puts a circle around himself, and it is within this bounded circle, this hermetically sealed-off area, that powers can be brought into play that are lost outside the circle." (p. 214)
Campbell: "God is the alpha and the omega, the source and the end. The circle suggests immeditely a completed totality, whether in time or in space."
Moyers: "No beginning, no end.
Campbell: "round and round and round..." (p. 215)
Campbell: "The word "sym-bol" itself means two things put together." (p. 216)
Campbell: "Making a mandala is a discipline for pulling all those scattered aspects of your life together, for finding a center and ordering yourself to it. You try to coordinate your circle with the universal circle." (p. 217)
Campbell: "It is out of the depths of the uncoscious that the energies of life come t us. This cauldron is the inexhaustible source, the center, the bubbling spring from which all life proceeds."
Moyers: "Do you think that is the unconscious?"
Campbell: " Not only the unconsious but also the vale of the world. Things are coming to life around you all the time. There is a life pouring into the world, and it pours from an inexhaustible source." (p. 217)
Moyer: "Eliot speaks about the still point of the turning world, where motion and stasis are together, the hub where the movement of time and the stillness of eternity are together."
Campbell: "That's the inexhaustible center that is represented by the Grail. When life comes into being, it is neither afraid nor desiring, it is just becoming. Then it gets into being, and it begins to be afraid and desiring. When you can get rid of fear and desire and just get back to where you're becoming, you've hit the spot... The source doesn't care what happens once it gives into being. It's the giving and coming into being that counts, and that the becoming life point in you. That's what all these myths are concerned to tell you." (p. 218)
Campbell: "The peak experience refers to actual moments in yur life when you experience your relationship with the harmony of being." (p. 220)
Campbell: "The aesthetic experience is a simple beholding of the object... This is the essential, aesthetic factor - rhythm, the harmonious rhythm of relationships. And when a fortunate rhythm has been struck by the artist, you experience a radiance. You are held in aesthetic arrest. That is the epiphany. And that is what might in religious terms be thought of as the all-informng Christ principle coming through." (p. 220)
Campbell: "By a monster I mean some horrendous presence or apparition that explodes all of your standards for harmony, order, and ethical conduct... Wheresas in our religions, with their accent on the human, there is also an accent on the ethical - God is qualified as good. No, no! God is horrific Any god who can invent hell is no candidate for the Salvation army." (p. 222)
Campbell: "This is what is known in Sanskrit as viveka, "discrimination." There is a very important Buddha figure who is show holding a flaming sword high over his head - and so what is that sword for? It is the sword of discrimination, separating the merely temporal from the eternal. It is the sword distinguishing that which is enduring from that which is merely passing. The tick-tick-tick of time shuts out eternity. We live in this field of time. But what is reflected in this field is an eternal principle made manifest."
Moyers: "The experience of the eternal."
Campbell: "The experience of what you are."
Moyers: "Yes, but whatever eternity is, it is here and now."
Campbell: "And no where else. Or everywhere else. If you don't experience it here and now, you're not going to get it in heaven. Heaven is not eternal. It is just everlasting."
Moyers: "I don't follow that."
Campbell: "Heaven and hell are described as forever. Heaven is of unending time. It is not eternal. Eternal is beyond time. The concept of time shuts out eternity. It is over the ground of that deep experience of eternity that all of these temportal pains and troubles come and go. There is a Buddhist ideal of particpating willingly and joyfully in the passing sorrows of the world. Wherever there is time, there is sorrow. But this experience of sorrow moves over a sense of enduring being, which is our own true life."
Moyers: "There's some images of Shiva, the god Shiva, surrounded by circles of flame, rings of fire."
Campbell: "That's the radiance of the god's dance. Shiva's dance is the universe. In his hair is a skull and a new moon, death and rebirth at the same moment, the moment of becoming. In one hand he has a little drum that goes tick-tick-tick. That is the drum od time which shuts out knowledge of eternity. We are enclosed in time. But in Shiva's opposite hand there is a flame which burns away the veil of time and opens our minds to eternity... In some of his manifestations he is a really horrendous god, representing the terrific aspects of the nature of being. He is the archetypal yogi, canceling the illusion of life, but he is also the creator of life, its generator, as well as illuminator." (p. 224)
Campbell: "Osiris is the god who died and was resurrected and in his eternal aspect will sit as judge of the dead. Mummification was to prepare the person to face the god. But an interesting thing in Egypt is that the person going to the god is to recognize his identity with the god. In the Christina tradition, that's not allowed. So if you're saying that the alternative is hell or heaven, well, give me heaven forever. But when you realize that heaven is a beholding of the beatific image of God - that would be a timeless moment. Time explodes, so again, eternity is not something everlasting. You can have it right here, now, in your earthly relationships. (p.227-228)
Moyers: "You've said that the whole question of life revolves around the being versus becoming."
Campbell: "Yes. Becoming is always fractional. And being is total."
Moyers: "What do you mean?"
Campbell: "Well let's say you were to necome fully human. In the first few years you are a child, and that is only a fraction of the human being. In a few more years you are in adolescence, and that is certainly a fraction of the human being. In maturity you are still fractional - you are not a child, but you are not old yet. There is an image in the Upanishads of the original, concentrated energy which was the big bang of creation that set forth the world, consigning all things to the fragmentation of time. But to see through the fragments of time to the full power of original being - that is a function of art."
Moyers: "Beauty is an expression of the rapture of being alive."
Campbell: "Every moment should be such as experience." (p.228)
Campbell: "This is the great moment, Bill. What we are trying to do in a certain way is to get the being of our subject rendered through the partial ways we have of expressing it."
Moyers: "But if we can't describe God, if our language is not adequate, how is it that we build these buildings that are sublime? How do we create these works of art that reflect what artists think of God? How do we do this?"
Campbell: "Well, that's what art reflects - what artists think of God, what people experience of God. But the ultimate, unqualified mystery is beyond human experience."
Moyers: "So whatever it is we experience we have to express in language that is just not up to the occassion."
Campbell: "That's it. That's what poetry is for. Poetry is a language that has to be penetrated. Poetry involves a precise choice of words that will have implications and suggestions that go past the words themselves. Then you experience the radiance, the epiphany. The epiphany is the showing through of the essence."
Moyers: "So the experience of God is beyond description, but we feel compelled to try to describe it?"
Campbell: "That's right. Schopenhauer in his splendid essay called "On an Apparent Intention in the Fate of the Individual... The whole thing gears together like one big symphony, with everything unconsciously structuring everything else, And Schopenhauer concludes that it as though our lives were features of the one great dream of a single dreamer in which all the dream characters dream, too; so that everything links to everything else, moved by the one will to life which is the universal will in nature. It's a magnficient idea - an idea that appears in India in the mythic image of the net of Indira, which is a net of gems, where at every crossing of one thread over another there is a gem reflecting all the other reflective gems. Everything arises from mutual relation to everything else, so you can't blame anyone for anything. It is even as though there were a single intention behind it all, which always makes some kind of sense, though none of us knows what the sense might be, or has lived the life that he quite intended." (p. 229)
Campbell: "I don't believe life has a purpose. Life is a lot of protoplasm with an urge to reproduce and continue in being."
Moyers: "Not true - not true."
Campbell: "Wait a minute. Just sheer life cannot be said to have a purpose, because look at all the different purposes it has all over the place. But each incarnation, you might say, has a potentiality, and the mission of life is to live that potentiality. How do you do it? My answer is, "Follow your bliss." There's something inside you that knows when you're in the center, that knows when you're on the beam or off the beam." (p. 229)
Moyers: "I like the idea that it is not the destination that counts, it's the journey."
Campbell: "Yes. As Karlfried Graf Durkheim says, "When you're on a journey, and the end keeps getting further and further away, then you realize that the real end is the journey. The Navaho have that wonderful image of what they call the polllen path. Pollen is the life force. The pollen path is the path to the center. The Navaho say, "Oh, beauty before me, beauty behind me, beauty to the right of me, beauty to the left of me, beauty above me, beauty below me, I'm on the pollen path.""
Moyers: "Eden was not. Eden will be."
Campbell: "Eden is. "The kingdom of the Father is spread upon he earth, and men do not see it.""
Moyers: "Eden is - in this world of pain and sufferng and death and violence?"
Campbell: "That is the way it feels, but this is it, this is Eden. When you see the kingdom spread upon the earth, the old way of living in the world is annihilated. That is the end of the world. The end of the world is not an event to come, it is a psychological tranformation, of visionary transformation. You see not the world of solid things but a world of radiance."
Moyers: "I interpreted that powerful and mysterious statement, "The word was made flesh," as this eternal principle finding itself in the human journey, in our experience."
Campbell: "It's been said that poetry consists of letting the word be heard beyond words.
And Goethe says, "All things are metaphors," Everything that's transitory is but a metaphorical reference. That's what we all are."
Moyers: "But how does one worship a metaphor, love a metaphor, die for a metaphor?"
Campbell: "That's what people are doing all over the place - dying for metaphors. But when you really realize the sound, "AUM," the sound of the mystery of the word everywhere, then you don't have to go out and die for anything because it's right there all around. Just sit still and see it and experience and know it. That's a peak experience."
Moyers: "Explain AUM."
Campbell: ""AUM" is a word that represents to our ears that sound of the energy of the universe of which all things are manifestations. You start in the back of the mouth "ahh," and then "oo," you fill the mouth, and "mm" closes the mouth. When you pronunce this properly, all vowel sounds are included in the pronunciation. AUM. Consonants are here regarded simply as interruptions of the essential vowel sound. All words are thus fragments of AUM, just as all images are fragments of the Form of forms. AUM is a symbolic sound that puts you in touch with that resounding being that is the universe. If you heard some of the recordings of Tibetan monks chanting AUM, you would know what the word means , all right. That's the AUM of being in the world. To be in touch with that and get the sense of that is the peak experience of all. A-U-M. The birth, the coming into being, and the dissolution that cycles back. AUM is called the "four-element syllable." A-U-M - and what is the fourth element? The silence out of which AUM arises, and back into which it goes, and which underlies it. My life is the A-U-M, but there is a silence underlying it, too. That is what we would call the immortal. This is the mortal and that's the immortal, and there wouldn't be the mortal if there weren't the immortal. One must discriminate between the mortal aspect and the immortal aspect of one's own existence. In the experience of my mother and father who are gone, of whom I was born, I have come to understand that there is more that what was our temporal relationship... Of course there were certain moments... They stand out as moments of epiphany, of relevation, of the radiance."
Moyers: "The meaning is essentially worldless."
Campbell: "Yes. Words are always qualifications and limitations."
Moyers: "And yet, Joe, all we puny human beings are left with is this miserable language, beautiful though it is, that falls short of trying to describe - "
Campbell: "That's right, and that's why it is a peak experience to break past all of that, every now and then, and to realize, "Oh... ah..." (pp. 230-231)