Joseph Campbell was a mythological erudite of the primeval histories of the world’s diverse cultures. Knowledge and wisdom manifested themselves in this rare archetype of academic shaman and his intellectual legacy is contained in the different levels of his bestseller The Hero with a Thousand Faces, first published in 1949, a trip through the variations and communicating vessels of the ‘monomyth’, the narrative pattern present in all of the world’s mythologies that can be summed up in the phases of Separation, Initiation and Return.

Despite being an investigation into comparative religions of solid methodological rigor, the work was also interpreted as an introduction to Jungian psychoanalysis and as a self-analysis manual for beginners. This seam was exploited in a 1985 interview between Campbell and the journalist Bill Moyers at George Lucas’ Skywalker ranch. That detail will be relevant a little further on.

Of the 24 hours of material recorded, the public broadcaster PBS extracted six chapters of the series The Power of Myth, and which was edited and expanded a few years later. In the series, Campbell gave his opinion on all kinds of contemporary themes and of general interest that, depending on how you view them, could appear trivial or transcendental: fate, duty, life, death and, above all, enjoyment.

Campbell’s ideas imply that the heroes of Homer’s Illiad, the protagonists of Star Wars and people’s personal narratives share structures of common repetition and rupture, and that enjoyment and suffering in modern life derive from a lack of a primordial meaning of life (a diagnosis also analyzed by Victor Frankl). For Campbell, this meaning could be understood through the three Sanskrit terms Sat, Chit, Ananda: Being, consciousness and rapture or bliss:

“Ananda” means bliss or rapture. I thought, “I don’t know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don’t know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where   my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being.” I think it worked.

It is a practical philosophy centered on enjoying what you do, in the experience of being here. Our nationality or concrete context of existence are unimportant as we always face an element of uncertainty and our way of providing concrete answers is no more than living in the place that corresponds to us.

 If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to    meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

The hero is he or she who leaves the known and faces the unknown, knowing that that calling is solely for them. Does that mean that to be the heroes in the stories of our lives we must learn to live with the conditions of the world today? Be contented with ‘this’, with this reality? Absolutely: the hero is exactly he or she who dares to rebel against their reality to learn to transform it into the concrete and practical and not solely seeking out their own benefit. “Not our daddy’s or our mother’s way… Life can dry up because you’re not off on your own adventure.” In this way, “adventure is your only reward” because we learn to act according to ourselves, “and if everything fails and you find yourself with the need to reinvent yourself and rise from the ashes, without identity, and if you stay in the center and don’t get any money, you still have your bliss.”

Joseph Campbell was a mythological erudite of the primeval histories of the world’s diverse cultures. Knowledge and wisdom manifested themselves in this rare archetype of academic shaman and his intellectual legacy is contained in the different levels of his bestseller The Hero with a Thousand Faces, first published in 1949, a trip through the variations and communicating vessels of the ‘monomyth’, the narrative pattern present in all of the world’s mythologies that can be summed up in the phases of Separation, Initiation and Return.

Despite being an investigation into comparative religions of solid methodological rigor, the work was also interpreted as an introduction to Jungian psychoanalysis and as a self-analysis manual for beginners. This seam was exploited in a 1985 interview between Campbell and the journalist Bill Moyers at George Lucas’ Skywalker ranch. That detail will be relevant a little further on.

Of the 24 hours of material recorded, the public broadcaster PBS extracted six chapters of the series The Power of Myth, and which was edited and expanded a few years later. In the series, Campbell gave his opinion on all kinds of contemporary themes and of general interest that, depending on how you view them, could appear trivial or transcendental: fate, duty, life, death and, above all, enjoyment.

Campbell’s ideas imply that the heroes of Homer’s Illiad, the protagonists of Star Wars and people’s personal narratives share structures of common repetition and rupture, and that enjoyment and suffering in modern life derive from a lack of a primordial meaning of life (a diagnosis also analyzed by Victor Frankl). For Campbell, this meaning could be understood through the three Sanskrit terms Sat, Chit, Ananda: Being, consciousness and rapture or bliss:

“Ananda” means bliss or rapture. I thought, “I don’t know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don’t know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where   my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being.” I think it worked.

It is a practical philosophy centered on enjoying what you do, in the experience of being here. Our nationality or concrete context of existence are unimportant as we always face an element of uncertainty and our way of providing concrete answers is no more than living in the place that corresponds to us.

 If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to    meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

The hero is he or she who leaves the known and faces the unknown, knowing that that calling is solely for them. Does that mean that to be the heroes in the stories of our lives we must learn to live with the conditions of the world today? Be contented with ‘this’, with this reality? Absolutely: the hero is exactly he or she who dares to rebel against their reality to learn to transform it into the concrete and practical and not solely seeking out their own benefit. “Not our daddy’s or our mother’s way… Life can dry up because you’re not off on your own adventure.” In this way, “adventure is your only reward” because we learn to act according to ourselves, “and if everything fails and you find yourself with the need to reinvent yourself and rise from the ashes, without identity, and if you stay in the center and don’t get any money, you still have your bliss.”

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