Explore myth as a tool for personal growth and transformation
Joseph Campbell famously defined myth as “other people's religion.” But he also said that one of the basic functions of myth is to help each individual through the journey of life, providing a sort of travel guide or map to reach fulfillment — or, as he called it, bliss. For Campbell, many of the world's most powerful myths support the individual's heroic path toward bliss.
In Pathways to Bliss, Campbell examines this personal, psychological side of myth. Like his classic best-selling books Myths to Live By and The Power of Myth, Pathways to Bliss draws from Campbell's popular lectures and dialogues, which highlight his remarkable storytelling and ability to apply the larger themes of world mythology to personal growth and the quest for transformation. Here he anchors mythology's symbolic wisdom to the individual, applying the most poetic mythical metaphors to the challenges of our daily lives.
Campbell dwells on life's important questions. Combining cross-cultural stories with the teachings of modern psychology, he examines the ways in which our myths shape and enrich our lives and shows how myth can help each of us truly identify and follow our bliss.
This ninth volume of Campbell's previously unpublished material deftly marries his sweeping grasp of myths with the needs of contemporary people looking for meaning and inspiration. Expert editor and seasoned Campbell authority David Kudler makes the mythic-stature-mythicist come alive again. Fans will recognize Campbell's comforting cadence and intimacy, conveyed by use of the second person and by his masterful storytelling. Campbell realized he was essentially saying the same things over more than two decades. As such, this volume breaks no new ground, but does give explicit directions for identifying and connecting oneself to a meaningful mythic overview, unbounded by specific cultures or historical facts. Campbell gives adequate coverage to the historical development of myth as it pertains to the individual, especially through the eyes of Jung. The final chapter, a distilled jewel of the hero's journey mono-myth that Campbell made famous, is followed by "Dialogue," several pages of conversation between Campbell and anonymous people, exploring the application of gender differences to the hero's journey. Campbell assesses life now as pathless: "We are in a sort of free fall into the future." He is, however, perennially hopeful that if we discover our own mythological underpinnings, carried on the wings of artists and poets, we can find our way to individual bliss. This is a fine volume for old friends and new followers.