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Power of Myth quotations

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

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"On this immediate level of life and structure, myths offer life models. But the models have to be appropriate to the time in which you are living, and our time has changed so fast that what was proper fifty years ago is not proper today. The moral order has to catch up with the moral necessities of actual life in time, here and now. And that is what we are not doing. The old-time religion belongs to another age, another people, another set of human values, another universe. By going back you throw yourself out of sync with history. Our kids lose their faith in the religions that were taught to them, and they go inside."

"What is a god? A god is a personification of a motivating power of a value system that functions in human life and in the universe- the powers of your own body and of nature."

"The myth is the public dream and the dream is the private myth. If your private myth, your dream, happens to coincide with that of the society, you are in good accord with your group. If it isn't you've got an adventure in the dark forest ahead of you."

[On movies as myths] "...we don't have the same kind of thinking going into the production of a movie that goes into the production of an initiation ritual. ...what is unfortunate for us is that a lot of the people who write these stories do not have the sense of their responsibility. These stories are making and breaking lives. But the movies are made simply to make money. The kind of responsibility that goes into a priesthood with a ritual is not there. That is one of our problems today."

"But the rituals that once conveyed an inner reality are now merely form. That's true in the rituals of society as well as the personal rituals of marriage."

“The function of the artist is the mythologization of the environment and the world."

“You can tell what's informing a society by what the tallest building is."

“There’s a center of quietness within, which has to be known and held. If you lose that center, you are in tension and begin to fall apart.”

“Your life is the fruit of your own doing. You have no one to blame but yourself.”

“If the person insists on a certain program, and doesn’t listen to the demands of his own heart, he’s going to risk a schizophrenic crackup. …the world is full of people who have stopped listening to themselves or have listened only to their neighbors to learn what they ought to do, how they ought to behave, and what the values are that they should be living for.”

“Darth Vader…is a bureaucrat, living not in terms of himself but in terms of an imposed system. This is the threat to our lives that we all face today. Is the system going to flatten you out and deny you your humanity, or are you going to be able to make use of the system to the attainment of human purposes? How do you relate to the system so that you are not compulsively serving it? It doesn’t help to try to change is to accord with your system of thought. The momentum of history behind it is too great for anything really significant to evolve from this kind of action. The thing to do is learn to live in your period of history as a human being. That’s something else, and it can be done.”

“[For better or for worse]…that’s the remnant of a ritual.”

“Man should not be in the service of society, society should be in the service of man. When man is in the service of society, you have a monster state, and that’s what is threatening the world at this minute.”

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