The Genius of Joseph Campbell

February 27, 2009

When you accept the basic tenets of what Joseph Campbell is trying to explain- and only if you do this,  you may find Joseph Campbell to be  one of the few -but many- literary geniuses of our time. A genius because he discusses the order and structure of what a metaphor is as applied to cultural centered mythological discourse- that is our reasons for doing things?

Questions: How are ‘we’- as a society able to shape the discourses and texts to match the cultural ideals that we want?

In a way it could be argued sociologically that  his thesis explains away religion- however, it may also mean that  in a way  the textual symbolism and (words) of Joseph Campbell are nothing more than a construction of a mythology itself.  It can be argued that what he is producing is a psychological construction explaining are basic psychological natures of human cultures. What are we to make of the empirical evidence that he has offered in relation to his claims and the mystery behind the facts that he makes. This mystery being, and the genius of Joseph Campbell thought: is that many ancient cultures of seemingly distant- and “geographically” disconnected regions are able to have shockingly similar ends as well, and even more shockingly, that these cultures portray similar mythological type rituals.

Honestly, a great joy to read, he will expand and shake  your consciousness. His proposal has the potential for mythopoetic interpretations but in a way most fields of academic thought are contained in myth and symbol as the basics of exchanged language. In other words Campbell may explain the foundations of the human centered academic fields, e.g. sociology, as a way of understanding human nature and agency in terms of cultural follies, and structural implications as well.

http://videos.gaia.com/483338/joseph_campbell—_receiving_an_award_from_the_national_arts_club

http://videos.gaia.com/483841/joseph_campbell

One Response to “The Genius of Joseph Campbell”

  1. M said

    jc is brilliant. i’ve followed him for many years. i was thinking of him this morning. he’s had a great impact on society, if only for having influenced george lucas so tremendously. as for religion: mythology is a way of understanding religion, and can be said to be allegorical narratives of religious doctrine.

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