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Joseph Campbell's Monomyth

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18 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

The entire PBS series "The Power of Myth" was on Netflix a few years ago... to bad it's gone!  It's quite a delightful and interesting series.

On that note, this Amazon gift card just came in handy. 25th Anniversary Edition.

 

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2 hours ago, Ninth Doctor said:

But Galt’s story doesn’t fit the monomyth well.  The hero needs to be transformed in the course of the adventure, and Galt is a static character.

Galt's (Rand's) calling was revealed in his speech. It doesn't fit Campbell's use of the monomyth well? Agreed. The results of his transformation was interwoven into the events unfolding before Hank Rearden's and Dagny Taggart's eyes, giving rise to the 'shape-shifting' destroyer. These two aspects had taken place before Eddie ever gave the bum a dime in the opening paragraphs of the novel.

If anything, this is would be a refinement of the monomyth, a subtlety he (Campbell), in my readings thus far, had yet to discover and elaborate on.

 

Edited by dream_weaver

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1 hour ago, dream_weaver said:

Galt's (Rand's) calling was revealed in his speech. It doesn't fit Campbell's use of the monomyth well? Agreed. The results of his transformation was interwoven into the events unfolding before Hank Rearden's and Dagny Taggart's eyes, giving rise to the 'shape-shifting' destroyer. These two aspects had taken place before Eddie had ever given the bum a dime in the opening paragraphs of the novel.

If anything, this is would be a refinement of the monomyth, a subtlety he (Campbell), in my readings thus far, had yet to discover and elaborate on.

A simpler way to look at it is that the whole book is about -Dagny-. I barely see Galt as a hero personally because he's more symbolic as a supporting character. It seems that monomyth really just isn't relevant to narrative arcs with static characters. Galt isn't a refinement of monomyth then.

Just based on what people are saying, as cool as Campbell's work looks, monomyth only really works in the narrower sense of particular dynamic heroes, not narratives in general. Or maybe that's the point? 

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No modern novel, movie. play , etc. has been around long enough to have survived generations of retelling as did the myths that Campbell systematically surveyed and compared.  That includes Atlas Shrugged.   The idea of using Campbell's idea of a monomyth in making a modern story is to steal some of that old time magic of success; it does not make a modern product into a myth.  The myths are the source material of a theory, which then becomes a square hole into which people try to pound all sorts of rounds pegs.   

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4 hours ago, Grames said:

No modern novel, movie. play , etc. has been around long enough to have survived generations of retelling as did the myths that Campbell systematically surveyed and compared.  That includes Atlas Shrugged.   The idea of using Campbell's idea of a monomyth in making a modern story is to steal some of that old time magic of success; it does not make a modern product into a myth.  The myths are the source material of a theory, which then becomes a square hole into which people try to pound all sorts of rounds pegs.   

I feel like there is an idea or a point here...

I kind of agree with the facts you present, sort of disagree with its implicit projections you make on what others motivations or thoughts are... and am sort of confused about what it is you are claiming is important and relevant, to what, and why...

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Trying to fit Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead into the hero narrative was an unexpected sidebar. The opening quote, and Rand's development of Original Sin was more the pattern I would be interested in identifying better, and would prefer to try to put the myths under that lens.

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53 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

Trying to fit Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead into the hero narrative was an unexpected sidebar. The opening quote, and Rand's development of Original Sin was more the pattern I would be interested in identifying better, and would prefer to try to put the myths under that lens.

I don't have the quote (I have the audio book "Power of Myth") but Jo essentially says aspects of Christianity sets man against his own life and his own nature and really expresses his disapproval of those aspects.  I suspect he had likewise disapproved of the concept of original sin.

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21 hours ago, Grames said:

No modern novel, movie. play , etc. has been around long enough to have survived generations of retelling as did the myths that Campbell systematically surveyed and compared.

Keynote entry on Google search for "Joseph Campbell on Star Wars":

The 1988 documentary The Power of Myth was filmed at Lucas' Skywalker Ranch. During his interviews with Bill Moyers, Campbell discusses the way in which Lucas used The Hero's Journey in the Star Wars films (IV, V, and VI) to re-invent the mythology for the contemporary viewer.

The Star Wars novel was published November 12, 1976. Star Wars is fiction not myth, and Campbell discussed some of the parallels that come from The Hero's Journey as they were applied to Star Wars.

21 hours ago, Grames said:

The idea of using Campbell's idea of a monomyth in making a modern story is to steal some of that old time magic of success*; it does not make a modern product into a myth.

* Star Wars was certainly a success, if measured financially. I'm not so sure if you contrast the number of fans to the number of Zeus' followers. Italics mine, as I like how you phrased it. Perhaps it is because of how it resonates with a phrase I was repeatedly exposed to: "Give me that old time religion."

21 hours ago, Grames said:

The myths are the source material of a theory, which then becomes a square hole into which people try to pound all sorts of rounds pegs.

In the case of Star Wars, Lucas acknowledges having used key aspects of Campbell's work to help guide him in shaping his own interpretation of those elements. Rand offers no such connection. Campbell offers allegories and analogies to elucidate his audience. Rand offers the recourse to reason for hers.

Edited by dream_weaver

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Per the Conclusion of The Masks Of God-Occidental Mythology:

A distinction must be drawn, through all our studies of mythology, between the attitudes toward divinities represented on one hand by the priest and his flock, and on the other by the creative poet, artist, or philosopher. The former tends to what I would call a positivistic reading of the imagery of his cult. Such a reading is fostered by the attitude of prayer, since in prayer it is extremely difficult to retain the balance between belief and disbelief that is proper to the contemplation of an image or idea of God. The poet, artist, and philosopher, on the other hand, being themselves fashioners of images and coiners of ideas, realize that all representation—whether in the visible matter of stone or in the mental matter of the wordis necessarily conditioned by the fallibility of the human organs.

In the context of this portion of the paragraph, Campbell's highlighted words come across as well articulated and lucidly cogent. If he would have used term 'mind' instead of 'organs', I would have found it spot on.

Skipping toward the conclusion of the Conclusion he writes:

Some, perhaps, will desire to bow still to a mask, out of fear of nature. But if there is no divinity in nature, the nature that God created, how should there be in the idea of God, which the nature of man created?

The question posits somewhat of a false alternative. I also suspect that it uses an elevated concept of 'divinity', placing it outside this earth and just beyond man's reach, effectively usurping yet another one of the highest moral concepts of our language.

 As an adjoiner, I'm going to reclassify Campbell as a poet, rather than a collectivist (although the subjectivist still has merit.)

 

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10 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

If he would have used term 'mind' instead of 'organs', I would have found it spot on.

His word choice is a nod to Kant’s Categories, a view which Campbell subscribed to.  You could even rephrase (and over-summarize) his first function of myth as: reconcile the phenomenal to the noumenal.  “The first and most distinctive – vitalizing all – is that of eliciting and supporting a sense of awe before the mystery of being.  Professor Rudolf Otto has termed this recognition of the numinous the characteristic mental state of all religions properly so called.  It antecedes and defies definition.”

I think you’ll find, however, that his biggest influences were Jung, Spengler, and Joyce. 

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1 hour ago, Ninth Doctor said:

His word choice is a nod to Kant’s Categories, a view which Campbell subscribed to.  You could even rephrase (and over-summarize) his first function of myth as: reconcile the phenomenal to the noumenal.

BTW, this could be translated into Objectivist lingo as: reconcile Consciousness to Existence.  Though I think much gets lost in translation when you do that. 

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13 minutes ago, Ninth Doctor said:

BTW, this could be translated into Objectivist lingo as: reconcile Consciousness to Existence.  Though I think much gets lost in translation when you do that. 

While it certainly has its roots in consciousness and existence, reconciling the conceptual to the perceptual would be far more succinct.

As language became more refined to encompass new understandings and exposing the old myths for what they were, where can those who revel in the "sense of awe before the mystery of being" retreat to? In this sense, language becomes an enemy that need be destroyed or at least held at bay.

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24 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

While it certainly has its roots in consciousness and existence, reconciling the conceptual to the perceptual would be far more succinct.

As language became more refined to encompass new understandings and exposing the old myths for what they were, where can those who revel in the "sense of awe before the mystery of being" retreat to? In this sense, language becomes an enemy that need be destroyed or at least held at bay.

But also there is the idea of linking the mind with the reality from which is comes and into which it returns by way of disintegration.  Jo mentions the fact that religion has its linguistic origin on the Latin religio or "linking back".  Somehow you and your consciousness are one with its source and eventual end product.  Of course we can now logically understand that link (even without being a materialist or determinist) but the experience of contemplating that link is something additional.  This I find interesting.

It's false to say we are nothing but material, but at the same time it is true to say that before and after each of us is nothing but material.  This is both astounding and mysterious while also being self evident and unsurprising .

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Somehow you and your consciousness are one with its source and eventual end product.

Somehow you and your consciousness are one with its source? Why the division here? A body without the function of consciousness is a corpse.

Edited by dream_weaver

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55 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

While it certainly has its roots in consciousness and existence, reconciling the conceptual to the perceptual would be far more succinct.

Absolutely not.  This isn't about epistemology.  What Campbell is driving at is related to Rand's Sense of Life: " A sense of life is a pre-conceptual equivalent of metaphysics, an emotional, subconsciously integrated appraisal of man and of existence. It sets the nature of a man’s emotional responses and the essence of his character."  Myths inform one's Sense of Life.  And can even form it, when introduced early. 

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2 hours ago, Ninth Doctor said:

What Campbell is driving at is related to Rand's Sense of Life

What Campbell is driving at in the Conclusion, as a whole; just the first function of myth; or perhaps as his approach guiding his overall writings in general?

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1 hour ago, dream_weaver said:

What Campbell is driving at in the Conclusion, as a whole; just the first function of myth; or perhaps as his approach guiding his overall writings in general?

Just the first function of myth.

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4 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

Somehow you and your consciousness are one with its source? Why the division here? A body without the function of consciousness is a corpse.

The idea of Jo and other mythical thinkers is not a sort of dichotomy or division which you point out, but a kind of opposite.   The leaf and the branch, or the water and the wave are not the same thing but they are not separate either.  Nature could have been and was without you but you cannot be without that of Nature of which you are made.

One as an integration not as one and the same.

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23 hours ago, Ninth Doctor said:

Just the first function of myth.

Are you correlating between Rand's sense of life and Campbell's references to the masters of spiritual breath; the sensitive, creative, living minds? As it reads, it is only discovered by accident of experience and the sign symbols of a living myth. As such, Campbell's comes across as: some do, some don't.

Edited by dream_weaver

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23 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

The idea of Jo and other mythical thinkers is not a sort of dichotomy or division which you point out, but a kind of opposite.   The leaf and the branch, or the water and the wave are not the same thing but they are not separate either.  Nature could have been and was without you but you cannot be without that of Nature of which you are made.

One as an integration not as one and the same.

This was a helpful analogy. You had gone on to say:

On 4/22/2017 at 11:45 AM, StrictlyLogical said:

Of course we can now logically understand that link (even without being a materialist or determinist) but the experience of contemplating that link is something additional.  This I find interesting.

It's false to say we are nothing but material, but at the same time it is true to say that before and after each of us is nothing but material.  This is both astounding and mysterious while also being self evident and unsurprising .

It is the interest that drives the investigation. The PBS series was in the mailbox. Next, to see if it aides or serves as an impediment in the investigation.

 

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2 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

This was a helpful analogy. You had gone on to say:

It is the interest that drives the investigation. The PBS series was in the mailbox. Next, to see if it aides or serves as an impediment in the investigation.

 

Take everything literally and surely it will not help.  Take some of it literally some of it metaphorically while politely and judiciously ignoring some of it and you will  pleasantly get value from it (imho). :)

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4 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

Are you correlating between Rand's sense of life and Campbell's references to the masters of spiritual breath; the sensitive, creative, living minds? As it reads, it is only discovered by accident of experience and the sign symbols of a living myth. As such, Campbell's comes across as: some do, some don't.

I’m relating Sense of Life to Campbell’s first function of myth.  This connection only goes so far, however.  Objectivism has little to do with a “sense of awe before the great mystery of being.”  Particularly the mystery part.  But Campbell says that’s what myths elicit, and this gives them great power. 

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2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Take everything literally and surely it will not help.  Take some of it literally some of it metaphorically while politely and judiciously ignoring some of it and you will  pleasantly get value from it (imho). :)

My Protestant upbringing had surreptitiously provided a source of Greek Mythology. An implicit line of demarcation quickly developed into the understanding that rendering unto Caesar is applicable—when in Rome. The shield of literality has to indeed be lowered in order to cross the metaphoric bridge into the arena of mythos.

My mother, God rest her soul, invoked the aphorism that you can't believe everything you see on television so often it is only under the guise of entertainment that it is permitted passage. Even this, however, does not ensure 100% filtration.

Taking one concrete example provided in the first episode, he holds akin the process of birth as a type of heroic journey, passing from the subconscious emersion in the embryonic fluid to the conscious experience in air and on land as a carte blanch association of the subconscious with water, esp. deep waters, as a typical archetype correlation. While it makes an interesting allegorical example, it doesn't quite cut muster as necessarily being "some [psychological] element of truth, some actual, if profoundly elusive, aspect of man's existence."

Edited by dream_weaver

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54 minutes ago, Ninth Doctor said:

I’m relating Sense of Life to Campbell’s first function of myth.  This connection only goes so far, however.  Objectivism has little to do with a “sense of awe before the great mystery of being.”  Particularly the mystery part.  But Campbell says that’s what myths elicit, and this gives them great power. 

In Philosophy: Who Needs It, Miss Rand writes:

The men who are not interested in philosophy need it most urgently: they are most helplessly in its power.

Is it philosophy or myth from which such power is derived? While story often proceed explanation, causal relationship only exist between an entity and its actions.

To elevate myth as a subject worthy of study, what does it need be held subordinate to, or what need be held subordinate to it?

 

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