Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic
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I am not enjoying this at all. It's making me feel very uncomfortable.
Perhaps I should have read some of Campbell's work before reading this, but I had this on the Kindle and have been nibbling away at it bit by bit over the past several years, never really making much headway. I decided to start from the beginning and pay closer attention.
Too many things Campbell says rub me the wrong way. One example:
MOYERS: . . . What are some of the other rituals that are important to society today?
CAMPBELL: Joining the army, putting on a uniform, is another. You’re giving up your personal life and accepting a socially determined manner of life in the service of the society of which you are a member. This is why I think it is obscene to judge people in terms of civil law for performances that they rendered in time of war. They were acting not as individuals, they were acting as agents of something above them and to which they had by dedication given themselves. To judge them as though they were individual human beings is totally improper.
Campbell, Joseph. The Power of Myth (p. 15). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Um, no. Joining the military does not excuse atrocities or genocide. "We were only following orders" doesn't get it. Did Campbell think it did? Apparently so.
Then a little later, there's this:
MOYERS: Can you imagine that somewhere else other creatures can be sitting, investing their transient journey with the kind of significance that our myths and great stories do?
CAMPBELL: No. When you realize that if the temperature goes up fifty degrees and stays there, life will not exist on this earth, and that if it drops, let’s say, another hundred degrees and stays there, life will not be on this earth; when you realize how very delicate this balance is, how the quantity of water is so important—well, when you think of all the accidents of the environment that have fostered life, how can you think that the life we know would exist on any other particle of the universe, no matter how many of these satellites around stars there may be?
Campbell, Joseph. The Power of Myth (p. 22). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Holy goddess, is that the most arrogant nonsense ever? Thinking that there could never be another planet that has even remotely similar conditions that it might have given rise to "intelligent" life?
I'm just not buying into this, I guess.