The Hero with a Thousand Faces – Myth & Dream

I finally started re-reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, and I thought I’d share some of the more noteworthy quotes. The last time I read it, which was a few years ago, I remembered how densely packed the book was and that it contained much that was inspiring and thought-provoking.

These quotes are from the Prologue, Part One – Myth and Dream. In that chapter, Campbell talks about the similarities between myths and dreams, and that the archetypes that inhabit both are universal across time and space.

“The latest incarnation of Oedipus, the continued romance of Beauty and the Beast, stand this afternoon on the corner of Forty-Second Street and Fifth Avenue, waiting for the traffic light to change.” (p. 2)

“Dream is the personalized myth, myth the depersonalized dream; both myth and dream are symbolic in the same dream, sleep, Diana Castlegeneral way of the dynamics of the psyche. But in the dream the forms are quirked by the peculiar troubles of the dreamer, whereas in myth the problems and solutions shown are directly valid for all mankind.” – (p. 14)

“The hero, therefore, is the man or woman who has been able to battle past the personal and local historical limitations to the generally valid, normally human forms” – (p. 14)

And my favorite.

“Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us; the labyrinth is thoroughly known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.” (p.18)

from Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, (3rd edition)


Hero’s Journey & TED Talks

hero, dragon, knight, hero's journey, hero with a thousand faces, mythology, mythTED – Technology, Entertainment, Design. That is how TED came about in 1984 as a conference bringing together folks from those three disciplines to talk about stuff.

People love to talk and they love to share their ideas. That’s one of the reasons  we blog, right? Or Facebook or Twitter. Now, I’m not much of a talker per se, but I do like to write. Or, at least, I’d rather write than talk.

So, anyway, if you’re looking to listen and watch people talk about all KINDS of stuff, head on over to TED.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the hero’s journey as you can see from a previous blog post. I still haven’t started reading The Hero With a Thousand Faces, but as soon as I finish The Snow Queen I will. A book that definitely follows the Hero’s Journey. The heroine, Moon, left home, was tested and tried and tested again, gained enemies and allies, went through her Ordeal, including “Death” and “Resurrection, and is now On the Road Back, but she still has more tests to undergo before she achieves (or doesn’t achieve) her goal.

I know she achieves it because I’ve read the book before, but I’m still enjoying the journey. Funny how that works, which attests to the fact that we can read some books over and over or watch some movies over and over and still be drawn into them.

I found this five minute video over at TED about the Hero’s Journey. It’s really good as it’s a brief, succinct intro to the Hero’s Journey