Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Book Review: The Hero with a 1000 faces

So in my course of study on becoming a man and maturity, every single source seems to lead back to this fucking book.

The Hero with a thousand faces by joseph campbell is about mythology, and specifically how all myths have a basic theme and structure that they follow. This relates to maturity and manhood as the major function of myths is to act as a way of relating the human experience using a complex series of metaphors and characters to represent the journey of a lifetime.

The general structure of the adventure of a hero is:


Furthermore the specifics applicable to growing up are
Departure: The call to adventure, Refusal of the call
Initiation: The road of trials, The meeting with a goddess, Atonement with the father,
Return: Refusal of return,

Here's some quotes I liked from the book,

The passage of the mthological hero may be overground, incidentally;fundamentally it is inward-into depths where obscure resistances are overcome, and long lost, forgotten powers are revivified, to be made availible for the transfiguration of the world.

The godly powers sought and dangerously won are revealed to have been within the heart of the hero all the time.

From this point of view the hero is symbolical of the divine creative and redemtive image which is hidden within us all, only waiting to be known and rendered into life.

The two the hero and his ultimate god, the seeker and the found-are thus understood as the outside and the inside of a single self-mirrored mystery, which is identical with the mystery of the manifest world.

Blunders are not the merest chance. They are the result of suppressed desires and conflicts. They are ripples on the surface of life, produced by unsuspected springs.

One is harrassed day and night by the divine being that is the image of the living self locked within the locked labyrinth of one's disoriented psyche.

It is only by advancing beyond those bounds, provoking the destructive other aspect of the same power that the individual passes either alive or in death into a new zone of experience.

The agony of breaking throughpersonal limitations is the agony of spiritual growth. Art, literature, myth and cult, philosophy and ascetic disciplines are the instruments to help the individual past his limiting horizons into the spheres of ever-expanding realization.

For the bliss of the deep abode is not lightly abandoned in favor of the self scattering of the wakened state.

The hero adventures out of the land we know into darkness; there he accomplishes his adventure, or again is simply lost to us or imprisioned, or in danger; and his return is described as a coming back out of the yonder zone. Nevertheless-and here is a great key to the understanding of myth and symbol-the two kingdoms are actually one. The realm of the gods is a forgotten dimension of the world we know. And the exploration of that dimension of the world we know. And the exploration of that dimension either willingly or unwillingly is the whole sense of the deed of the hero.

The indiviual through prolonged psychological disciplines, gives up completely all attachment to his personal limitations, idiosyncrasies, hopes and fears, no longer resists the self-annhilation that is prerequisite to rebirth in the realization of the truth, and so becomes ripe, at last for the great at-one-ment. His personal ambitions being totally dissolved, he no longer tries to live but willingly relaxes to whatever may come to pass in him; he becomes that is to say an anonymity.

The goal of the myth is to dispel the need for such a life ignorance by effecting a reconcilation of the individual conscioussness with the universal will. And this is effected through a realization of the true relationship of the passing phenomena of time to the imperishable life that lives and dies in all.

Man in the world of action loses his centering in the principle of eternity if he is anxious for the outcome of his deeds, but resting them and their fruits on the knees of a living god he is released by them as by a sacrifice from the bondages of the sea of death.

The mighty hero of the extraordinary powers-able to lift Mount Govardhan on a finger, and to fill himself with the terrible glory of the universe-is to each of us: not the physical self visible in the mirror, but the king within.

Over all I really enjoyed this book, though it took me way too long to read it. The writing style jumps around a ton, but the overall idea that mythoogy is a subconscious manifestation of the drives, and struggles of people in ancient times and a parable to the future and the way to self actualization were great concepts. If this is something that interest you I highly reccomend picking this up. If not then i would suggest sticking to the stuff based on the works contained within.



  1. I started reading those quotes and all i could think is wtf!

  2. Anonymous4:59 PM

    The mythological journey of "the hero" is a common theme in many literatures, and in many languages. Even today, a classic example is Luke Skywalker from Star Wars or Neo from Matrix. A person who chooses to become "aware" or begin their journey will be constantly challenged while those who ignore the path will seem to have an easy time in life. However each challenge is meant to strengthen and mature the individual and his/her spirit. Some of the challenges will shake the very foundations of what your life represented. It is by no coincidence that the Death card in a tarot deck represents change and transformation. Are you sure you want to begin this journey? Wouldn't it be easier to just accept life as it is and not search deeper?

  3. Marco_Polo3:01 AM

    All true knowledge, i.e. knowledge that leads to self-liberation and self-realization, to realizing one's own full potential is ultimately rooted in VEDIC knwoledge, i.e. ancient Indian Vedic Philisophy based in the numerous Sanskrit texts of the Vedas, the Srimad Bahgavatam and the Bhagavad Gita.

    Campbell's brilliant research and writings are no exception to that.

  4. Marco_Polo3:10 AM

    And referring to the anonymous post above my first one: death IS nothing but transformation, since all circles of action and transformation are not linear but circular... just as the digit ZERO is the point of transformation between negative and positive digits. Multiply negative with negative and what you get is positive again.

    And this underlying concept of mathematics is all in itself once again an ancient Indian "invention". Our numerals are called "Arabian numerals", but the Arabs got them from the Vedic Indian Culture. Consequently, those numerals are named "Indian Numerals" in Arabian ("arqa-m hindiyyah"). Go figure. ;-)

  5. Sounds like Marco Polo is a big fan of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

    That crazy old man had some really cool - and Game applicable - ideas about men/women, sex, and relationships.

    Not to mention some AWESOME fashion and design sense.

    Go Osho!

  6. Sinn,

    So it wasn't exactly a fast read?

    I just read the 500 page Da Vinci Code in like 3 days, that is a record for me!

    Come to think of it, there was a lot of Hero's Journey in Da Vinci Code...

    Anyway, how is the writing style in THW10kF? Does it flow, easy to read.... or do you need to study the thing?


  7. i'm wondering how applicable is this in real life, could you really handle that power when immediately released upon you. This is a question I constantly struggled with after learning about some of the secrets of seduction and found out that is no turning back once your eyes have been opened. That's why i've always wondered if the revealing of the truths of the world could ever be gradually, small steps at a time. But I guess it is true that ignorance is bliss

  8. Anonymous10:13 AM

    well - I think you get the challenges to be ready for the power ;-)
    the system is qite powerful - and well-done.
    while I have the same thoughts, it has to be done gradually by themselves - revealing of the truth.