Mythologist Joseph Campbell presents his ideas about comparative
mythology and the ongoing role of myth in human society.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth - Hero's journey - Netflix
In narratology and comparative mythology, the monomyth, or the hero's
journey, is the common template of a broad category of tales that
involve a hero who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a
victory, and then comes home changed or transformed. The study of hero
myth narratives started in 1871 with anthropologist Edward Taylor's
observations of common patterns in plots of hero's journeys. Later on,
others introduced various theories on hero myth narratives such as Otto
Rank and his Freudian psychoanalytic approach to myth, Lord Raglan's
unification of myth and rituals, and eventually hero myth pattern
studies were popularized by Joseph Campbell, who was influenced by Carl
Jung's view of myth. In his 1949 work The Hero with a Thousand Faces,
Campbell described the basic narrative pattern as follows:
A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of
supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a
decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious
adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.
Campbell and other scholars, such as Erich Neumann, describe narratives
of Gautama Buddha, Moses, and Christ in terms of the monomyth. While
others, such as Otto Rank and Lord Raglan, describe hero narrative
patterns in terms of Freudian psychoanalysis and ritualistic senses.
Critics argue that the concept is too broad or general to be of much
usefulness in comparative mythology. Others say that the hero's journey
is only a part of the monomyth; the other part is a sort of different
form, or color, of the hero's journey.
Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth - The Crossing of the Return Threshold - Netflix
The trick in returning is to retain the wisdom gained on the quest, to
integrate that wisdom into a human life, and then maybe figure out how
to share the wisdom with the rest of the world. Campbell: “The returning
hero, to complete his adventure, must survive the impact of the world.
Many failures attest to the difficulties of this life-affirmative
threshold. The first problem of the returning hero is to accept as real,
after an experience of the soul-satisfying vision of fulfillment, the
passing joys and sorrows, banalities and noisy obscenities of life. Why
re-enter such a world? Why attempt to make plausible, or even
interesting, to men and women consumed with passion, the experience of
transcendental bliss? As dreams that were momentous by night may seem
simply silly in the light of day, so the poet and the prophet can
discover themselves playing the idiot before a jury of sober eyes. The
easy thing is to commit the whole community to the devil and retire
again into the heavenly rock dwelling, close the door, and make it fast.
But if some spiritual obstetrician has drawn the shimenawa across the
retreat, then the work of representing eternity in time, and perceiving
in time eternity, cannot be avoided” The hero returns to the world of
common day and must accept it as real.
Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth - References - Netflix