The Power of Myth – Joseph Campbell, The Perfect Book

I first heard of The Power of Myth and Joseph Campbell on a 6-episode television show. Although I was upset about why I hadn’t heard of Joseph Campbell before, I think that both the program and this book came into my life right on time. I read the book with complete focus because I have devoted a lot of time to reading, and I have been thinking about specific topics it covers. If I had read it before, I might not understand some parts of it, or I wouldn’t have been so impressed and enchanted.


I’m already looking forward to what I will notice in my following readings of The Power of Myth. I’m unconditionally and irrevocably in love with Joseph Campbell, and I cannot wait to read his other books. This alone makes me extremely happy!

The Power of Myth - Joseph Campbell

The Power of Myth consists of an interview on mythology between journalist Bill Moyers and American literature professor Joseph Campbell, who worked in the fields of comparative mythology and comparative religion. This long conversation started at George Lucas’s Skywalker Farm in California and ended at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. On PBS, only six hours of this lengthy interview aired in one-hour episodes in 1988, after Campbell’s death. This interesting program turned into one of the most popular series in television history. So, the producers and Bill Moyers turned the full text of this long interview, including the episodes not included in the television program, into a book.

The Power of Myth explains what mythology is, why it exists, and what it can add to our lives. Campbell talks about life, birth, death, happiness, suffering, the purpose of life, religion, and many more topics, and he puts a spell on the viewer or the reader. I pondered a lot about the different interpretations of our life experiences. Never before have I thought about my life and my search for meaning from such a fresh perspective. I am very different from the person before I read The Power of Mythology; this book changed me significantly.

I want to memorize every word Campbell said and ponder over everything again and again. I want to turn this into a kind of meditation, and I know that I am not alone in this. It’s no coincidence that there are so many Campbell fans around the world. While I congratulate myself for the decision to read this book, I am also thankful for the presence of people like Joseph Campbell. From now on, I will read his other books and take shelter in his books whenever I feel the need for a guide. I would suggest you read at least one book from him; You will learn a lot, think a lot and be amazed. Enjoy!

The Power of Myth - Joseph Campbell

The Power of Myth

The national bestseller, now available in a non-illustrated, standard format paperback edition

The Power of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work. A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people–including Star Wars creator George Lucas. To Campbell, mythology was the “song of the universe, the music of the spheres.” With Bill Moyers, one of America’s most prominent journalists, as his thoughtful and engaging interviewer, The Power of Myth touches on subjects from modern marriage to virgin births, from Jesus to John Lennon, offering a brilliant combination of intelligence and wit.

This extraordinary book reveals how the themes and symbols of ancient narratives continue to bring meaning to birth, death, love, and war. From stories of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome to traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, a broad array of themes are considered that together identify the universality of human experience across time and culture. An impeccable match of interviewer and subject, a timeless distillation of Campbell’s work, The Power of Myth continues to exert a profound influence on our culture. 

the power of myth

Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 31, 1987) was an American education, writer, and orator best known for his work in the fields of comparative mythology and comparative religion. A prolific writer and outstanding speaker, Campbell brought to life the myths and legends of cultures throughout the world.

Campbell’s recognition of the universality of human stories allows people to recognize their own dreams and aspirations in those of other times and places, breaking down the barriers that have divided us and preparing for a new age of values that transcend our differences.

Joseph Campbell was fascinated by what he viewed as universal sentiments and truths, disseminated through cultures which all featured different manifestations. In the preface of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, he indicates that his goal was to demonstrate the similarities between Eastern and Western religions.

He believed all the religions of the world, all the rituals and deities, to be “masks” of the same transcendent truth which is “unknowable.” Campbell claimed Christianity and Buddhism, whether the object is “Buddha-consciousness” or “Christ-consciousness,” to be an elevated awareness above “pairs of opposites,” such as right and wrong. Indeed, he stated in the preface of The Hero with a Thousand Faces: “Truth is one, the sages speak of it by many names” which is a translation of the Rig Vedic saying “Ekam Sat Vipra Bahuda Vadanthi.”

In his four-volume series of books The Masks of God, Campbell tried to summarize the main spiritual threads of the world, in support of his ideas on the “unity of the race of man.” Tied in with this was the idea that most of the belief systems of the world had a common geographic ancestry, starting off on the fertile grasslands of Europe in the Bronze Age and moving to the Levant and the “Fertile Crescent” of Mesopotamia and back to Europe (and the Far East), where it was mixed with the newly-emerging Indo-European (Aryan) culture.

In Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor Campbell stated: Mythology is often thought of as “other people’s religions,” and religion can be defined as “misinterpreted mythology.”

In other words, Campbell did not read religious symbols literally as historical facts, but instead, he saw them as symbols or as metaphors for greater philosophical ideas. Campbell believed all spirituality to be searching for the same unknown force (which he spoke of as both an immanent and a transcendent force, or that which is both within and without, as opposed to being only without) from which everything came, in which everything currently exists, and into which everything will return. He referred to this force as the “connotation” of what he called “metaphors,” the metaphors being the various deities and objects of spirituality in the world.

the power of myth

Bill Moyers

Billy Don Moyers (born June 5, 1934) is an American journalist and political commentator. He served as the ninth White House Press Secretary under the Johnson administration from 1965 to 1967. He also worked as a network TV news commentator for ten years. Moyers has been extensively involved with public broadcasting, producing documentaries and news journal programs. He has won numerous awards and honorary degrees for his investigative journalism and civic activities. He has become well known as a trenchant critic of the corporately structured U.S. news media.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Reading Challenge 2021

A Non-fiction a Month

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