Many / One

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Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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The Power of Myth
Joseph Campbell

1 "The images of myth are reflections of the spiritual potentialities of every one of us. Through contemplating these we evoke their powers in our own lives."

2 "I think of mythology as the homeland of the muses, the inspirers of art, the inspirers of poetry. To see life as a poem and yourself participating in a poem is what the myth does for you…I mean a vocabulary in the form not of words but of acts and adventures, which connotes something transcendent of the action here, so that you always feel in accord with the universal being."

3 "The mind of man, cleansed of secondary and merely temporal concerns, beholds with the radiance of a cleansed mirror a reflection of the rational mind of God. Reason puts you in touch with God….the mind of man cleared of its fallibilities is sufficiently capable of the knowledge of God. All people in the world are thus capable because all people in the world are capable of reason."

4 "One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that."

5 "The myths are metaphorical of spiritual potentiality in the human being, and the same powers that animate our life animate the life of the world."

6 "As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you. One thing we know: there is only one God. No man, be he Red Man or White Man, can be apart. We are brothers after all." Chief Seattle, letter to the President of the United States, 1852

7 "The goal of your quest for knowledge of yourself is to be found at that burning point in yourelf, that becoming thing in yourelf, which is innocent of the goods and evils of the world as already become, and therefore desireless and fearless….That is life in movement."

8 "Reason has to do with finding the ground of being and the fundamental structuring of order of the universe."

9 "The whole world is a circle. All of these circular images reflect the psyche, so there may be some relationship between these architectural designs and the actual structuring of our spiritual functions….the circle represents totality. Everything within the circle is one thing, which is encircled, enframed. That would be the spatial aspect. But the temporal aspect of the circle is that you leave, go somewhere, and always come back. God is the alpha and the omega, the source and the end. The circle suggests immediately a completed totality, whether in time or in space."

10 "I've lost a lot of friends, as well as my parents. A realization has come to me very, very keenly, however, that I haven't lost them. That moment when I was with them has an everlasting quality about it that is now still with me. What it gave me then is still with me, and there's a kind of intimation of immortality in that."

11 "The whole story of the crucifixion, which is a fundamental image in the Christian tradition, speaks of the coming of eternity into the field of time and space, where there is a dismemberment. But it also speaks of the passage from the field of time and space into the field of eternal life."

12 "When a spider makes a beautiful web, the beauty comes out of the spider's nature. It's instinctive beauty. How much of the beauty of our own lives is about the beauty of being alive? How much of it is conscious and intentional? That is a big question."

13 "Eternity isn't some later time. Eternity isn't even a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now that all thinking in temporal terms cuts off….the experience of eternity right here and now, in all things, whether thought of as good or as evil, is the function of life."

14 "I think of grass – you know, every two weeks a chap comes out with a lawnmower and cuts it down. Suppose the grass were to say, 'Well, for Pete's sake, what's the use if you keep getting cut down this way?' Instead, it keeps on growing. That's the sense of the energy of the center. That's the meaning of the image of the Grail, of the inexhaustible fountain, of the source."

15 "When you see that God is the creation, and that you are a creature, you realize that God is within you, and in the man or woman with whom you are talking, as well."

16 "We are all made in the image of God. That is the ultimate archetype of man."

17 "We are the earth, we are the consciousness of the earth. These are the eyes of the earth. And this is the voice of the earth."

18 "That is one of the great messages of mythology. I, as I now know myself, am not the final form of my being. We must constantly die one way or another to the selfhood already achieved."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite