Tuesday, October 11, 2005

It's only in uncertainty that we're naked and alive


I've been reading the same book for months now. I don't usually dawdle, but this book is full of wisdom-y nuggets that I'm savoring. It's The Power of Myth. Have you read it? Basically, it's an edited transcript of interviews Bill Moyers conducted with Joseph Campbell, the renowned expert on mythology, for a PBS series. I never saw the show, but this book has me transfixed. I never fully realized how some basic ancient myths underpin and predate all the major religions, spanning vastly different cultures, expansive geographic areas and immense stretches of time. How do these strikingly similar myth stories spring up in different cultures and locations around the world in ancient times when there was no connection between them? No conventional connection, anyway. Must there be some very basic font in our humanity, or maybe our genes, that these stories spring from? Garden of Eden-style temptation stories, Cain and Abel-style hunter and gatherer stories, Christ-like sacrifice and resurrection stories, virgin birth stories, trinities...the list goes on. They all came along way before the Bible, cloaked in the guises of their individual places and time. Loving this book.

10 comments:

Max said...

I love The Power of Myth--reading it made me feel somehow less geeky and more centered in the universe, if that makes any sense.

Of course, I also swear by my Yahoo! horoscope, so take it for what it's worth. :-)

Michael said...

I'm folding so many pages over in that book, Max,and I think I understand exactly what you mean by feeling more centered. Campbell was a brilliant dude. He had this vast knowledge of myth, and so many cool ideas on where they come from, why we need them, what they do for us.
Check it out, folks. You can holler at me if you don't enjoy it. I'm not worried.

The Other Andrew said...

I think Jung was on the right track when he talked about 'archetypes'. There's myth that taps into deep seated human desires and aspects of human nature that we share. There is a book in our bookstore at my Buddhist centre that looks at Jungian psychology compared and contrasted with Buddhist ideas of mind and psychology. I haven't read it yet, but plan to one day. Looks interesting.

Michael said...

Sounds interesting. I think Jung's archetypes and the basic myth stories that Joseph Campbell details are very similar.
I'll admit right here that I LOVE the idea of everyone everywhere forever all tapping into this deep pool which springs from the transcendent.

Anonymous said...

The sun shines on this funeral
The same as on a birth
The way it shines on everything
That happens here on Earth

The Other Andrew said...

I'm with you Michael. It must the INFP in me, but I find people and the way we are wired absolutely fascinating.

Just last night my dear sweet friend Judy gave me a book her son left behind when he moved to Samoa recently. It's "Status Anxiety" by philosopher Alain de Bouton. I saw the tv show, which was fascinating, and I'm looking forward to reading this.

Xtine said...

I read it! very cool.

Michael said...

OK. That seals it. We are SO having a pipedreams book club.

The Other Andrew said...

Yay! I knew being a Library Nerd in High Schoold would pay off someday.

luscious loulou said...

Andrew are you an "INFP" like I'm an "ENFP"? Spooky, if so. It's on my desktop (as well as my new Brodie in his toque) - "Using your strengths is easy.
The secret to success for an
ENFP
Is learning to:
Prioritize, focus and follow through." Gak. Focus?


Michael, I have had a "Follow your Bliss" magnet for oh so many years and I'm definitely having those words lasered on my new video IPOD.


I'm hoping this gives me some points. It better. :P

Loulou