The Masks Of God Vol. 04 Creative Mythology By Joseph Campbell
Order From Chaos
Reducing Entropy/Increasing Order:
Perfect Folly Becomes Human Perfection
"Human need, aggravated by the course of history, leaps backward over intelligent leadership, confuses priestly, folk, and primitive beliefs, grabs now here, now there, at traditions, submerges itself in mysteries, sets fairytales in the place of poetry, and elevates these to articles of belief. Instead of intelligently instructing and quickly influencing, people now strew seeds and weeds together indiscriminately on all sides; no central point is offered any more on which to concentrate, but every-odd individual steps forward as leader and teacher, and gives forth his perfect folly as a perfected whole."
"And so, the force of every mystery is undone, the people’s religion itself profaned; distinctions that formerly grew from each other in natural development now work against each other as contradictory elements, and thus we have the Tohu-wa-Bohu chaos again: but not the first, gravid, fruitful one; rather, a dying one running to decay, from which not even the spirit of God could create for itself a worthy world."
page 379 Creative Mythology
"Democracy and the Terror"
"What, then, is the Waste Land? It is the land where the myth is patterned by authority, not emergent from life; where there is no poet’s eye to see, no adventure to be lived, where all is set for all and forever: Utopia! Again, it is the land where poets languish and priestly spirits thrive, whose task it is only to repeat, enforce, and elucidate cliches."
"And this blight of the soul extends today from the cathedral close to the university campus. Nietzsche made the point almost a century ago."
"First, a religious training in coined platitudes from a world as far from the modern as any could possibly be; next, a so-called liberal-arts education, by way of lecture courses, seminars and quizzes, week by week: “great books” summarized and evaluated, stuffed into emptied heads as authorized information, to be signaled back, for grades; and then the sciences — at the outer reaches of thought! — all taught by sterilized authorities who, in those unrccapturable years of their own youth, when the ears, eyes, and heart of the spirit open to the marvel of oneself and the universe, were condemned to that same hard helotism of which Nietzsche writes. There is no time, no place, no permission — let alone encouragement — for experience. And to make things even worse, along now come those possessed socio-political maniacs with their campus rallies, picket-line slogans, journalistic ballyhoo, and summonses to action in the name of causes of which their callow flocks had scarcely heard six months before — and even those marginal hours that might have been left from study for inward growth are invaded, wrecked, and strewn with daily rubbish. It is hardly to be wondered if the young people of the world today look a bit like rubbish-strewn rooms themselves and in their Dionysiac “trips” and “happenings” promise to match the agapes of the early Christian Church. "
excerpts from pages 373 - 374 Creative Mythology
"As Nietzsche could say from experience: “The aim of institutions — whether scientific, artistic, political, or religious — never is to produce and foster exceptional examples; institutions are concerned, rather, for the usual, the normal, the mediocre.” "
page 41 Creative Mythology
Darwin Quixote: Mythic Hero of Modern Civilization
Welcome to an age when appearances matter more than substance and actual verifiable truth.
"In Ortega’s words, once again: The natural sciences based on determinism conquered the field of biology during the first decades of the nineteenth century. Darwin believed he had succeeded in imprisoning life — our last hope — within physical necessity. Life is reduced to mere matter, physiology to mechanics. The human organism, which seemed an independent unit, capable of acting by itself, is placed in its physical environment like a figure in a tapestry. It is no longer the organism that moves but the environment that is moving through it. Our actions are no more than reactions. There is no freedom, no originality. To live is to adapt oneself; to adapt oneself is to allow the material environment to penetrate into us, to drive us out of ourselves. Adaptation is submission and renunciation. Darwin sweeps heroes off the face of the earth. And so it is that, in this dismal scene of mechanized cities of “adjusted” automatons, the age arrives, as Ortega states, of the roman experimental of Zola and the rest. The subject matter is still man, but since man is no longer the agent of his acts but is moved by the environment in which he lives, the novel will look to the representation of the environment. The environment is the only protagonist. People speak of evoking the “atmosphere.” "
"Art submits to one rule: verisimilitude . . . the beautiful is what is probable and the true lies only in physics."
The Four Stages of Civilization
"The day of the cavalier is ended; and tracing back now through the centuries, to identify the symbolic moments of its beginning, culmination, cli- macteric, and dissolution, we may number the stages of this cul- ture period as follows:
1. The long, general period represented by the coins of Figure 27, of the pagan Aryan beginnings of what today is Occidental civilization: the centuries, first, of the Celtic (Hallstatt and La Tene) expansions, raids, and invasions, c. 900-15 b.c., and then, of the rise and world empire of pagan Rome, c. 400 b.c. — 400 a.d .
2. The very dark, at first, but then brightening years of the Christian Middle Ages: first of the forceful conversion and immediate collapse of the Roman Empire in Europe (Theodosius the Great, 379-395 a.d.); next of the saints of Christian Ireland, maintaining a dim yet steady light while on the Continent the ravages of the pagan Germanic wars and plunderings were augmented by the works of riding Asiatic Huns and African Moors (the dark ordeals of this stage endured from the sixth to the ninth centu- ries); 73 the beginnings of improvement, then, among the Franks, Lombards, and Saxons, emanating largely from the palace school (but also the weaponry) of Charlemagne (Holy Roman Emperor, 800-814 a.d.); and then — at last! — with the fall of Moorish Toledo in the year 1085 and the preaching ten years later of the First Crusade, the sudden flowering of the golden age of European courtesy and amor, theology, cathedrals, and knighthood on ad- venture: that age par excellence of chivalry and the mounted steed, of which the paragons for all time must be the knights and ladies fair of King Mark’s and Arthur’s courts. But now, passing the noon of that day of the mounted steed, and moving onward toward a later time when gunpowder and can- nons will have given the advantage to men afoot, we ask :
3. who that strange silhouette against the setting sun might be, riding tall and lean, picador-like, on a tall, lean, knobby-kneed horse, with a short, round second figure trotting now beside, now after, on a donkey. Why none other, indeed, than Don Quixote, in his patched armor, on Rozinante, his “Horse of Yore”: the Knight of the Rueful Countenance, about 1605 a.d., riding to adventure the love-death on the dusty plane of La Mancha with his portly squire Sancho Panza, “poor in purse and poor in brains,” loyally behind! As Or- tega y Gasset has remarked in his Meditations on Quixote: “Don Quixote, in a certain way, is the sad parody of a more divine and serene Christ: he is a Gothic Christ, torn by the modern anguish; a ridiculous Christ of our own neighborhood, created by a sorrowful imagination, which has lost its innocence and its will and is striving to replace them. . . , “Don Quixote stands at the intersection where two worlds meet, forming a beveled edge,” he writes again: the two worlds, on the one hand, of poetic aspiration and spiritual adventure, and, on the other, empirical reality, “the anti-poetic per se.” “Cervantes looks at the world,” Ortega states, “from the height of the Renaissance. The Renaissance has tightened things. . . . With his physics Galileo lays down the stern laws that govern the universe. A new system has begun; everything is confined within stricter forms. Adventures are impossible in this new order of things. . . . "Another characteristic of the Renaissance,” Ortega then adds, however, is the predominance acquired by the psychological. . . . The Renaissance discovers the inner world in all its vast extension, the me ipsum, the consciousness, the subjective. The novel Don Quixote is the flower of this great new turn that culture takes. In it the epic comes to an end forever, along with its aspiration to support a mythical world bordering on that of material phenom- ena but different from it. . . . The reality of the adventure is reduced to the psychological, perhaps even to a biological humor. It is real insofar as it is a vapor from a brain, so that its reality is that of its opposite, the material. . . . Regarded for itself, in a direct way, reality, the actual, would never be poetic: that is the privilege of the mythical. But we can consider it obliquely, as destructive of the myth, as criticism of the myth. In this manner reality, which is of an inert and mean- ingless nature, quiet and mute, acquires movement, is changed into an active power of aggression against the crystal orb of the ideal. The enchantment of the latter broken, it falls into fine, iridescent , dust, which loses gradually its colors until it becomes an earthy brown.
And with this we are brought to our terminal stage, namely: 4.
The present, of Picasso’s shattered horse and the broken, hollow rider: T, S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and “The Hollow Men.’’ For by the middle of the nineteenth century, three centuries after Galileo, Quixote, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet (“To be, or not to be . . .”), not only had the motions of life become reduced to mechanistic formulas, but even those of the mind and will were on the point of being so interpreted. In Ortega’s words, once again: The natural sciences based on determinism conquered the field of biology during the first decades of the nineteenth century. Darwin believed he had succeeded in imprisoning life — our last hope — within physical necessity. Life is reduced to mere matter, physiology to mechanics. The human organism, which seemed an independent unit, capable of acting by itself, is placed in its physical environment like a figure in a tapestry. It is no longer the organism that moves but the environment that is moving through it. Our actions are no more than reactions. There is no freedom, no originality. To live is to adapt oneself; to adapt oneself is to allow the material environment to penetrate into us, to drive us out of ourselves. Adaptation is submission and re- nunciation. Darwin sweeps heroes off the face of the earth. And so it is that, in this dismal scene of mechanized cities of “adjusted” automatons, the age arrives, as Ortega states, of the roman experimental of Zola and the rest. The subject matter is still man, but since man is no longer the agent of his acts but is moved by the environment in which he lives, the novel will look to the representation of the environ- ment. The environment is the only protagonist. People speak of evoking the “atmosphere.” Art submits to one rule: verisimilitude . . . the beautiful is what is probable and the true lies only in physics.
The aim of the novel is physiology. With the conditioned-reflex experiments on dogs of the Russian physiologist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1848-1936) so and the application of his methods to the study and control of human thinking and behavior, psychology itself became a department of mechanics. The last dark cavern of retreat of Schopenhauer’s “in- telligible character” of the individual was about to become wholly illuminated by a laboratory lamp, and the old Germanic sense of the love-death destiny as wyrd, an irreversible process of becoming from within,* reduced to an electrician’s diagram of afferent and efferent nerves; so that what romantics still were attributing to some vague force, felt to be divine, within, was actually to be analyzed as a property of matter, no less and no more mysterious or divine than what goes on within the carburetor and cylinders of one’s car. In the words of an American master of this ultimate field of nineteenth- century science : There are common factors running through all forms of human acts. In each adjustment there is always both a response or act and a stimulus or situation which calls out that response. Without going too far beyond our facts, it seems possible to say that the stimulus is always provided by the environment, ex- ternal to the body, or by the movements of man’s own muscles and the secretions of his glands; finally, that the responses al- ways follow relatively immediately upon the presentation of the stimulus. These are really assumptions, but they seem to be basal ones for psychology. ... If we provisionally accept them we may say that the goal of psychological study is the as- certaining of such data and laws that, given the stimulus, psy- chology can predict what the response will be; or, on the other hand, given the response, it can specify the nature of the effective stimulus."
page 212-215 Creative Mythology
How does a vacation on top of Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain sound to You?
A Jesuit Trained Teacher Emerges To Inspire The Young Minds of A New Generation:
Welcome To The Age of Endless World Wide Terror!
"And finally, it is an unloving misunderstanding of youth to suppose that it finds its pleasure in freedom. Its deepest pleasure is obedience.. . . No!” he continued. “Not liberation and development of the individual are the secret and requirement of this age. What it needs, what it yearns for, and what it will create for itself is — the Terror.”
"Thomas Mann presents Settembrini as the paradigmatic master of Stage III, surviving, however, only as an invalid in a world that is at the opening of Stage IV, where an apparently new, but actually harshly medieval, reactionary type of self-appointed pedagogue is emerging as both teacher of youth and adviser to the leaders of state. In The Magic Mountain this second, altogether ambiguous type of spiritual mentor is represented by the small, haggard, clean-shaven, expensively tailored little figure of a man named Naphta, who comes into the novel just halfway through: an aggressive, well-rehearsed debater of almost corrosive ugliness, whose thin, pursed, disdainful lips are surmounted by a vast hooked nose, and this, in turn, by thick glasses framing a pair of pale gray eyes. Settembrini teasingly refers to him as princeps scholasticorum; he to Settembrini, in turn, as the Master Mason, “Master of the Lodge”; and with every phrase, every word, on every conceivable subject, the two clash blades in endless verbal combat, flashing and splitting definitions. One is defending the glory of man and the spirit as revealed in the faculty of reason; the other, God and the spirit transcendent, absolutely apart from and against fallen, natural man, his instincts, reason, pretensions to freedom, progress, science, rights, and all the rest. Naphta charges Settembrini with the heresy of monism; Settembrini, Naphta with dualism and world-splitting. Both pretend to stand for the individual; Naphta, however, for his eternal soul, not his rights or powers here on earth. Both stand for man’s zeal for truth; however, truth, according to Naphta, is inaccessible to reason, its sole authority being revelation; nor is the formulation of laws and customs prop- erly a function of human councils, since there is but one law eter- nal, that of God, the ius divinum, which is to be enforced — enforced — by those anointed in authority: “That the Renaissance brought all those things into the world that are called liberalism, individualism, humanistic citizenship, I am well aware,” said the acrid Naphta to his humanist antagonist; “but the striving, heroic age of your ideals already is long past. Those ideals are dead; or, at least, they lie today gasping their last, and the feet of those who will deal the finishing kicks are al- ready at the door. If I am not mistaken, you call yourself a revolutionary. But if you think freedom is to be the issue of future revo- lutions, you are wrong. The principle of freedom has, in the past five hundred years, fulfilled its course and outlived itself. Any method of pedagogy that still considers itself to be a child of the Enlightenment and regards as proper aims for itself a develop- ment of the critical faculties, liberation and cultivation of the in- dividual, and thereby the dissolution of modes of life eternally fixed — may still enjoy for a while an apparent rhetorical success: but to those who know, the reactionary character of such teaching is beyond question. All truly serious educational orders have known forever what the one and only possible principle of all pedagogy must be: namely the absolute command, the iron bond, in the name of discipline, sacrifice, denial of ego, subjugation of the personality."
"And finally, it is an unloving misunderstanding of youth to suppose that it finds its pleasure in freedom. Its deepest pleasure is obedience. . . . “No!” he continued. “Not liberation and development of the individual are the secret and requirement of this age. What it needs, what it yearns for, and what it will create for itself is — the Terror.” The expensively tailored little talker had, for that final word, lowered his voice; he uttered it without move or gesture. Only his glasses briefly flashed. And the auditors, Hans and his military cousin, as well as Settembrini, were appalled. The eloquent humanist, recovering however, asked with assumed levity whence the Terror, then, was to arrive."
"The little vehicle of cynical hate giving utterance to this apocalyptic vision of the Day of God was an ordained Jesuit, born a Jew: a full Judeo-Christian! but developing ideas just a bit ahead of those conventional to either of his successive Testaments, and so, running a temperature, residing on the Magic Mountain with a touch of death in his lung. “Ein joli jesuite,” thought Hans, “ mit einer petite tache humide.” “All his thoughts,” said Settembrini, “are lascivious: they are under the sign of Death.” And indeed, in his luxurious, silk-upholstered apartment, a fourteenth-century pieta proposed an ideal of ugly beauty that was altogether in contrast to that of Settembrini’s Renaissance bellezza. It was a work (as he explained to Hans) conceived in the ascetic spirit of a witty piece of writing by Innocent III, bearing the title De miseria humanae conditions : not the prettified production of any Monsieur This or Monsieur That, but anonymous, impersonal, a radical revelation, sub signo mortificationis, of the knowledge of sorrow and frailty of the flesh ."
pages 380 - 382 Creative Mythology
The Revelation of Jacob's Amusing Ladder:
Of Apollo's Musical Museum Musings
"This ladder of the planetary shells, presented by a fifteenth century Italian music master to demonstrate, as he declares, “that the Muses, Planets, Modes, and strings correspond with one another,” actually is an idea of the greatest age. It was known already to the Stoics and is developed in Cicero’s “Dream of Scipio” (cited in Occidental Mythology ), where the spheres are named in this same order and said to produce a loud agreeable sound by the motion of their revolutions."
"But the earthly sphere, the ninth, “remains ever motionless and stationary in its position in the center of the universe” "
"In a properly Christian art the forms do not seduce the senses to this world, but are allegorical of spiritual themes and of the legends of the Savior and his saints, by which the mind and spirit are exalted beyond this world to God, who is transcendent and apart. Whereas in Gafurius’s design — as in general in classical art— the Muses represent and are addressed to the spheres of their respective stations, all of which pertain to the body and field of power of the serpent itself. And the serpent, in turn, is not opposed to the Lord of Life and Light, but a manifestation of his creative force and harmony. To realize this, and to rise then along the mounting scale from one glory to the next, one has only to face and dare to enter the lion’s mouth: the flaming sun door of the present, absorbed totally in the living here-and-now, without hope, without fear. Whereupon the rapture of the Muses — the arts — will begin to be experienced in the body of this world itself, transporting our spirit from glory to glory, to that summit of joy in consciousness where the world eye — beyond hope, beyond fear surveys the universe in its coming, going, and being."
"For, just as the serpent is not opposed to the Lord, but the vehicle of his down-going grace, so are the Muses — clothed in the garments of this world — not opposed to the unclothed Graces, but in triple rhythm (3 times 3) the earthly heralds of their paradisial dance. And they are nine because (as Dante tells of his own Muse, Beatrice) their root (the square root of nine being three) is in the trinity above."
"Beyond the frightening visage of all-consuming time, the arts — the Muses — initiate us to the enduring harmony of the universe, the planes or aspects of which are controlled by the planets and their spheres. Gafurius shows the signs and deities of these at the right of his design, matching the Muses at the left. As Thalia, below, is of the earth, so Clio (lower left), the Muse of History, presides on the plane of the moon, controller of the tides of time, while Calliope, Heroic Poetry, matches Mercury (Hermes), the guide of souls beyond the temporal sphere. Next come Terpsichore, Muse of the Dance and Choral Song, in the sphere of Venus and Cupid; Melpomene, Tragedy, who purges and illuminates with the fire and light of the Sun; and Erato, Lyric and Erotic Poetry, on the plane of Mars, god of war. Beyond this central, tragic triad, then, we are released by the power of music from all visible forms whatsoever.* Euterpe, the Muse of Flute Music, elevates the mind to the plane of Jupiter, where the soul, as the child to its father in the confirmation scene at the right, is turned to the protecting as- pect of the Lord. Polyhymnia, the Muse of Sacred Song, celebrates the aspect of the Father in Saturn, wielding the scythe that cuts us free from this world controlled by the planetary spheres, after which, in the sphere of the fixed stars, the Muse Urania, Astronomy, transports us from the body of the serpent altogether (the loop of whose tail suggests the sun door), to the very feet of the highest transformation of the Father, sheer light.
This ladder of the planetary shells, presented by a fifteenth- century Italian music master to demonstrate, as he declares, “that the Muses, Planets, Modes, and strings correspond with one another,” actually is an idea of the greatest age. It was known al- ready to the Stoics and is developed in Cicero’s “Dream of Scipio” (cited in Occidental Mythology ), where the spheres are named in this same order and said to produce a loud agreeable sound by the motion of their revolutions. But the earthly sphere, the ninth, “remains ever motionless and stationary in its position in the center of the universe”: hence Gafurius’s surda Thalia. “Learned men, by imitating this harmony on stringed instruments and in song,” Cicero states, “have gained for themselves a return to the supernal heights.”
And Gafurius, in accord, has allotted to each step both a note of the scale and the title of a Greek musical mode. The names of the notes are at the left; they are of the Classical conjoint Dorian-Phrygian tetrachord (our A-minor scale), as fol- lows: Proslambanomenos (A), Hypate hypaton (B), Parhypate hypaton (C), Lichanos hypaton (D), Hypate meson (E), Parhy- pate meson (F), Lichanos meson (G), and Mese (the octave). At the right are the matching modes: Hypodorian, Hypophrygian, Hypolydian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, and Hypo- mixolydian. Assigned, furthermore, to each sphere is a metal whose symbol is that of its planet: to the moon silver, quicksilver to Mercury, copper to Venus, gold to the sun, iron to Mars, tin to Jupiter, and lead to Saturn. The soul, descending from its heavenly home, takes oa the matter and weight of these metals and, ascend ing, casts them off, to arrive naked again above. Hence the symbolism of nakedness — the naked soul — before God: the naked Graces before Apollo and the figures in the mystery-cult bowl. Hence, too, the “dance of the seven veils” performed by Salome before Herod, the earliest extant version of which symbolic “stripping of the self” is the Old Sumerian “Descent of Inanna to the Underworld” of about 2500 b.c ."
The Rituals of Public Roles
"The profession of views that are not one’s own and the living of life according to such views — no matter what the resultant sense of social participation, fulfillment, or even euphoria may be — eventuates inevitably in self-loss and falsification. For in our public roles and conventional beliefs we are — after all! — practically interchangeable. “Out there” we are not ourselves, but at best only what we are expected to be, and at worst what we have got to be. The intent of the old mythologies to integrate the individual in his group, to imprint on his mind the ideals of that group, to fashion him according to one or another of its orthodox stereotypes, and to convert him thus into an absolutely dependable cliche, has become assumed in the modem world by an increasingly officious array of ostensibly permissive, but actually coercive, demythologizcd secular institutions. A new anxiety in relation to this development is now becoming evident, however; for with the increase, on one hand, of our efficiencies in mass indoctrination and, on the other, of our uniquely modern Occidental interest in the fosterage of authentic individuals, there is dawning upon many a new and painful realization of the depth to which the imprints, stereotypes, and archetypes of the social sphere determine our personal sentiments, deeds, thoughts, and even capacities for experience. "
page 86 Creative Mythology