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Joseph Campbell famously defined myth as “other people's religion.” But he also said that one of the basic functions of myth is to help each individual through the journey of life, providing a sort of travel guide or map to reach fulfillment — or, as he called it, bliss. For Campbell, many of the world's most powerful myths support the individual's heroic path toward bliss.
In Pathways to Bliss, Campbell examines this personal, psychological side of myth. Like his classic bestselling books Myths to Live By and The Power of Myth, Pathways to Bliss draws from Campbell's popular lectures and dialogues, which highlight his remarkable storytelling and ability to apply the larger themes of world mythology to personal growth and the quest for transformation. Here he anchors mythology's symbolic wisdom to the individual, applying the most poetic mythical metaphors to the challenges of our daily lives.
Campbell dwells on life's important questions. Combining cross-cultural stories with the teachings of modern psychology, he examines the ways in which our myths shape and enrich our lives. He explores the many insights of Carl Jung; the notion of self as the hero; and how East and West differ in their approaches to the ego. The book also includes an extensive question-and-answer session that ranges from mythological readings of the Bible to how the Hero's Journey unfolds for women. With his usual wit and insight, Campbell draws connections between ancient symbols and modern art, schizophrenia and the Hero's Journey. Along the way, he shows how myth can help each of us truly identify and follow our bliss.
“No one in our century — not Freud, not Thomas Mann, not Lévi-Strauss — has so brought the mythical sense of the world and its eternal figures back into our everyday consciousness.”
— James Hillman
“Campbell has become the rarest of intellectuals in American life: a serious thinker who has been embraced by the popular culture.”
“In our generation the mythographer who has had the fullest command of the huge scholarly literature, the analytic ability, the lucid prose, and the needed staying power has been Joseph Campbell.”