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Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell) (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 26. Oktober 2004

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“No one in our century — not Freud, not Thomas Mann, not Lévi-Strauss — has so brought the mythical sense of the world and its eternal figures back into our everyday consciousness.”
James Hillman

“Campbell has become the rarest of intellectuals in American life: a serious thinker who has been embraced by the popular culture.”

“In our generation the mythographer who has had the fullest command of the huge scholarly literature, the analytic ability, the lucid prose, and the needed staying power has been Joseph Campbell.”


In Pathways to Bliss, Joseph Campbell once again draws on his masterful gift of storytelling to apply the larger themes of world mythology to personal growth and transformation. Looking at the more personal, psychological side of myth, he begins to dwell on life's more important questions - those that are often submerged beneath the frantic activity of our daily life.

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Traditionally, the first function of a living mythology is to reconcile consciousness to the preconditions of its own existence; that is to say, to the nature of life. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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A Mythology Self-Help Book! 15. November 2006
Von P. ROBINSON - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Everyone with the slightest familiarity with Joseph Campbell, of course, knows the famous catch-phrase: "Follow Your Bliss". And everyone pretty much knows what it means, as well: Figure out whatever your passion is, and responsibly and diligently move forward, and pursue it... for the rest of your life... above and beyond anything else.

Sounds like words of wisdom from a worthy and knowledgable teacher.... but how exactly does one go about following their bliss?

That's what this book aims to answer.

Joseph Campbell, of course, died in 1987, yet this book didn't appear on store shelves until 2004. That's because it has been assembled posthumously by the Joseph Campbell Foundation from many of Campbell's unpublished notes/lectures/interviews/drafts/etc... Their aim is to bring the great mythologist's unfinished works into a form suitable for public consumption. With that as their aim, the Foundation had the inspired idea to organize a whole book around the premise: How To Follow Your Bliss.

So, it's the usual brand of Campbell's 'Mythology as Psychological Resource', albeit this time around in the guise of a sort of 'mythological self-help book'. A satisfying one nonetheless.

As ever, Campbell's basic premise is that the grand purpose of mythology is to ground an individual in relation to an order of being that is larger than himself. Through metaphor and through ritual, an individual is brought into accord with:

1. The great mystery

2. The physical world

3. The societal order

4. The appropriate stage in one's own development as an individual

(These you may recognize as Campbell's four functions of myth.)

The book starts by laying out all four of these as the foundation for the overall theme, and then focuses on the fourth one, the 'personal development' function of myth, throughout the remainder of its pages. A typical scenario where the fourth function of myth may be considered is the following:

All is well, of course, when an infant lives in a dependency on its mother. It is not alright, however, when a thirty-year-old man depends on his mother for decision-making capabilities. Obviously, at some point between infancy and maturity must come the realization that the correct value is to become an autonomous being. Often these realizations that come at specific transition points in the lifecycle are challenging for a developing ego to embrace.

And myths are often stories that show us, through metaphor, that it is possible to negotiate these thresholds-- often they even point a way as to HOW these thresholds may best be negotiated. In a nutshell, what the great stories tell us is this: let the you that you are now DIE so that something new can be born in its place. Let your current incarnation go.

Following the development of the above ideas, the book continues on into the territory of Jung and the idea of one's personal myth. Each of us may become sensitive to one particular myth over another because it has something essential to tell us specifically about our own unique particular journey.

Finding one's own myth, and living it, in essence, is one's pathway to bliss. Campbell gives suggestions to his students (and to us readers) as to how to find, identify and live one's personal myth.

So, here you get the flavor of the book. If you like the ideas behind The Power of Myth and/or Hero With A Thousand Faces and find them to be a nourishing resource in your own life journey, here's a book that attempts to express and focus on those ideas in a way that makes them seem much more immediately relevant and applicable to one's own life journey.

So, if that's what you're into, you'll find it in this book. Because 'mythology as resource for one's psychological development' is what primarily compells me above all else when it comes to myth, I devoured this book and then cried like a little baby when I finished the last page because I was sad it was all over. Those who can't stomach Campbell should move along move along, because they'll find more of the same here as to what they're used to.

* As a bonus, for everyone out there who finds Campbell's ideas of the Hero's Journey to be somewhat not inclusive of women, this book tries to address that as well. The final chapter is a transcript of dialogues in which many of Campbell's students (male and female) challenge him to broaden the conception of the Hero's Journey to include women in a fuller way. It brings what many consider a sour omission from Campbell's writings to light and is definitely worth the read for anyone who follows that discussion closely.

- Phil Robinson


"Paint the walls of your cage with a dream."
124 von 129 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
"Practical" Mythology 9. Dezember 2004
Von Stephen L. Gerringer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I am drawn to Pathways to Bliss because it is very much "practical Campbell," focusing directly on the wisdom that myth presents pertaining to our individual lives. "Pathways" offers practical observations for life based on Joseph Campbell's study of mythology.

I find "Pathways" a delightful read. Campbell's's voice is fresh, his words full of wit and wisdom - definitely has more of an intimate feel than some of his heavily referenced scholastic tomes. There is no mincing of words, either - Campbell makes very clear that ancient myths remain guideposts for our individual lives today - if we know how to read them ... as in the following passage:

"Now all of these myths that you have heard and that resonate with you, those are the elements from round about that you are building into a form in your life. The thing worth considering is how they relate to each other in your context, not how they relate to something out there - how they were relevant on the North American praires or in the Asian jungles hundreds of years ago, but how they are relevant now - unless by contemplating their former meaning you can begin to amplify your own understanding of the role they play in your life."

Here Campbell makes clear that his books aren't just for armchair scholars, as he brings mythology out of the Academy and into the street

... which is indeed unnerving for many in specialized disciplines. They might study myth, but to apply patterns discovered therein to one's own life carries the same stigma as an "objective" anthropologist "gone native."

For Campbell, though, the same elements of story that power myth remain active in our lives today.

Of course, another reason i enjoy Pathways is that David Kudler has done a wonderful job of stitching together these lectures into one seamless whole - far from easy to do. The result, though, should not only appeal to the Campbell afficionado, but will also serve as an excellent introduction for those new to the work of this original thinker.
47 von 47 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Fantastic Introduction to Joseph Campbell 5. Juni 2006
Von Jeff Lorenzini - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I used to recommend people start with Myths to Live By, but now I think people should start with Pathways To Bliss. It's just a fantastic overview of the ideas that Joseph Campbell expands on and reiterates throughout his other books.

I started reading this book and my wife was joking with me, saying all you have to do is read the last paragraph to get the gist of the book. So as a joke I turned to the last paragraph and read it out loud to her. It was so moving, well, that was it, we both read the book cover to cover together.

It's just an amazingly affirmative view of life and nobody explains the mysteries of the cosmos better than Joseph Campbell. I'm a huge fan of his, and this book is the best one yet.
74 von 79 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Right from Campbell's mouth. 29. Dezember 2004
Von G. James - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
The wonderful thing about the last three collections of Campbell's work (Pathways..., Myths Of Light, Thou Art That), is the personal manner of thought. These works are mostly transcribed lectures, many of which can be found on tape. They differ from his formal published work in that there is a direct, concise transmission of ideas--almost a 'folksy' manner of speaking at times. This lends itself to a more enjoyable understanding of Campbell than the more 'scholarly' of his works.

Or to re-state this on a more critical level, these works allow Campbell's own thoughts about myth to be portrayed, instead of the heavy lens of his teachers shadowing him such as in his early works.
43 von 44 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
What a beautiful book! 2. Dezember 2004
Von Tony - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
When I ordered this book, the first surprise was the cover--which isn't the dancing fairies shown above, but a beautiful, BLISSFUL daVinci face.

As soon as I began to read the book, the surprises kept coming. From the introduction on, Campbell writes in a very personal, comfortable way about really deep issues, about how myth is not just a series of stories that shape a particular society, but is a tool for individual growth, about the ways in which you can identify what the myths are that you live by, and the way in which you can see your own life as a series of hero journeys. I was stunned that a book that is so clear and accessible could be so profound and thought provoking.

If you know someone who is looking at their own life (and who isn't), this would be the best christmas gift you've ever gotten them!
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