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Paperback The Power of Myth Book

ISBN: 0385418868

ISBN13: 9780385418867

The Power of Myth

(Part of the Joseph Campbell and Power of Myth Series)

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Book Overview

The national bestseller, now available in a non-illustrated, standard format paperback edition The Power of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work. A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people--including Star Wars creator George Lucas. To Campbell, mythology was the “song of the universe, the music of the spheres.” With Bill Moyers, one of America’s...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A "slow-burning rapture"

Five stars seem inadequate to rate a book that changed my life so profoundly. It gave me the courage to do the things I always dreamed of doing, but dared not do, as they were contrary to what society considers success. "Go where your body and soul want to go." Campbell urged. "When you have the feeling, stay with it, and don't let anyone throw you off." His words spurred me on. As did these, "We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. To refuse the call means stagnation." (Stagnation! Who wants that? A stinky, smelly swamp of a life.) I worried that the life I wanted held no hope for financial security. But Campbell said not to pity people who have no visible means of support, rather those who have no invisible means of support, nothing to sustain them from within. Furthermore, he added: "If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you . . . you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. . . . doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be. It's miraculous! Invisible hands will guide you the entire way. " I found this to be true with amazing accuracy. Everything he writes has been true for me. Finally, Campbell suggests, "Read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time." This is one of those books. Start here.

Crazy Joe

This is the transcript of the Bill Moyers interview with Joseph Campbell done with him years and years ago-a stunning interview-a stunning book. Readers will enjoy the book format because let's face it-when Crazy Joe Campbell was talking-sometimes we needed more time than which was given to "absorb what was said." From talking about the Great Seal on the American dollar bill and it's mythological connections-to pouring over a letter from Chief Seattle to George Washington about the purchase of land, this book is never uninteresting.And to give Bill Moyers due credit as well as an excellent journalist who always knows the right question to ask-and whom unlike a lot of journalists today-actually cares about what he is and was covering. In fact, sometimes Moyers says something quite insightful on his own-it is the coming together of two great minds in a question and answer format-that produces the end result of genius-pure genius. If you are unfamiliar with the Bill Moyers interview, I would recommend purchasing it on here, the 6 tapes, or waiting until PBS airs it again-they always do. Afterall, it's one of PBS's all time ratings grabber. The reason I say that is hearing the way Joe Campbell speaks, seeing in flesh just how engaging of a man he is-allows the reader to "imagine him speaking through the book." To me-that makes a huge difference.This book is a winnner all the way-regardless of what religious background you hail from-what sort of philosophy if any you engage-this book will certainly impress you the reader. It could actually change someone's life in the context of stimulating someone's interest enough in mythology-to begin looking into it. Or, it can broaden your insight into your own spiritual life in of which you have already established. Any way you toss this book up-it's heads. So buy it.

The essence of human beliefs

I first came in contact with Joseph Campbell's "The Power of Myth" while taking a Mythological Backgrounds class in college. I also have had the chance to view, in several opportunities, the video series in which Bill Moyers interviews Joseph Campbell (the full transcript of the video interview is contained within this book). In the "Power of Myth" Joseph Campbell addresses the very essence of human beliefs and the need for people to identify themselves with an entity or entities (depending on the culture) that will act as a vehicle to fulfill their innermost spiritual needs. Throughout the book the reader will witness a development; a change in the tone, mood, and objective of the interview. What begins as a dicotomy of schools of thoughts (based upon the manner in which the interview begins) gradually evolves into a series of discoveries that culminate with the realization that human beings cross-culturally possess very similar beliefs, if not the same. Within the pages of this book you will find Joseph Campbell's contemporary and candid approach to the portrayal of beliefs, religion, and spiritually. Campbell uses methaphors sucha as "... our beliefs constitute the software that allows our hardware to function ... [sic]." Campbell enables the reader to travel into the realm of the inner self, identifying and explaining the conceptual ideas that we are often inspired to talk about when we come face to face with something majestic (which generally occurs when we are away from the hassle of our daily routines), in practical terms. If you read this book you will be undoubtedly touched not only by the depth of Joseph Campbell's knowledge but also by the manner in which he delivers his knowledge to the reader, and to Bill Moyers. This is the type of book that will truly take you full circle to place you face to face with your true inner self.

"A nice, mild, slow-burning rapture."

The right word to describe this 287-page dialogue between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell is "powerful." Although it may not have the depth of HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES, this book is nonetheless engaging. These 1985 to 1986 interviews cover a lot of ground, as Campbell contemplates subjects including the inner journey, ancient myths, sacrifice and bliss, the hero's adventure, and love and marriage. Along the way, readers will find words to live by: feel the rapture of being alive (pp. 4-5); face life's trials, and find new possibilities in the adventure of being alive (p. 49); and follow your bliss (p. 156), for example. "Sit in a room and read--and read and read," Campbell says. "And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time" (p. 122). This book will surely appeal to thinkers, dreamers, artists, or anyone who appreciates stimulating conversation about what it means to be fully alive. G. Merritt

This book has no meaning...but it gives meaning to you.

I had listened to Joseph Campbell on audiocassette six months earlier (Transformations of the Myth Through Time: Mystery of the East), in which I went for a long drive for about 5 hours and literally did not want to stop driving! However, I found myself in the same place (not behind the wheel, however) in reading The Power of Myth, as I could not put that down either. All I can say is, read it and if you don't like it, you'll be none the worse. It starts out showing how dreadful life can be in the latter half of the 20th century, but by the book's end, you have new hope and enlightenment towards the world, and hopefully changed a little inwardly. I've read it 3 times already and I should finally buy a copy of it...
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