Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Meaning of Life, According to Joseph Campbell


"People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think what we're seeking is an experience of being alive."

We can live our lives heroically: fully, completely and truly. But if we don't have the guts for that, we can stay at home and be an example of "the dull case of the call unanswered." What call? The call to adventure. The call to risk failure and humiliation and discomfort, to risk our finances. And heartbreak. All in the name of something deeper. We have to think universally, to live large instead of just taking the easy path.

If we really want to "feel the rapture of being alive" we have to "participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world." "The attitude [of a hero] is not to withdraw from the world when you realize how horrible it is, but to realize that this horror is simply the foreground of a wonder and to come back and participate in it."

You have to transcend "the universal tragedy of man".  "It's a wonderful opera, except that it hurts."


Quotes from Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, Episode 2; The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Ch. 1 & 2