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Nice article, though I feel like your first objection is merely technical and the second objection focuses too much on Campbell's personal bias (as opposed to challenging his actual teaching). Which is fine if that was the aim. Your first objection when you quote "the vocabulary of yoga", Campbell doesn't seem to be claiming there are two viable paths (which conflicts with his career-long preference for the undifferentiated path). It seems he's just conveying a teaching about the modes of realization in yogic practice, not representing it as his own. So I don't see this is an example of him not heeding his own wisdom and, even if it is from "him", it's cherry-picking a passage that is inconsistent with his otherwise very consistent philosophy of getting at the divine mystery via understanding myth/symbol as such. At worst, it amounts to an outlier passage that conflicts with what he says everywhere else. Of course, whether you agree with his thesis is another matter. I think he made compelling points that by holding onto myth as fact and thereby creating firm conceptualizations/idols of god, it would be difficult to achieve union with god through transcendent experience. For him, preferable would be an undifferentiated approach to allow for access to the "Real Truth" via experience, which I'm sure he'd say is really the whole point of all of this... and is therefore superior to analytical understanding of god via history and fact (which I'd argue gives you an easier, off-the-shelf moral system but a much weaker spiritual life). It's kind of like Alan Watts in Behold the Spirit, where he talks about the worship of the Son and the Father (and the need to possess them via historical fact-worship) is largely mutually exclusive with understanding the living Holy Spirit, which exists in the here and now (which one might argue is similar in concept to Brahman, to tie it back to Campbell's inclinations). Anyway, I don't see Campbell as being guilty of anything like demanding people stop following orthodoxy, though I'm sure that was his preference. He probably was too quick to claim the Jesus as (at least partly) fiction, not realizing that even a historical jesus would allow for us to interpret the "meaning" of the resurrection to insinuate a transcendent, present god we can commune with on earth (through JC's example). A lot of his loose words on Christianity was, I'd assume, an emotional reaction to an otherwise sound conclusion that the Christian's obsession with "the facts", and thereby trying to grasp or possess an image of god, was preventing a truly spiritual life predicated on faith and surrender... to allow mystical union with whatever's behind the veil (god, whatever). To quote Watts again, Campbell's concern about confusing myth for fact is akin to climbing the light-post rather than letting it light the way... which, again, you're free to disagree with... but you didn't really get into the whether the issue itself was sound/unsound as much as make a case for Campbell's inconsistency and hypocrisy. But nothing but love for you. I enjoyed the article and I hope you're doing well.
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2015 on What Did Joseph Campbell Believe? at Only a Game
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