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“It is not that the divine is everywhere: it is that the divine is everything.“—Joseph Campbell, Oriental Mythology
“As long as an illusion of ego remains, the commensurate illusion of a separate deity also will be there; and vice versa, as long as the idea of a separate deity is cherished, an illusion of ego, related to it in love, fear, worship, exile, or atonement, will also be there.”—Joseph Campbell, Oriental Mythology
Fine words on a printed page. Digitized when I copied and incorporated them into a post. Pixilated when flashed on the screen in front of you and I.
When did Campbell pass from this mortal coil, 1986 or so? He played the game well, had a terrific go of it. He ate breakfast one morning and then, padding up the stairs to put in his day’s work, collapsed. “Good-bye Joe,” his wife bid his departing spirit.
He joins the uncountable billions that have briefly blossomed on this modest little planet wheeling as it does through the vast reaches of the universe. He lived his day and sang his song, and, thanks to the printed page, film and video, has left the rest of us something… a message from the beyond.
No, not the beyond of the other world to where he departed when his spirit took leave of us, or, perhaps I should say yes that beyond, only Campbell tapped into it while he lived and from that moment never ceased communicating—teaching— its multifarious splendors.
Some of us, and I’m referring to we humans—a select few—attain to the ineffable, the inexpressible, the unconveyable, during the course of our lives. When that occurs a wondrous quickening of our all too human energies often follow. Those prophets, poets, seers, visionaries act as catalysts for the awakening of scores of others to the grand mystery that is nothing more nor less than the very Life that is flowing through each one of us this very moment in time!
They brush away the cobwebs of an outmoded way of life, pierce through the fog and mist of ideas and ideologies, beliefs and superstitions. They clear the ground so to speak, for new growth and flowering.
They dissolve ego and reacquaint us with the divine, within ourselves!
Listen. Here’s one more quote.
Following dinner and before putting the final daubs on this little post, I picked up and read a passage from Henry Miller’s Letters To Emil. The year is 1930. Miller has fled New York for Paris. He is all but alone and destitute and resolved from this point on to express himself to the utmost come what may.
“Somewhere a new people must arise, with vitality, with original ideas. For two thousand years we have been looking for Resurrections, Renaissances, etc. We should junk all this rot in our museums, forget that there ever was a Jesus Christ, a Gautama, a Mahomet–to hell with Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Rembrandt. Take all these madonnas that litter the walls and chuck them into the ashcan. Give us a fresh start, somewhere, somehow. We need it. We need a reforestation of ideas. We need to come down to earth again.”
The artist, the prophet, the seer, is in the process of giving birth to himself!
As Campbell wrote: “the divine is everything.”
Life is ALL there is.
Beverly Penn said:
Great, great post. I’ve always liked Campbell’s ideas and found them refreshingly optimistic and hopeful, almost Whitmanesque (especially in the idea of a singular, underlying divinity that is us and made of us). Too often those of us without hope in an afterlife or deity sound depressing, and Campbell does a brilliant job of remaining realistic about religion whilst positive as well!
Thank-you, Bev. With Campbell it was all a celebration, and his harshest words were not for religions, but for those who would oppose our looking through and past the mythic images which comprise them to the underlying truths at their heart. As I very slowly make my way back through his stupendous ‘Masks Of God’ series (and what a title too!) I am all the more convinced what a giant of the spirit he was.