People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive. So that the life experiences that we have on the purely physical plane will have resonances within that are those of our own innermost being and reality.

Joseph Campbell

Born: March 26, 1904

Died: October 30, 1987 (Age 83)

Joseph John Campbell was an American Professor of Literature at Sarah Lawrence College who worked in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work covers many aspects of the human experience. Campbell's magnum opus is his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), in which he discusses his theory of the journey of the archetypal hero found in world mythologies. Since the book's publication, Campbell's theory has been consciously applied by a wide variety of modern writers and artists. His philosophy has been summarized by his own often repeated phrase: "Follow your bliss."

Available Documents: 3

The Power of Myth, Part 1: The Hero’s Adventure
Television Episode
June 21, 1988
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54:38
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Bill Moyers and mythologist Joseph Campbell begin their groundbreaking and timeless conversation with an exploration of the classic hero cycle, including consistent and enduring hero patterns in literature, real life, and even the Star Wars films. Campbell also encourages the audience to view parts of their own lives as heroic journeys.
The Power of Myth, Part 2: The Message of the Myth
Television Episode
June 22, 1988
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54:43
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Bill Moyers and mythologist Joseph Campbell compare creation myths from the Bible and elsewhere, and talk about how religions and mythologies need to change with time in order to maintain their relevance in peoples’ lives.
The Power of Myth, Part 3: The First Storytellers
Television Episode
June 23, 1988
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54:44
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Bill Moyers and mythologist Joseph Campbell discuss the importance of accepting death as rebirth as in the myth of the buffalo and the story of Christ, rites of passage in primitive societies, the role of mystical Shamans and the decline of ritual in today’s society. Campbell explains how ancient myths were designed to “put the mind in accord with the body, and the way of life in accord with the way nature dictates.” As one example, Campbell explains how myths bring humans to understand and accept birth, growth and death.



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