ENTP 5w6 So/Sx 584 ILE Honorary INTJ VLFE
Given what he had to work with in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, I'd say he did remarkable work.That's a fair point, he can be pretty vague.
If you are interested in looking at it from another perspective, I'd say that Joseph Campbell's work overlapped a lot with that of Carl Jung's. Apparently they did meet and admired each others' work.
"Carl Jung was very important to Joseph Campbell's work. Of the psychological theorists that Campbell drew from, Jung was by far the most important. Jung's theory of the inner life of the human being was visual. Jung's view was that we process experiences by the flow of energies. This goes deeper than feeling or affect and deeper than thinking or the intellect. Experiences such as dreams are base in reality and are on going in the unconscious at all times. At night we have some access to the process but it goes on constantly. To understand our deepest qualities, motivations, and reactions we need to proceed past words, and ideas and reflect upon the imagination, the flow of images. Myth is a visually rich mirror to the mysteries of the interior experience."
You mentioned the connection between Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung. Frequently one sees references to Carl Jung in the works of Campbell. Would you speak about the connection and interaction between Jung and Campbell?
"Though Jung's contributions had a major impact upon Campbell, he was careful to insist that he was not a Jungian. He read very extensively in Freud and other psychologists as well. Campbell was a considerable psychological thinker in his own right. Part of the appeal of the way Campbell presents mythic materials is that he constantly points out personal applications. That is something not commonly found in older books on mythology, whether the work is popular or scholarly.
Joseph Campbell knew Carl Jung. One of Campbell's mentors was a man named Heinrich Zimmer who was close to Jung. Campbell gathered and published some of Zimmer's ideas posthumously. He engaged in a long correspondence with Jung and spent a memorable afternoon with Jung at his castle retreat in Bollingen on Lake Zurich.
Campbell also became involved in the Eranos Conferences. Jung had launched the series at Ascona in the south of Switzerland. These were annual conversations among philosophers, psychologists, theologians, historians, and other thinkers on archetypal themes. Campbell became a leader in that circle after Jung became older and withdrew from active participation. Campbell made notable presentations at the gatherings and edited six volumes of papers from the Eranos Conferences.
Campbell drew on many great theorists. His sense of the universality of mythic ideas came from Adolf Bastian, who noted how local folk ideas finally give way to deeper elementary ideas. These essential themes and images are similar to Jung's descriptions of archetypes and the collective unconscious. So, even though Campbell used ideas from many sources other than Jung, he was a significant figure in Jungian circles. Again, I would emphasize that of the psychological theorists from whom Campbell drew, Jung was by far the most important.
The journey through the stages of life contains many lessons. One of them is that certainty is an illusory goal. Through humbling experiences, life seems to instruct us to be flexible and to loosen the demand for control and absolute answers. What Campbell was saying was that we need to get past the quest for defining the meaning of life in a few clear phrases. Final, ultimate answers to the big questions are ephemeral. His advice is similar to Rilke's comment that we should live in the questions and perhaps someday we will grow into the answers. It is a more fluid approach.
Campbell advocates an engagement with life so intense that you would experience "the radiance of being alive." This involves a level of connection physically, emotionally, and mentally that is so rich as to feel like oneness with the flow of life. The experience is so profound that it resolves the yearning. It is not something that can be translated into a creed or a code. It is a direct experience."
Myths provide guidance for difficult times. They can offer encouragement as we struggle to survive horrendous ordeals.
Campbell's life was a passionate intellectual journey. Graduate study in the Holy Grail legends of Arthurian mythology took him to Paris and Munich where he discovered the ideas of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung as well as James Joyce, Thomas Mann and modern art. This is when he saw the parallels...