Survival is the second law of life.

November 25, 2008

campbellcompanion3The first is that we are all one.

“There is something really mysterious, something for which Reason can provide no explanation, and for which no basis can be found in practical experience. It is nevertheless of common occurrence, and everyone has had the experience. It is not unknown even to the most hard-hearted and self-interested. Examples appear every day before our eyes of instant responses of this kind, without reflection, one person helping another, coming to his aid, even setting his own life in clear danger for someone whom he has seen for the first time, having nothing more in mind than that the other is in need and in peril of his life.” Schopenhauer.

There was an article in the New York papers a few months ago about a kid who dove into the Hudson River to save a drowning dog and then had to be saved himself. When asked why he’d dove in, he said. “Because it was my dog.” Then there was the girl who went into a buring building – twice – to save her little brother and sister, and when she was asked why she’d done that, she said, “Because I loved them.”

Such a one is then acting, Schopenhauer answers, out of an instinctive recognition of the truth that he and that other in fact are one. He has been moved not from the lesser, secondary knowledge of himself as separate from the others, but from an immediate experience of the greater, truer truth, that we are all one in the gound of our being.

That’s the power. These people didn’t know if they had the strength or not. It’s not duty, not reckoning. It is a flash: a breakthrough of the reality of this life that lives in us. At such moments, you realize that you and that other are, in fact, one. It’s a big realization.

The key to the Grail is compassion,

suffering with, feeling another’s sorrow

as it it were your own.

The one who finds

the dynamo of compassion

is the one who’s found the Grail.

…what’s meant by the image of the Grail, since the thing that effected the healing of the Grail King was the spontaneous act of asking that question and not withholding it. Often you feel that such a spontaneous act will make a fool out of you and so you don’t do it – I will look like a fool if I do that. That’s the failure in the Grail Castle.

— A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living, Edited by Diane K. Osbon, 1991

The psychological pain and dis-ease former franchisees feel that have betrayed a stranger is caused by denying this larger reality (everyone is one).

  • When you sell someone down the river, you’re only really deceiving yourself: the Devil always returns for his payment.
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Is it Heart or Head, above all else?

November 25, 2008

campbellmoyerCAMPBELL: This thing up here….this consciousness thinks it’s running the shop. It’s a secondary organ. It’s a secondary organ of a total human being. And it must not put itself in control.

It must submit and serve the humanity of the body.

Is the system going to eat you up and relieve you of your humanity? Or are you going to be able to use the system to human purposes?

CAMPBELL: Like Luke Skywalker, not going over but resisting its impersonal claims

MOYER: But I can hear someone out there in the audience…But that isn’t what happens in my own life.

CAMPBELL: You bet it does.

If the person doesn’t listen to the demands of his own spiritual- and heart-life and insists on a certain program, you’re going to have a schizophrenic crack-up. The person has put himself off-centre. He has aligned himself with a programmatic life and it’s not the one the body is interested in at all. But the world is full of people who have stopped listening to themselves.

In my own life, I have had many opportunities to commit myself to a system. And to go with it. And to obey it’s requirements.

My life has been that of a maverick: I would not submit.

CAMPBELL: Our life evokes our character. And you find out more about yourself at you go on. And it’s very nice to be able to put yourself into situations that will evoke your higher nature, rather than your lower.


Joseph Campbell, 1904 – 1987

August 23, 2008

It’s a wonderful, wonderful opera, except that it hurts.

We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us – the labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.

The demon that you can swallow gives you it’s power, and the greater life’s pain, the greater life’s reply.

We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.

It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.

The warrior’s approach to life is to say “yes” to it, “yea” to it all.

However the mystic traditions differ, they are in accord in this respect. They call men and women into a deeper awareness of the very act of living itself, and they guide us through trials and traumas from birth to death.

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.

The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.


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