Monday, January 29, 2018

Joseph Campbell on The Journey of the Hero

"[T]he journey of the hero … I consider the pivotal myth that unites the spiritual adventure of ancient heroes with the modern search for meaning. As always, the hero must venture forth from the world of common-sense consciousness into a realm of supernatural wonder. There he encounters fabulous forces--demons and angels, dragons and helping spirits. After a fierce battle he wins a decisive victory over the powers of darkness. Then he returns from his mysterious adventure with the gift of knowledge or of fire, which he bestows on his fellow man.

"Whenever the social structure of the unconscious is dissolved, the individual has to take a heroic journey within to find new forms. The biblical tradition, which provided the structuring myth for Western culture, is largely ineffective … So there must be a new quest."

Joseph Campbell, interviewed by Sam Keen, in "Man & Myth: A Conversation with Joseph Campbell,” Psychology Today, July 1971

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