Joseph Campbell: The Power of Myth

Topics: Spirituality, Religion, Meaning of life Pages: 5 (1476 words) Published: August 21, 2013
Madison Beecher
Mr. Ritchey
Literature and Composition
21 February 2013

Harkness Questions: The Power of Myth Chapters 1-3

1. Myth reveals spiritual truth about the world. Why read myths?
You need myths to find your truth. You have elaborate myths to compare to everyday experiences and to other myths. “Myths give a meaning to life (Campbell, 5). Mythology is a collection of stories based on one’s knowledge and stories of experience. Myths are clues to life meaning. They are clues to “spiritual potentialities” or your potential to develop spiritually and finding your inner self. For example, marriage creates a transformation in us spiritually because it transforms our perspective of ourselves and our ability to sacrifice.

2. Do people ultimately seek knowledge or experience? In your opinion which is more important in the 21st century?

People ultimately seek experience. They believe seeking experience is their true meaning of life. They want something to remember and something to live for and at the same time we do this to resonate from our inner self because from experience we gain knowledge. This could be a reason many of the 21st century go towards their quest for experience and not knowledge. 3. What is Campbell’s definition of “consciousness”? How does this consciousness define the

role of mythology in our world?

Campbell says that consciousness is something that the mind uses to guide you to a certain direction or towards a set of purposes. Consciousness is all your thoughts at a deeper level and your awareness or perception of your surroundings. Your consciousness depends on your level of energy that leads us to higher level consciousness. What leads you to these levels of consciousness? Myth. Mythology transforms your consciousness on a deeper level and to a higher spiritual level. You can not develop your consciousness without mythology

4. How does the modern Western world relate to myths?

The modern world developments are myths. The example of machines is a prime relation (Campbell, 24) but they tend to take over our idea of what’s true. The modern world has rejecting myths and everything about them including the fact that nature surrounds the whole concept. Modern world has a mindset that everything is about you, which rejects mythology’s spiritual messages.

5. How do we live without myths and why does Campbell claim that America is moving too quickly to become mythologized? Are these two concepts related?

When you live without myths you have to figure out life by yourself. That is why America is moving too quickly to be mythologized. As Campbell would say we are focused on “news of the day” and “problems of the hour” (Campbell, 1). We lose connection to the meaning to culture and the knowledge of life. These concepts are related because it explains America’s slow self-destruction without myths.

Chapter 2
1. Why do myths reflect what we know inside is true? How do myths then help us with “the public dream?

Myths reflect what inside is true because we all come from the same place we go through similar life experiences. We all grow and develop. Myth also comes from our dreams. Campbell describes dream by saying, “…..a dream that talks about permanent conditions within your own psyche as they relate to the temporal conditions of your life right now.” (Campbell, 47). Your dreams truly reflect your inner self and are just spiritual information about yourself. Your dreams are myths, personal myths. The Public dream is society without its corrupt ways and its lack of mythological knowledge. Myth helps correct this because it is society’s dream and it unites society. That one place is having a dream and when you are on the correct path you are finding your reason and your inner self. 2. Why are the world’s creation stories so similar?

The world’s creation stories are so similar because of the similar environment and the basic experiences of...
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