View Full Version : Great interview with Joseph Campbell on Mythology, first part The Hero

Victoria Tintagel
12th September 2010, 01:09
Joseph Campbell himself, on Mythology and Archetypes 7 episodes.mp3
This is an experiment to see if I can upload the file here. I am going to check this out in a while.
No succes, please wait, I'll try again later.

Victoria Tintagel
12th September 2010, 01:20
Does anyone have advice on uploading a 25MB audio mp3 file? Thanks!

13th September 2010, 19:56
Hope you get this fixed. I really like Mr. Campbell. An interview by Bill Moyers 30 years ago woke me up to the whole myth/religion issue. Most interesting man and for this layman often hard to understand some of his concepts and ideas.

19th September 2010, 12:09
GREAT THREAD T. :) !!! One of my favorite themes and one, in which, I also did some faculty presentations.

THE MONOMYTH -video HERE http://current.com/green/88822241_monomyth-joseph-campbell.htm

The Monomyth (often referred to as "the hero's journey") is a description of a basic pattern found in many narratives from around the world. This universal pattern was described by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949). A noted scholar of novelist James Joyce, Campbell borrowed the term monomyth from Joyce's Finnegans Wake.

Campbell's insight was that important myths from around the world which have survived for thousands of years, all share a fundamental structure.

In a well-known quote from the introduction to The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell wrote:
? A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.?

The monomyth has influenced a number of artists, musicians, poets, and filmmakers, including Bob Dylan and George Lucas. Mickey Hart, Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead had long noted Campbell's influence and agreed to participate in a seminar with him in 1986 entitled From Ritual to Rapture.

Campbell's work has been consciously applied by a wide variety of modern writers and artists, for example, in creating screenplays for movies. The best known is perhaps George Lucas, who has acknowledged a debt to Campbell regarding both the original Star Wars trilogy and its prequels.


19th September 2010, 12:16

19th September 2010, 12:47
ONE OF CAMPELL'S MAJOR INFLUENCE - The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music (Die Geburt der Tragödie aus dem Geiste der Musik, 1872) is a 19th-century work of dramatic theory by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

It was reissued in 1886 as The Birth of Tragedy, Or: Hellenism and Pessimism (Die Geburt der Tragödie, Oder: Griechentum und Pessimismus). The later edition contained a prefatory essay, An Attempt at Self-Criticism, wherein Nietzsche commented on this very early work.

Nietzsche found in classical Athenian tragedy an art form that transcended the pessimism and nihilism of a fundamentally meaningless world. The Greek spectators, by looking into the abyss of human suffering and affirming it, passionately and joyously, affirmed the meaning in their own existence. They knew themselves to be infinitely more than petty individuals, finding self-affirmation not in another life, not in a world to come, but in the terror and ecstasy alike celebrated in the performance of tragedies.

Originally educated as a philologist, Nietzsche discusses the history of the tragic form and introduces an intellectual dichotomy between the Dionysian and the Apollonian (very loosely: reality undifferentiated by forms and like distinctions versus reality as differentiated by forms, or the forms themselves). Nietzsche claims life always involves a struggle between these two elements, each battling for control over the existence of humanity. In Nietzsche's words, "Wherever the Dionysian prevailed, the Apollonian was checked and destroyed.... wherever the first Dionysian onslaught was successfully withstood, the authority and majesty of the Delphic god Apollo exhibited itself as more rigid and menacing than ever." Yet neither side ever prevails due to each containing the other in an eternal, natural check, or balance.

Nietzsche argues that the tragedy of Ancient Greece was the highest form of art due to its mixture of both Apollonian and Dionysian elements into one seamless whole, allowing the spectator to experience the full spectrum of the human condition. The Dionysiac element was to be found in the music of the chorus, while the Apollonian element was found in the dialogue which gave a concrete symbolism that balanced the Dionysiac revelry. Basically, the Apollonian spirit was able to give form to the abstract Dionysian.

Before the tragedy, there was an era of static, idealized plastic art in the form of sculpture that represented the Apollonian view of the world. The Dionysian element was to be found in the wild revelry of festivals and drunkenness, but, most importantly, in music. The combination of these elements in one art form gave birth to tragedy. He theorizes that the chorus was originally always satyrs, goat-men. (This is speculative, although the word “tragedy” τραγωδία is contracted from trag(o)-aoidiā = "goat song" from tragos = "goat" and aeidein = "to sing".) Thus, he argues, “the illusion of culture was wiped away by the primordial image of man” for the audience; they participated with and as the chorus empathetically, “so that they imagined themselves as restored natural geniuses, as satyrs.” But in this state, they have an Apollonian dream vision of themselves, of the energy they're embodying. It’s a vision of the god, of Dionysus, who appears before the chorus on the stage. And the actors and the plot are the development of that dream vision, the essence of which is the ecstatic dismembering of the god and of the Bacchantes' rituals, of the inseparable ecstasy and suffering of human existence…

After the time of Aeschylus and Sophocles, there was an age where tragedy died. Nietzsche ties this to the influence of writers like Euripides and the coming of rationality, represented by Socrates. Euripides reduced the use of the chorus and was more naturalistic in his representation of human drama, making it more reflective of the realities of daily life. Socrates emphasized reason to such a degree that he diffused the value of myth and suffering to human knowledge. For Nietzsche, these two intellectuals helped drain the ability of the individual to participate in forms of art, because they saw things too soberly and rationally. The participation mystique aspect of art and myth was lost, and along with it, much of man's ability to live creatively in optimistic harmony with the sufferings of life. Nietzsche concludes that it may be possible to reattain the balance of Dionysian and Apollonian in modern art through the operas of Richard Wagner, in a rebirth of tragedy.

In contrast to the typical Enlightenment view of ancient Greek culture as noble, simple, elegant and grandiose[1], Nietzsche believed the Greeks were grappling with pessimism. The universe in which we live is the product of great interacting forces; but we neither observe nor know these as such. What we put together as our conceptions of the world, Nietzsche thought, never actually addresses the underlying realities. It is human destiny to be controlled by the darkest universal realities and, at the same time, to live life in a human-dreamt world of illusions.

It was precisely this human-dreamt world that the Greeks had developed into perfection from the Homeric legends onward. The Olympian complex of deities, combined with all the details of their heroic lives and their numerous interactions with men and women of earth, formed a world picture in which individual people can live. This picture literally rendered humans as individuals, capable of greatness, always of significance. There is, in this world, objective clarity. The beings are almost sculpted. Hence, Athenians mature within the illusions of a world and life that is under control and that has clear models of personal significance and greatness. It is a beautiful creation. But it is, as Nietzsche observes, an Apollonian aesthetics, Apollo being the god who most typifies the Olympian complex in this regard. (BT, 1, p. 36) Apollo is the god of plastic arts and of illusion.

The problem—and it is a problem for all times and all human life—is that the dark side of existence makes itself apparent and forces us to confront whatever we have tried to shut out of our nice, tidy livable world. Thus, for Nietzsche, while the Greeks, and the Athenians in particular, had developed a rich world view based on Apollo and the other Olympian gods, they had rendered themselves largely ignorant of reality's dark side, as represented in the god Dionysus. Only in the distant past, and largely outside of Athens, had Dionysian festivals paved the way to direct (and destructive) experience of life's darkest sides—intoxication, sexual license, absorption by the primal horde, in short, dissolution of the individual (occasionally, actual dismemberment) and re-immersion into a common organic whole. (BT, 2, pp. 39–40)

The Apollonian in culture he sees as Arthur Schopenhauer's concept of the principium individuationis (principle of individuation) with its refinement, sobriety and emphasis on superficial appearance, whereby man separates himself from the undifferentiated immediacy of nature. Nietzsche claims sculpture as the art-form that captures this impulse most fully: sculpture has clear and definite boundaries and seeks to represent reality, in its perfectly stable form. The Dionysian impulse, by contrast, features immersion in the wholeness of nature, intoxication, non-rationality, and inhumanity; rather than the detached, rational representation of the Apollonian that invites similarly detached observation, the Dionysian impulse involves a frenzied participation in life itself. Nietzsche sees the Dionysian impulse as best realized in music, which tends not to have clear boundaries, is unstable and non-representational, and, in Nietzsche's view, invites participation among its listeners through dance. Nietzsche argues that the Apollonian has dominated Western thought since Socrates, but he sees German Romanticism (especially Richard Wagner) as a possible re-introduction of the Dionysian, which might offer the salvation of European culture. The book shows the influence of Schopenhauer.[2]

The issue, then, or so Nietzsche thought, is how to experience and understand the Dionysian side of life without destroying the obvious values of the Apollonian side. It is not healthy for an individual, or for a whole society, to become entirely absorbed in the rule of one or the other. The soundest (healthiest) foothold is in both. Nietzsche's theory of Athenian tragic drama suggests exactly how, before Euripides and Socrates, the Dionysian and Apollonian elements of life were artistically woven together. The Greek spectator became healthy through direct experience of the Dionysian within the protective spirit-of-tragedy on the Apollonian stage.