Remembering Joseph

Today was Joseph Campbell’s birthday. He had such an impact on my thinking when I was young. His series, The Power of Myth, certainly brought a life-long study of, and interest in, philosophy to a kind of crescendo. It felt like, “Yes…yes…this is what I meant.”

The entire series of the Myth broadcast seems to be available online. I absolutely recommend it. This is one segment that I really like – minute 25 (if you prefer to fast forward) starts a very nice story.


Joseph Campbell – Sacrifice and Bliss (4 of 6)

R-CANE-1 MySpace Video

This is why, again, I am not a fan of organized religion. No one needs to translate these things for you. The tales are your own. Every story is the same story, all gods are one god…nothing new under the sun.

But the one lesson he tried to impart is to “follow your bliss” (min 52 of video). I’ve tried often in my life to figure that out – thought I knew only to find that it was not bliss but sacrifice. It, too, has its place – but my bliss was found in the elements. The mountains of Colorado, the gentle gulf waters, the wide and windy land of Texas.

When you meet someone who is genuinely happy watch what it is that they do and you will see that they have managed to find that thing – that path – that brings them deep satisfaction. And from there springs hope and charity. From that well one can drink deep and nourish others. Call it God if you like.

It is a terrible thing to know that generations have been taught to ignore it, that search for grace – taught that an overlord will give you succor. And that you should call that…servitude…a kindness. Rather, look squarely at what it is you are asked…what tithe for your soul and freedom? And pass the plate to another. When your cup runneth over you will know what to do. And your grace will lead you. No one and nothing else ever could.

3 responses to “Remembering Joseph

  1. Joseph Campbell made a huge impact on my thinking, too. His thoughts were like watching the sun rise for the very first time and wondering why I hadn't opened my eyes to see it a million times before.

    I'm not sure we are meant to be happy. I dislike the easiness of that word. I think we are meant to feel a full, calm satisfaction with ourselves and choices when, as you say, we find our path.

    Bliss, yes – that's something deeper than the shimmering surface happiness covers.

  2. I think you are right in that happiness is not intended to be a full-time experience but, rather, a thing to keep you going through the dark.

    One remembers happiness and keeps trying to find it.

    But bliss? It is more of that soul-deep satisfaction – not nec happiness – that one is doing what they ought to be doing.

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