#JosephCampbell #quote #Mythology
I’m sorry to say that things are so infinitely soft for us these days that we’re drifting apart. There is no aspiration that’s been put in front of us to pull people together, nor any overwhelming fear to drive us together. Well, don’t worry about society. What we are focusing on here is pulling yourself together.
How do we find this thing in ourselves, that which truly moved us? Well, as I said, mythologies are basically the same everywhere. Consequently, mythic images do not refer primarily to historical events. They come from the psyche and talk to the psyche; their primary reference is to the psyche–to the spirit, as we call it–and not to a historical event.
Now, there’s no doubt about it that there are certain sensations which spontaneously activate responses in human body.
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There is another level of consciousness in the human psyche, which I would associate with those levels of the wonderful thing that is human consciousness from the heart up to the crown of the head. When the awe and the zeal and the human mind yearning to know are awakened, a new sense of what it is to be human is born. Just as we have a physical body that we share with each other so that we can respond similarly to the same smells, so also we have a spiritual consciousness that is responding to comparable signals, and the whole concept of the archetypes of the human psyche is based on the notion that in the human brain, any human sympathetic nervous system, there are structures that create a readiness to respond to certain signals. These are shared by all of humanity, with variations individually, but essentially pretty close along the line. And when these are triggered, there is the automatic response, just as there would be to an older, whether that order of bananas come from an African cooking pot or from the fruit basket in my beautiful hotel room. Over the millennia, we have developed some experience of how people respond to spiritual symbols and how contemplating a particular symbol slants the mind places the mind on a certain plane of consciousness, which activates deeper spiritual powers in the individual. Everyone has his own favorite; everyone is ready for an experience unlike that of anybody else. The symbol which you are ready for evokes a response in you.
Joseph Campbell (Pathways to Bliss, 92-3)