… in Wolfram the guide is within — for each, unique; and I see in this the first completely intentional statement of the fundamental mythology of modern Western man, the first sheerly individualistic mythology in the history of the human race: a mythology of quest inwardly motivated — directed from within — where there is no authorized way or guru to be followed or obeyed, but where, for each, all ways already found, known and proven, are wrong ways, since they are not his own.
For each, in himself, is in his “intelligible character” an unprecedented species in himself, whose life-way and life-form (as of a newly sprung plant or animal sport) can be revealed and realized only by and through himself. Hence that sense of yearning and striving toward an unknown end, so characteristic of the Western living of life — so alien to the Oriental. What is unknown, yet deeply, infallibly intended, is one’s own peculiar teleology, not the one “straight path to Paradise.” The learned Anglo-Indian critic of our civilization, Dr. Ananda Kent Coomaraswamy — who had lived and worked in this country somewhat more than forty years, yet never got the idea nor any sense of the unique majesty of this Occidental style of spirituality — with disparaging intent coined a really telling characterization of the “Faustian soul,” when he wrote (using the pronoun “we” to connote not himself, a master of India’s “eternal” wisdom, but his Occidental colleagues at the Boston Museum and Harvard University) : “We who can call an art ‘significant,’ knowing not of what, are also proud to ‘progress,’ we know not whither.” And indeed we are — and had better be. For as Spengler has well said: “In Wolfram von Eschenbach, Cervantes, Shakespear, and Goethe, the tragic line of the individual life develops from within outward, dynamically, functionally.”
And so we return from the Vulgate monastic epic of Lancelot and Galahad, with its subsequent disintegration of the worldly court of King Arthur, to the earthly Divine Comedy of their nature-rooted predecessors: Gawain, the model lover, at bout the age of Leopold Bloom, and Parzival, the questing youth, like Stephen, willing to challenge even God if the mask that he shows — or is said to have shown — rings hollow when struck… .
Joseph Campbell. The Literary Stages of Development: c. 1136-1230. The Paraclete. Creative Mythology.
@12 months ago with 12 notes
#Joseph Campbell #Wolfram von Eschenbach
"… For even in the sphere of Waking Consciousness, the fixed and the set fast, there is nothing now that endures. The known myths cannot endure. The known God cannot endure. Whereas formerly, for generations, life so held to established norms that the lifetime of a deity could be reckoned in millenniums, today all norms are in flux, so that the individual is thrown, willy-nilly, back upon himself, into the inward sphere of his own becoming, his forest adventurous without any way or path, to come through his own integrity in experience to his own intelligible Castle of the Grail — integrity and courage, in experience, in love, in loyalty, and in act. And to this end the guiding myths can no longer be of any ethnic norms. No sooner learned, these are outdated, out of place, washed away. There are today no horizons, no mythogenetic zones. Or rather, the mythogenetic zone is the individual heart. Individualism and spontaneous pluralism — the free association of men and women of like spirit, under protection of a secular, rational state with no pretensions to divinity — are in the modern world the only honest possibilities: each the creative center of authority for himself, in Cusanus’s circle without circumference whose center is everywhere and where each is the focus of God’s gaze… ."
Joseph Campbell. The Earthly Paradise. Creative Mythology.
@1 year ago with 27 notes
"… 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 it to accord with your system of thought. The momentum of history behind it is too great for anything really significant to evolve from that 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 by holding to your own ideals for yourself and rejecting the system’s impersonal claims upon you… ."
Joseph Campbell. The Power of Myth.
@1 year ago with 83 notes
… “We are concerned no longer with cultural inflection but with a passage from one culture stage to another. In all previous ages, only restricted portions of the surface of the earth were known. Men looked out from the narrowest upon a somewhat larger neighborhood, and beyond that, a great unknown. They were all, so to say, insular: bound in. Whereas our view is confined now longer to a spot of space on the surface of the earth. it surveys the whole of the planet. And this fact, this lack of a horizon, is something new.”
Now it has been chiefly to the scientific method of research that this release of mankind has been due, and along with mankind as a whole, every developed individual has been freed from the once protective but now dissolved horizons of the local land, local moral code, local modes of group thought and sentiment, local heritages of signs. But this scientific method was itself a product of the minds of already self-reliant individuals courageous enough to be free. Moreover, not only in the sciences but in every department of life the will and courage to credit one’s own senses and to honor one’s own decisions, to name one’s own virtues and claim one’s own vision of truth, have been the generative forces of the new age, the enzymes of the fermentation of the wine of this great modern harvest — which is a wine, however, that can be safely drunk only by those with a courage of their own… .
Joseph Campbell. Experience and Authority. Creative Mythology.
@1 year ago with 17 notes
#Joseph Campbell #Leo Frobenius
"… Each individual is the center of a mythology of his own, of which his own intelligible character is the Incarnate God, so to say, whom his empirically questing consciousness is to find… The mythogenic zone today is the individual in contact with his own interior life, communicating through his art with those “out there”… ."
Joseph Campbell. Creative Mythology.
@1 year ago with 8 notes
"… The profession of views that are not one’s own and the living of life according to such views — no matter what the resultant sense of social participation, fulfillment, or even euphoria may be — eventuates inevitably in self-loss and falsification. For in our public roles and conventional beliefs we are — after all! — practically interchangeable. “Out there” we are not ourselves, but at best only what we are expected to be, and at worst what we have got to be. The intent of the old mythologies to integrate the individual in his group, to imprint on his mind the ideals of that group, to fashion him according to one or another of its orthodox stereotypes, and to convert him thus into an absolutely dependable cliché, has become assumed in the modern world by an increasingly officious array of ostensibly permissive, but actually coercive, demythologized secular institutions. A new anxiety in relation to this development is now becoming evident, however; for with the increase on one hand, of our efficiencies in mass indoctrination and, on the other, of our uniquely modern Occidental interest in the fosterage of authentic individuals, there is dawning upon many a new and painful realization of the depth to which the imprints, stereotypes, and archetypes of the social sphere determine our personal sentiments, deeds, thoughts, and even capacities for experience… ."
Joseph Campbell. The Word Behind Words. Creative Mythology.
@1 year ago with 10 notes