Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Quote regarding walking on the moon from Myths to Live By - Joseph Campbell

While browsing through a West Town Mall bookstore Thanksgiving weekend 1986, I made one of the most important discoveries of my thought-life.  My in-laws were in town visiting for the purpose of cheering us up.  A few days earlier our second attempt of the year to adopt a child had failed.   So it was fitting for our family to make a trip to the main shopping area in Knoxville of that time.  I don't recall what attracted and impelled me to reach for "Myths to Live By" by Joseph Campbell.  It was just what I needed.  From then up to the mid-nineties, I purchased and read several thousand pages of his works.  This includes his 4 volume "The Masks of God", "The Hero of a Thousand Faces" and other writings.  I recorded and listened to all his interviews with Bill Moyers.  I'll leave it to the reader to do their own internet search to learn more about him.  Where he connected with me was the way he constructed a grand story of how religion developed and evolved in human history.  He is both a modern person who accepts and affirms science and one who finds value not only in our Western Christian heritage but the views from the East also of which he was intimately, experientially knowledgeable.  He was a Jungian. 

He was able to explain to me the evolution of human religious expression.  In Primative Mythology he starts his account so deep in our history that homo habilis and homo erectus are included.  When I came to his work, I was very frustrated with my internal and external religious life.  He greatly relieved my internal pressures by showing me how things came to be the way they were. He gave me a direction for further research and hope. 

The quote below is from the the eleventh chapter of "Myths to Live By" titled Moon Walk: the Outward Journey.  The chapter gives his thoughts in response soon after the first two trips to the Moon in 1969 and 1970.  He was very excited about it and what it would mean.  He would live to 1987.  By then the Space Shuttle program had long ago supplanted the Apollo program.  The quote accents both aspects of his program, he is open both to modern technology and innovation of the outer world and exploration and explication of the inner world. 

It is my whole present thesis, consequently, that we are at this moment participating in one of the very greatest leaps of the human spirit to a knowledge not only of outside nature but also of our own deep inward mystery that has ever been taken, or that ever will or ever can be taken.

3 comments:

Tom Christian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Christian said...

(Deleted first comment because of the need for editing. Maybe I'll get it with this one... ;o) )

I was also exposed to Campbell in the mid-80's--and I think it was the Moyers series that aired on PBS. Fascinated, but it so challenged my Fundy paradigms that it took almost another 20 yrs before I was comfortable with the Jungian perspective.

Have you listened to Jordan Peterson's series on God/religion and his psychological approach to Genesis? Peterson is also a Jungian--BIG TIME.

Steve Allison said...

Hi there Tom, When I drive anywhere by myself I take the opportunity to listen to podcasts or YouTube videos. Today was about Thomas Merton. There are so many wonderful and interesting people and ideas to delve into. Somehow had not gotten around to exploring him earlier. Thanks for the suggestion, Jordan Peterson is now on the top of my list.

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