My often lengthy discussions about the importance of Star Wars in the future of our world is not rooted in escapism fandom or a simple love for fantasy fiction—but in the understanding of what eludes many about the power of mythology. Many years ago I read what has been one of the most important books I have ever read titled The Hero With A Thousand Faces. It is a book that is filled to the brim with truths hidden to civilization over thousands of years. The book is the explosive result of Joseph Campbell’s foundation study of comparative mythology and religion. Anyone who has come to know anything knows that all things about human culture begin with those two issues. Politics, economics, art, science—virtually everything begins with religion and a culture’s mythology. When an enemy of any people wish to destroy another culture they most effectively do it not with bombs and chemical weapons of mass death—they do it by destroying the culture of those people. As I look around America, I see clearly that the culture of America is under attack, so I look toward mythology to make the repairs and that is when Star Wars comes into play for me. The video below is about an hour and a half long and is well worth watching if it has not yet been seen. It explains much about Star Wars and Joseph Campbell’s influence on the creation of that modern mythology and shows how important a simple story can be to the unification, and strength of a mature culture.
In that video it should be noted that popular personalities and government officials ranging from Newt Gingrich to Nancy Pelosi weighed in on the importance of Star Wars to human culture so it cannot be minimized how important mythology is to American culture. There is a love and understanding for myth that goes well beyond the reach of political theory even though Newt Gingrich is a conservative and Nancy Pelosi is a bra burning progressive. The differences in their opinions on social matters are in faulty interpretations ultimately of world mythology and the lessons they have to tell society at large.
I spent a good number of years in the Joseph Campbell Foundation during the 1990’s and to this day I treasure it as an organization. Without them, many of Joseph Campbell’s literary works would not have received the kind of attention they have under the Foundation’s leadership, and they owe a lot to the work that George Lucas has done behind the scenes in his pursuits of Lucas Learning and Edutopia to give them the fuel to start the organization as it appears today. When George Lucas brought in Bill Moyers to Skywalker Ranch to sit down with Joseph Campbell in the last year of Joe’s life and talk about The Power of Myth, Lucas once again changed mankind for the better. (Please do yourself a favor and watch this whole clip) The rest of the series is available at The Joseph Campbell Foundation website. They are fantastic videos.
When I gush over the cultural impact of a new MMO like Star Wars: The Old Republic it is because of conversations that I was involved in during the 90’s that intended to carry mythological studies into education using new technology, and I am excited about the results so far—which look to only improve in the years to come. The ability to participate in an interactive mythology is very powerful, and is a fantastic education tool. Without question, and I can report this accurately now that my wife and I have been playing The Old Republic for over a month now, that there are people on that game that know more about the fictional galactic history of Star Wars than they do their own history—which is both good and bad. Bad because the history is not real, but good because it proves how effective Star Wars has been in unlocking the human brain to higher possibilities through the power of myth. CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW.
The difficulty is when the various translations of Joseph Campbell’s work come into play—and why I am no longer an active member—even though I support their endeavors enthusiastically. Progressive minded people in the entertainment industry have misread Joseph Campbell’s studies of India, of the various Asian cultures and have denigrated them into various forms of collectivism. Joseph Campbell during his time in the 1930’s to the 1980’s was going against the grain of communism and was able to pinpoint the key to all successful mythology—the pursuit of individual bliss. Sprinkled throughout Joseph Campbell’s intensive intellectual works is the struggle to marry the social collectivism that permeates all the world’s societies from the very first Neanderthal with the very intense desire of individuals to follow their own path through life. Political progressives find themselves unable to completely understand the messages of individualism that Campbell uncovered through his studies and instead fixate on the studies of collectivism themselves missing the value of the myths in the exchange.
For me even though I saw tremendous value in the individuals who carried on the name of The Joseph Campbell Foundation, I had a falling out with them at a conference in Washington D.C. that I have spoke about elsewhere in greater detail. The short part of the story was that I realized that the key people had missed the message of Joseph Campbell and where instructing others incorrectly. This included Joe’s wife Jean whom was a lovely little old lady my wife, kids and I meant in a downtown D.C. hotel suite. When I attended the big meeting at the weekend long event and met several of the people from all over the country who worked in entertainment, politics, upper education, publishing, and literature, I quickly learned that collectivism had hidden the most important aspects of Joseph Campbell’s teachings from them. People like Susan Sarandon understood on an intellectual level what Campbell was teaching, but her social application of that teaching was lost to her innate static patterns of learned behavior. Many of these people are good people who have a limited ability to translate what they learn from comparative mythology because the very fabric of their lives are built around either progressive or conservative politics. So when they act as heroes of action in their own existences, they end up being the kind of people who was warned about in the old Navaho story about the Twin War Gods. They are the village soothsayers who warned the Twin War Gods not to go East to search for their father and help them defeat the monster that were attacking them because nobody knew what laid to the East. West, North and South had been adequately explored and was also seen to be the direction that the attacking monsters came from, so the village told the Twin Gods to search for their father in those known locations. But the Twin Gods go North anyway because it is society that is in trouble, and they are not equipped mentally to provide advice, so the answers must come from those areas most unknown.
This is where America finds itself in 2013. Progressives advocate searching for life’s answers in the South, Conservatives in the West, Libertarians in the North, but the answer is in the East–in the undiscovered country of which America’s Founding Fathers began to knock on the door and map out. The answer must come to individuals, not collectivists. It is only in the bliss of every individual that the collective society most prospers, and that is the heart of everything that Joseph Campbell taught. It is a most elusive trait to understand even for people who spend their entire lives reading and dedicating their lives to publishing the work of Joseph Campbell. During the span of all of human history mythology has searched for this elusive truth and it has not been until the mythology of Star Wars that any story has been so successful in reaching not just regional audiences around a campfire in Kenya, or the Plains Indians of South Dakota, but all cultures at the same time. Star Wars is the first of its kind to look for the answers in the North and take the minds of mankind into the undiscovered plain of reality where individualism for the first time in human history is shown to be the savor for the collective whole—not the other way around.
This is why Star Wars is so important and why the study of mythology is more important than even the study of physics, medicine, or mathematics. Without a proper mythology a society degrades quickly into a formless blob. This is also why Star Wars is about to hit a critical mass that will transform society in ways that nobody can yet see coming—except the very, very few who understand the work of Joseph Campbell and the first comprehensive study of 100,000 years of human evolution done in the history of mankind. It all starts with the very great book, The Hero With A Thousand Faces published in 1949.
As for the people at the Joseph Campbell Foundation, I love those people. They may have found my interpretations of Joseph Campbell destructive to their personal philosophies, but they’ll get over it once they learn for themselves the truth on their own blissful journeys through their individual lives. The members as they were in the 90’s I’m sure are not the same as the people who run it now. They are some of the closest people on earth to being enlightened individuals who actually are beginning to understand some of these difficult concepts, so I forgive a lot to those who actively try. You can learn more about them at their website seen below:
And now, another video. Please do watch all these fully. They are important.
If you’d like to participate in one of the Round Tables as seen in the video above, then visit JCF’s Mythological RoundTable® Home Pages to find a group near you; contact the organizer and find out when the next meeting will be.
Philosophy of Religion
January 29, 2013
|New York, NY
February 20, 2013
|Berlin (2), Germany
Die Kraft der Mythen (III)
The Seven Basic Plots
February 21, 2013
|Dublin (at Mythic Links), Ireland
Power of Myth & Hero’s Journey
January 31, 2013
|Berlin (1) Germany
Myth & Meaning
February 22, 2013
“Love & the Goddess” (from Power of Myth)
February 5, 2013
Lernen durch Mythen
February 27, 2013
|San Clemente, CA
February 8, 2013
|Laguna Beach/Dana Point, CA
February 27, 2013
Flower Sun: The New Mesoamerican Era (with Francisco X. Alarcon)
February 9, 2013
|Berlin (2), Gerrmany
Missbrauchte Mythen und ihre Folgen
February 27, 2013
|Granja Viana, Brazil
The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology
“The Goddess Age”
February 16, 2013
|Dublin (at Mythic Links), Ireland
The Heroine’s Journey in Irish Mythology
February 28, 2013
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