The Roots of the Liberal God-King Sacrifice and their Emergence into the Modern Democrat Party

There is another aspect to the whole ancient sacrifice notions that find themselves into modern politics, which I have previously described regarding abortion. The notion that the masses have more understanding about the nature of universal knowledge than the powerful individual who may gain illumination above and beyond the population to deliver boons contributing to social growth goes back a long way and in the book by Duarte Barbosa titled A Description of the Coasts of East Africa and Malabar in the Beginning of the Sixteenth Century told the story quite graphically. It was there, as in most places around the world at the start of the ancient city states, particularly around the equatorial zones where agriculture had replaced the need for hunting that the belief was most prevalent. We hear the same primal understanding in the relatively modern work of Karl Marx and the followers of socialism. The cult of killing a king or powerful administrator is an old one and those ancient people of course tied the need to the celestial bodies and their astrological occurrences. But you can see the same attitude attempting to emerge in the 21st century with the rise of Donald Trump, out of a capitalist American culture colliding with the heathens of the earth and their ancient superstitions.

I find it odd that these things aren’t talked about more often, I read Barbosa’s book quite some time ago after Joseph Campbell’s Primitive Mythology covered it in that famous 1959 book. Ironically as much information is available to us in the modern time, with the internet and Amazon mass book store just a key click away, much of this information is lost to, which makes any reader wonder what else has been lost to the deeper reaches of time. The politics of our modern age seems almost aware of its own role in this vast conspiracy, that the same ignorant mind that mandated the 12 year cycles of their god-kings in Malabar are the same fools demanding the impeachment of Donald Trump—a commitment to yielding to the laws of the universe before mankind starts to believe that it is in the driver’s seat of its own existence. That is after all why the sacrifices in the early city states killed off their kings, because they believed it was necessary to yield to the forces of existence and that belief is still quite common 5000 years later in 2019.

This account is from Campbell’s Primitive Mythology which is easy to find and starts on page 165. The god-king of the south Indian province of Quilacare in Malabar (an area having a strongly matriarchal tradition to this day) had to sacrifice himself at the end of the length of time required by the planet Jupiter for a circuit of the zodiac and return to its moment of retrograde motion in the sign of Cancer—which is to say, twelve years. When his time came, the king had a wooden scaffolding constructed and spread over with hangings-of-silk. And when he had ritually bathed in a tank, with great ceremonies and to the sound of music, he proceeded to the temple, where he paid worship to the divinity. Then he mounted the scaffolding and before the people, took some very sharp knives and began to cut off parts of his body-nose, ears, lips, and all his members, and as much of his flesh as he was able—throwing them away and round about, until so much of his blood was spilled that he began to faint, whereupon he slit his throat. And of course, everyone lived happily ever after—or so they thought. And who was it that came up with all this idiocy? The mother goddess complex of those same cultures which was trying to negotiate their life-giving ability with the nature of the universe, which gives birth then devours us all into death. To the primitive and ignorant, such a conclusion might make sense. But to us in these modern times, it’s just stupid. Yet we still have elements of these mental illnesses in our modern political movements, especially among Democrats in America, and liberals around the world. Go to Malabar today and the same beliefs are very close to their minds. No wonder they vote themselves under the rule of socialism and communism. They just don’t know any better.

Behind all notions of liberalism is the fearful understanding that they as individuals lack the courage to face the realities of the universe, the life and death nature of all existence. They observed the realities of their time and reacted to it with the creation of religions and mythologies. Regarding conservatives however, and particularly the type of individuals that Greek epics began to contemplate and eventually Ayn Rand captured in literature is the notion of the overman. The filmmaker Stanley Kubrick understood how the pieces fit together when he used Richard Strauss’ music “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”—based on the work by Friedrich Nietzsche of the same name, to open his film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Mankind had reached beyond the limits of the earth and was starting to evolve beyond their own nature, or–which is the theme of the popular History Channel show, Ancient Aliens, returning to where we started. But never-the-less, the impulse to individual action and overcoming the elements of nature is deep within us and emerges in the development of our specific minds. But for those imprisoned in close group collaborations where the weakest link hemorrhages positive thought development for all, all they can know to do is kill like the universe does.

But actually, the way liberals and their ancient city-state sacrifices thought was all wrong. The true nature of life is that we cast thousands of sperms at the egg of a possible child but only one makes it. And so it is in our emphasis as conservatives of individuals, you never know who might invent the next airplane, computer, or technical breakthrough. It might be any one of us, or any of our neighbors, or their friends and we should not get in their way as a culture, but help them any way possible to achieve their hopes and dreams, because that is how society advances and how perhaps we can divorce ourselves of the universal laws of life and death or to put it Biblically, the Tree of Knowledge as opposed to the knowledge of good and evil. I would argue that the birth of western civilization was the questioning of this schizophrenic notion not first in the Bible but in Zoroastrian understanding which predated it for which Nietzsche’s Zarathustra character was born.

So when you watch the news dear reader and see that President Trump has been very successful yet virtually everyone is calling for his head and their expectation that he like his predecessors might metaphorically sacrifice himself to the whims of the stupid and illiterate, that great anger would persist. Instead we get a god-king who likes the role and is doing it well. To hell with the sacrificial nature of it. After all, isn’t that what the media wants, they want fallibility, they want to know that the President can be consumed and destroyed, and they want to know that he would be willing to do it for the sake of humanity, before his head became too consumed with its own power to no longer need the constraints of superstition to keep it in check? Yes, that is the essence of it all and the truth of our times, and why we can’t all live together. Only one way of thinking will survive into the future, the question is will it be a step backwards or forwards. We can’t have it both ways and in the context of history, we know where backwards goes, because we’ve been there before and didn’t like it.

Rich Hoffman

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A Trip to Denny’s For Han Solo Merchendise: Why all the fuss?

It wasn’t just this that we did for my 50th birthday this past week, my family did a lot of things for me to show how much they appreciate me. But when they asked me what I wanted to do, I said that I wanted to find a Denny’s near our home so I could get a Millennium Falcon cup from the new movie Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the new Topps collecting cards that you can only get at the promotional event that they are doing at most Denny’s restaurants. And I wasn’t kidding about it. If we were planning to do a dinner for my birthday and go out somewhere anyway, I wanted to do something fun that I’d like, and could share with my kids and grandkids. After all, we all like Star Wars. I always used it in the way it was intended, as a modern mythology that had embedded in those kid’s films an essential epistemology in regard to philosophy that is needed in this fast-moving world, so one of my daughters found a nice one about an hour and a half outside of downtown Cincinnati, just outside the city limits of Indianapolis, Indiana. Han Solo was always my favorite character from the Star Wars movies so it was fun to make the Denny’s promotion a fun birthday event that everyone could enjoy. As an added benefit Disney had released the last trailer before the new movie opens on May 25th, just over a month from this writing so it made for an interesting birthday dinner at Denny’s. We didn’t hold back on the Solo merchandise!

I think Alden Ehrenreich will do a great job playing Han Solo as a younger man, a tough job to take over from one of the most iconic film roles Harrison Ford brought to life. It’s a tough job that everyone has in their head differently, so no matter what Ehrenreich does, someone isn’t going to like it. But, from what I’ve seen, the kid gets it—and that’s all that matters. It works for me and I hope it leads to a lot more Han Solo in movies that take place before the events of episode 4. I like the new pointy nose on the Millennium Falcon, I like the idea of new Star Wars music about to be released. I love the DLCs that will be downloaded on Star Wars: Battlefront 2. I love all the toys being released for the movie, its more generational stuff to share with my grandchildren for which all this is new to them so they are having fun with it for the first time. I see it all as very positive and it generally puts a smile on my face to have a new Han Solo movie because that character represents everything I love about Star Wars.

Of course, part of what makes 50th birthday celebrations what they are is in the reflection that you have about your life up to that moment and what might be ahead. For many it’s a time when they look at their life and consider that their best days are behind them. But not me. I have had a lot of very good days and I am sure there are a lot more ahead of me, and the Denny’s meal day was surprisingly fulfilling, not just from the Han Solo gear, but I enjoyed eating Denny’s food again after not having it for over 25 years. Denny’s was one of those places I used to go because they were open all night where I’d go to read after I’d get off work from my second shift jobs. When I was young and worked two fulltime jobs to make ends meet and our house was too small to leave a light on otherwise it would wake up the whole house at night, I’d read my books at all night restaurants like Waffle House, Perkins and Denny’s to make myself tired enough to wind down for bed. After a good meal and about 10 refills of a Coke at 2 am I’d go home and sleep for three or four hours and do it all again at the crack of dawn. Somewhere over that 25-year span Denny’s left the Cincinnati area so it was fun to have it again on my birthday. It was even more fun to have a Star Wars inspired menu with the new Han Solo on the cover. I had the “Two Moons Skillet” which was Heaven on earth for me.

All this of course led me to consider how much Star Wars had evolved over time and what role it plays in a modern sense. I’ve written many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of words as to what Star Wars means culturally, but I think I’ve been leaving out the epistemological definition in referring to it. After all, I write about some pretty serious subjects most of the time, so when I switch gears and do these Star Wars articles, to some it seems out of character, but to me it all runs together. It’s relevant to the missile attacks of Syria this past weekend, the teacher strikes in Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arizona, the opioid epidemic—just about every topic one might consider can be traced back to the epistemological failures of modern society—and Star Wars was created, and does a good job of maintaining it for children a basic epistemology of values that are designed for modern life. The world is otherwise very confused, their religious values are all over the map, politically we have factions that want to take mankind back to a theology while others are wanting to plant flags into anarchy, democracy and those who presently have power want to keep everything in an aristocracy. We are moving to space as a species while the political powers in office want to cling to mother earth and environmental concerns because that is how their power bases were established—on earth with earthly rules. The truly wonderful thing about Star Wars is that it takes all the value of the world’s mythology and applies it into a modern context, which is why kids, and kids at heart love it so much. It’s a much different thing than other pop culture rituals. This one is actually very healthy for modern human beings. It’s meant for kids, but it works for adults too in very meaningful ways.

When I was in grade school showing a love for Star Wars was extremely taboo. I make no attempt to hide my contempt for the way public school operates—I often say that public school is like using a public restroom or a drinking fountain. Yeah, it does the basics, but not very well. In public school, too many people establish their basic epistemological essence in those public institutions because they don’t have reliable families at home to help them, or other positive influences. The school becomes the basic foundation for that while it was quite clear that George Lucas was intent to provide a competing epistemology for young people, so the pubic school system rejected the competition instead of embracing it, the way they should have. However, I was never one who backed down from a fight—never one day in my life. The more kids made fun of me for wearing my favorite Han Solo t-shirts to school, the more I did it, and my love for Star Wars actually got me into a lot of trouble. It’s not like that today, kids can show their enjoyment of such things without getting into fights over it, and that is actually some real progress. Concerning education, I see that Star Wars has given many people who missing epistemology that they should have been getting from school, or their families and the stories are keeping pace with the concerns of our modern age that is coming at us much faster than ever. It’s really the only thing that is—which to me makes it extremely important culturally.

One of my many hobbies is the study of world cultures and religions. It doesn’t pay much money otherwise I’d do that task fulltime because as I say here often, mythology is my favorite topic. I could talk about world culture all day long and what the pros and cons are. You can often read in hindsight why cultures failed if you know the details and why that’s important is so that you can prevent it in your own culture. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about the American Indian or Roman and Greek societies, you can see through the gifts of historical hindsight why they all failed, and I apply those lessons daily with the millions and millions of words I have provided for free to my readers—because I don’t want to see people fail. Professionally, I don’t have to read in a Denny’s at 2 AM anymore because the lights in the house keep everyone awake. I’m doing well at age 50, as is expected given my role in our family, and my community. So I don’t mind sharing things I love in writing and mythology if it might improve the life of one person—let alone helping many people. The human race in spite of all the faults we could list off for hours on end is actually plotting into positive uncharted territories for the first time in history and it is really only the epistemological values of Star Wars that are successfully preparing the minds of our modern age with the intellectual means to deal with everything in a positive way.

This morning I was at the Target department store near my house shopping for Han Solo toys and I couldn’t help but notice that The Last Jedi just hit the shelves from its Blue-Ray release, and here we are talking about another Star Wars movie being released in a month. The cultural values of the last Star Wars movie are still simmering, Lego hasn’t even put out their video game yet for The Last Jedi. And there are lots of beach towels and clothing out for consumers to enjoy and all this is happening as Space X and Virgin Galactic are taking over the civilian colonization of space and Amazon is delivering packages within hours of ordering from virtually anywhere in the world. Artificial intelligence is taking over as the new rudimentary task supplier in a rapidly expanding economy where there simply aren’t enough workers in the world to do all the jobs coming available. I’m not kidding when I say Alexia could take over the teaching profession. With a second Star Wars moving coming out and all that comes with it culturally, it will be interesting to see what happens. And that’s not all, there are at least eight more Star Wars movies in development right now, along with Star Wars television, video games, books, music and so many other items. What impact that has on the human race I think is a fascinating topic on the epistemological level of consciousness.

As I was paying the check at Denny’s it was a big one, and many of the Indiana farmers looked at me a little side-eyed. My oldest grandson and I were very openly showing our excitement at getting the Han Solo card in the stack I bought. I of course was hoping to get that particular entry. Those are the same kind of people who used to make fun of my Han Solo shirts on the school bus—they didn’t understand what all the fuss was about and thought I should be thinking about something more—real. But little did they know, or little did they know that day in Denny’s that what I was excited about was more real than just about anything they were considering and Han Solo has always best exemplified my excitement for it—the optimism of what is always potentially just around the corner. Han Solo is a very positive character who believes he can get out of anything he gets into under any circumstances and in so many ways, he represents the current position of mankind on planet earth in the early parts of the 21st century. That makes these movies more important than just an entertainment option. Even more than that, it made for me a really fun birthday!

Rich Hoffman

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Disney’s Fantasy Island: Where imagination intersects with reality to create mythology

I have been just a little enamored by all the news coming out of D23 in Anaheim, California over the weekend of 7/14–7/16.  I know many of my readers come here looking for political commentary, or uplifting insight into some complicated matter, but for anyone who knows me; the key to living that I find most valuable is mythology.  I credit the great Joseph Campbell as being the only teacher I ever really found valuable as I spent much of my youth digesting his vast work in the realm of mythology.  And in the modern sense, Star Wars is the greatest realization of modern myth that there is.  To the extent that Star Wars can expand the imagination of the human race is something I find infinitely valuable and is important if we look out beyond the limits of our present political entanglements. Even in the realm of education, Star Wars is changing the game and now under Disney’s guidance the results to me are mind bending—as was revealed by the entertainment company at their D23 Expo.

When I was a kid there was a popular television show called Fantasy Island that came on Saturday nights and I enjoyed it immensely. The premise was that whatever fantasy a visitor might have they could visit Fantasy Island and live it out only to learn some life lesson by the end of their trip that was important to their return to the regular world.  Well, Disney with all their resources are using the mythology of Star Wars to create their own version of a real “Fantasy Island” at Hollywood Studios with an exhibit they are calling now “Galaxy’s Edge” which is a fully immersive Star Wars land designed to take the theme park experience to the next level.  I wrote about that the other day, click here to review.  But in addition to that they are opening a Star Wars resort which is a completely immersive “fantasy island type of experience where you actually will be a part of a Star Wars story which I think is phenomenal on many levels as these videos will reveal.

Many years ago as I was one of the core members of The Joseph Campbell Foundation invited to Washington D.C. by Campbell’s wife Jean and a few other people who were very close to George Lucas who at that time was a board of director member—to review a very special Star Wars exhibit at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.  It was a big event and we had the VIP experience of getting there first before it was opened to the public.  So I took my kids because I knew it would be important in their lives.  And they never forgot it—and neither did I.  It was an experience that bonded us all very tightly—and that is what a good mythology can do.  You should never get lost in some fantasy and avoid living life, but I often say that Star Wars to me is like a vacation that I take in my mind.  I’m always thinking about very intense things and get myself into very stressful acts—and Star Wars in the form of some video game, book, or movie puts ideas onto a place where I can see them differently and usually solve problems by changing the perspective a bit.  For instance I’m currently very excited for the release of Battlefront II.  When it comes out I’ll probably spend a month playing it very diligently because it helps me manage very complex real life situations through the problem solving that you get while playing acting in battlefield strategies and war-time scenarios set in a Star Wars context.  I thought that these Battlefront games from Electronic Arts were the ultimate first person Star Wars experience.  Until this year’s D23—a Star Wars resort with a new land within Hollywood Studios called Galaxy’s Edge.  Compared to when I took my kids to the Star Wars exhibit at the Smithsonian in 1997 as a proud member of the Joseph Campbell Foundation from the perspective of a “mythology insider,” what Disney is doing is incredible, and I’m a big fan of it.

But that wasn’t all.  Over the past year I mentioned that I bought a Playstation VR device essentially so I could play the Battlefront Star Wars VR mission that came out on it over the previous Christmas.  It was to me a jaw-dropping experience and it has been a feature attraction to anybody who has come to my home over the last 6 months. The ability to fly an X-Wing Fighter into combat in and around a Star Destroyer was incredibly well done and if that was the extent of it I would be forever impressed.  But now a company called Lenovo has teamed up with Disney to create what is called an “augmented reality” experience meaning that you can see reality as you normally would only with a special headset new things can be introduced to it.  In this case you can embark on Jedi light saber training and play the Holo Chess that was so popular in the Star Wars films with this “augmented reality.”  That brings the experience of Star Wars and its mythology even more to the private world of the home environment.   Mythology is driving technology in ways that are then coming back to the personal experience of living the power of myth.   I will certainly be getting the new “augmented reality” headset by Lenovo as soon as it hits Best Buy likely this fall.

But this home technology only hints at what a company like Disney can do at these theme parks now to provide that truly Fantasy Island experience for their guests.  Star Wars is a powerful mythology.  On the surface it’s for kids, but the themes it contains are very primal and communicate with people in ways that nothing else currently does.   For adults Las Vegas has created some of that Fantasy Island mystic, but it doesn’t contain enough mythology to be a truly beneficial experience.  You get the sights and sounds of some fantasy thought, but not the problem solving that comes with experiencing an “augmented reality.”  I typically read a lot which works for me, but most people don’t take time for that kind of experience and the mind does get fatigued if it is not fed a steady dose of imagination.  A mind filled with imaginative elements whether from a fantasy situation or just from stimuli works better than a mind weighed down with the weights of reality.  Mythology helps people think bigger about things and that is a truly beneficial service.   But the ability to move directly into a mythic circumstance is truly revolutionary.  It is a real Fantasy Island type of experience and I think it will have vast importance over the coming decade culturally.

I knew when Universal Studios opened up that Harry Potter experience in their Florida parks that we were moving into a new kind of mythic experience.  And I knew that Disney would have an answer.  But I didn’t think it would be possible to be this cool.  What is happening is far exceeding my expectations and the possibilities are obvious.  I remember all too well how powerful Star Wars was to me and my family when these new options were not available.  What they will do to the mind of the up and coming to me is truly mind-blowing with benefits.  And I’m very excited to see more.  I was looking forward for quite a number of months to see what this year’s D23 would reveal.  What they showed was far more than I anticipated which is hard to do.  That leaves an astounding thought, what will be next?

Rich Hoffman

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The Millennium Falcon is my Thing: Wonderful news from Disney’s D23 Expo

Stunning is all I have to say about the news out of Disney regarding Star Wars.  Everyone who reads here and knows me understands that I am a Star Wars fan.  They know that my primary love in life is that of mythology and the power of it.  That one of my great personal teachers was the maverick professor at Sarah Lawrence College—Joseph Campbell and that I spent many of my formative years associating with the Joseph Campbell Foundation of which George Lucas was one of the Board of Directors.  And I have said on many occasions that I think the new Star Wars films, and all the books and media that will follow will reshape our modern culture not only regionally, but globally. There is tremendous power in Star Wars and Disney’s marketing machine will only accentuate that in glorious ways that only capitalism can fully extract.  The news around the upcoming film The Force Awakens is exciting.  But that’s not all, a whole slate of new films following that one are upcoming.  All the mythology that the previous six Star Wars films have produced over the last 30 years will soon be eclipsed by the six new films in the pipeline produced over the next six years.  And supporting those will be all new novels, video games, commercial products but best of all a new Star Wars land at the Disney parks.  Click here to read some of my previous work on this topic.  I predicted this a long time ago in a galaxy not so far away. 

For me the biggest news of this century which has stirred in me a delight that is quite epic is the information that not only will Disney build a 14 acre Star Wars specific land in both the Anaheim location and Orlando location, but that a full-sized Millennium Falcon will be present.  That is a game changer in these films that I have been wanting to see my entire life.  And now I’m going to get to see it.   At the D23 Expo over this last weekend Bob Iger released the details and showed the concept art and that just did it for me.  I have been in love with the Millennium Falcon since I was very young and it may actually be stronger today than even when I was a kid because not only through the movies, but the many novels, I have spent a lot of time on that ship in my head—and I completely understand the world it traverses through.  I am very happy that Disney as a company has done precisely what I said they would do with the Star Wars acquisition when they first bought it in 2012 and at the heart of it they intend to keep the Millennium Falcon a central character to the entire saga.

Honestly if Jesus Christ came again to judge the living and the dead on judgment day and I had a chance to attend that or to go see the Millennium Falcon in real life, I would choose the Falcon.  I am pretty stoic when it comes to controlling my emotions.  I don’t get crazy about many things—especially sad things. But I do allow myself to feel elation over positive things, and I really don’t know how I will handle seeing a Millennium Falcon in real life—seriously.  When the place opens I may take a week of vacation just to reside in that land day after day soaking up everything—because I love the Star Wars mythology from top to bottom—and within that world I have a love of the Millennium Falcon that is central to that passion.  Still to this day, out of all the successes and experiences I’ve had—which are quite extraordinary, things I’ve won and achieved—one of the best memories I have ever had was seeing the real life model of the Millennium Falcon in the Smithsonian in 1997.  I really felt when I put my hands against the glass that I had died and gone to heaven.  It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever put my eyes on.  Given that context I really don’t know how I’ll react to seeing a model of the Falcon in full-scale that I can walk up to and see close.

Han Solo is the modern embodiment of the classic western cowboy.  His quick draw pistol is famous within the Star Wars storyline and his super fast Millennium Falcon gives a tip of the hat to two film genres, the classic car hot rod and a gun fighting cowboy.  Those two things are just impossible not to like—and to top that off, the Falcon was a pirate ship within that galaxy—so I’m not the only one who finds the Millennium Falcon appealing.  I was amazed to see Harrison Ford on stage at D23, and that it was Han Solo who made the cut on the new poster for The Force Awakens.  There will be a new film about specifically Han Solo as a young 20 something that will be exciting, so there is a lot of news coming from Disney to be excited about for—particularly for Millennium Falcon fans.  I know how I feel about all this information, so I can’t help but think of the scientific implications of it.

As recently as last week I was thinking of a way to build a real Millennium Falcon as a real usable space vessel moving to and from earth to explore the reaches of space.  I really don’t think we are that far away, and one design with sentimental value is as good as any other.  The Falcon offers a lot of options for deep space travel particularly in its circular design.  A change of scenery is important when spending a lot of time in space, and the Falcon is cleverly designed for just such an experience.

Also announced at D23 was the new photo for Rogue One which showed Felicity Jones as the main actress standing among a group of daredevils and hackers about to steal the Death Star plans leading up to the original Star Wars film,  A New Hope.  As I looked at that I couldn’t help but wonder if she wasn’t playing Bria Tharen who was one of Han Solo’s girl friends from the Expanded Universe.  If she was her back story could easily be a part of the stand alone Han Solo film coming on May 25th 2018.  I’m already in line!  Likely being that young, Han Solo wouldn’t yet have the Millennium Falcon, but I’m sure it will make an appearance in that film as the ship owned by Lando Calrissian.   It is obvious that Disney, knowing the popularity of the vessel is finding ways to put it in most of the new Star Wars films in some support role or another.  There will also be a Boba Fett film and in that story I’m sure he will be chasing around a younger Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon—so there is a theme emerging that is quite justifiable in placing a full-sized Falcon in the center of the new Star Wars land at Disney.

Knowing the effect the Falcon has had on me I shudder to think of what effect it will have on a new generation who can actually walk up and touch it.  I got goose bumps the first time I saw new footage of the Falcon in a hangar on the Star Tours ride in Orlando.  Part of the ride flies off behind the popular vessel in a dog fight and I was blasted with excitement in just seeing it sit there.  For my birthday this year we went to Dave & Busters just so I could fly the Falcon in the video game there exclusive to the popular gaming destination.  But these are all images that take imagination to enjoy.  They are not something you can put your hands on and feel.  Disney is now taking that step and I am emphatically excited about it.  I think the influence it will have on science for years to come will be extraordinary.  These new films will open up the mythology in ways that nobody thought was possible before and the effect they will have on civilization will be extremely powerful.  Being able to reach out and touch it will just make it that much more influential as a mythic device.  So yes, there is a lot of good news floating around out there.  But for me, nothing is more exciting than the D23 news coming out of Disney.  I would pay $100,000 just to see an actual movie prop of the Falcon on set.  I would spend unknown amounts to see one all dressed up at Disney World.  The Millennium Falcon is my thing—and I share that with a lot of other enthusiasts. It was probably the best thing that Disney could have done with Star Wars—and they are just getting started.  I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Rich Hoffman


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Why Individualism is not Selfish: Refuting critics of Ayn Rand with the work of Joseph Campbell

Watching the below segment of The Daily Show featuring a question intended to be sarcastic regarding Ayn Rand it came to my mind that its time to make a legitimate argument against the general sentiment of today’s average political centralist, and Democrat. The segment attacked Ayn Rand’s philosophy in favor of self-interest over altruism by placing candidates running for president currently in alignment with the work of the controversial writer as a way to indirectly associate them as representatives of meanness. Politics in 2015 have been moved so far to the political left after over 100 years in argument in favor of altruism and collectivism, that today’s centralist would have been considered a radical left-winger in yesterday’s world—the world where America produced the Greatest Generation. So it is clearly time to re-evaluate the situation as Ayn Rand’s work was created on the heels of the greatest generation as the radical communists and extreme leftists were making themselves known—which today is the new standard. People are so confused as to what the proper behavior is for their society, that they no longer know what is up, down, left or right. They only react to the feelings and temperament of contemporary society shaped by years of chaos and wrecked philosophy.

The biggest attack against Ayn Rand is her philosophy which features a priority on self-interest. For generations of people raised within strict religious leanings featuring altruism as a sign of goodness, and a political system built on wealth-redistribution backing their inner mentality shaped by those same religious motivations the question has failed to be asked or answered as to whether or not we should help the poor and destitute. The comment was simply made that we should because it’s good—but good was never properly defined—so a valueless assumption was required to accept the proclamation which then constitutes the typical Democratic voting behavior. There should have been a sought after proven answer framing the cause of what makes people poor to begin with. But there wasn’t, only a kind of primitive belief similar to the tribes of yesteryear who believed that a rain dance would bring rain to their dried up crops. What factors make an individual poor? That is a question that deserves an answer such as why won’t my car start? Well, for the car, it might be a low battery, a bad starter, the car may be out of gas—those types of things. But in essence it makes logical sense—there is a cause and an effect. However, for the poor person, there is no attempt to designate a cause because the assumption is based on faith that some mythical gods have granted advantages to some while denying opportunity to others. While this was true in Medieval Europe, America was an invention to out-grow those limitations driven by philosophy which challenged the previous vantage point of victim hood.

The rest of the world largely driven by philosophies of collectivism, as they had been for millennia the last several thousand years worshipping kings and gods putting the sanctity of their nationality before their individual rights have set the stage for our current dilemmas in politics. America formed with an emphasis on individuality and rights as opposed to sacrifice. The economical means of this nation was capitalism—driven by individual need and desire. In America money was created not dispatched to the population through a top down hierarchy from kings and a ruling class. The rest of planet earth functioned from classic collectivism whereas America was experimenting with a practice specific to individual value using money as a measurement of productive enterprise. In Europe, Russia, Africa and the rest of Asia the general philosophy of those regions is that things happen to you due to an ancient belief that some god was in charge and that people were just along for the ride through life. In America, even though it was formed by religious men, they sought to run their nation by rational decisions conducted by men for the higher moral purpose of goodness—and that goodness eventually benefited God. The economical means to measure that goodness was money—because it was the only way to guarantee that good products purchased by individual self-interest would bring to the surface the best and brightest of our society. Capitalism couldn’t prevent people from wanting to cheat and take short cuts to wealth, but generally, a free society is able to reject the services of an organization they deem unworthy—and could vote with their dollars.

Trickle down economics such as what works best in America takes into account that not all people work hard, or are creative, but those who do and are—create opportunities for everyone. Those who take the most risk and have the most skin in the game generally make the most money as opposed to those most highly connected to the political structure of a ruling class. Over time, Washington D.C. has elected themselves the type of power that the ruling classes of Europe still enjoy—and have always benefited from. But those politicians do not represent the essence of America—or the philosophy which emerged from the rapid benefits which exploded from capitalism’s American experiment. That is the reason for the current issues of political corruption and the cries of the people for European style socialism, and communism. Under this corruption, communism has been as attractive to young people as it has been in Europe where peasants have no other means of stepping out of poverty and living equally to the richest of their nation. America has been and continues to be a place where anybody who works hard can brush shoulders with the very rich and powerful. In America classes are not divided as they are in Europe as upper, middle, and lower—they are divided by those who work hard and those who don’t—at least traditionally. Slowly over time as the nation has moved so far to the radical left, more European influence has won the day as opposed to the righteousness of the American experiment.

After witnessing all these elements several writers emerged to chronicle the pros and cons of what had occurred during the first two hundred years of American experience. One of course was Ayn Rand who has run up against the classic opposition such as what was seen in the Daily Show episode—where her announcement that self-interest is what actually leads to morality was considered preposterous viewed through the lens of the classic European progressive model. But another writer whom I think is much more important than Ayn Rand did at the same time much broader work which arrived at essentially the same conclusions by comparing all the mythologies and religions of the world and came up with the now popular term, “Follow your bliss.”

As Ayn Rand was writing The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, Joseph Campbell was writing The Hero with a Thousand Faces. These books were uniquely American and have turned the literary world upside down challenging thousands and thousands of years of human thought. Campbell unlike Rand is much more inclusive in his comparative studies. He has a reverence for many progressive leaders uttering insight from the early 20th century, like Nietzsche, Jung, Joyce, Mann, Steinbeck and many others whom he read incessantly then compared them to his vast encyclopedia of knowledge of the world’s religions. His conclusions were that every individual on the face of planet earth needed to “follow their bliss” meaning their own internal call to living. They had to listen with an individual’s ear to the calls of their own life’s adventures. This was really revolutionary work done by Campbell as he was conducting it during the Red Decade in the presence of extreme left-winged radicals and open communists. Yet he took a path to scholarship that was unique to him and let the facts come in as he analyzed them—and his report was what is likely the most important book of the previous century and so far of the 21st. The Hero with a Thousand Faces explains why Atlas Shrugged is so powerful to so many people.

The Hero of a Thousand Faces would not have been written by a lettered academic at Oxford or any other major institution. Joseph Campbell led a life of unique individuality and his scholarship is a direct product of a very unusual life remarkably free of social strings conducting his thoughts and conclusions. His life’s work essentially became the Star Wars saga which is currently unleashing upon the world brand new updated religions and philosophies. George Lucas himself will declare that he could not have made Star Wars without the influence of Joseph Campbell. In Campbell’s work the individual has much more value over the collective—as described in the Navaho legend of the Twin War Gods who were on a quest to meet their father the Sun. They had to leave their village on a grand adventure as their people were being attacked by monsters. Everyone had tried just about everything and nobody had a solution, so the Twin War Gods had to travel in a direction nobody else had yet tried and endured a number of trial and tribulations to bring the boon of their discovery to their people.

There is no politics in Campbell’s work. His admires include radical leftists like Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead to Bill Moyers from the very left leaning PBS network. Campbell just let the facts speak about the nature of reality, and he was uniquely qualified to surmise the details through stories of this own. It is the clear distinction that Campbell makes through a lifetime of scholarship that it is the individual that moves the world and not the sacrifice of individuals to the collective good. Although sacrifice has been the mode of behavior that has driven most of society, it is the individual following their own unique bliss that brings the boons to society. Society does not bring boons to the individual. It is a fantasy that a collectivist hierarchy can bring joy and wonder to people of differing needs. The best way for people to serve each other is to allow their own lives to live to their own potential for the aims of their individual achievements. By doing that they create things that the rest of the world needs. Joseph Campbell’s outlook is uniquely American, just as Ayn Rand was. Both were authors of works that shook the foundations of thought, and their conclusions are here to stay leaving in their wake the destruction of the old modes of operation. Collectivism and religions of sacrifice are a way of the past that is in quick decline. The Daily Show in their presentation against Rand knows it. That much is evident by the type of people running for president in 2016. On one hand you have the collectivist Hillary Clinton representing the socialists and Democrats, then on the other, at least two candidates directly formed by the freedom loving Tea Party—the type of people who openly love the work of Ayn Rand.

As much as many from the old European world would like to see a continuation of their brand of collectivism, it is writers like Ayn Rand and Joseph Campbell who are shaping the world of tomorrow—and that is why their popularity is increasing while the desire for extremists like Karl Marx is declining. The weak and lazy still look to Marx, but there is no “Following your Bliss” in communism. You do what you are told, and that is not the way to lifetime fulfillment—just stifled misery and suffering due to unlived lives encumbered by sacrifice to speculative assumptions. Capitalism allows individuals to “Follow their Bliss” which is a long storied concept that started for Campbell in the radical troubadours of the High Middle Ages, (1100-1350AD ) from France. They were some of the first to challenge the collectivism of arranged marriages and sacrifice of the self to the many. America inherited from them the concept of courtly love and chivalry which eventually found their way into our western mythology. Before the troubadours marriages were all arranged for the benefits of a collective need and the individual was looked upon as something to be despised, and vanquished out of preservation for the many. But it never worked and never will work because whenever the collective is served values are what is sacrificed, because value is an individual assessment—not a collective one. Once values are sacrificed, a society crumbles into nothing to create the four-part cycle of Giambattista Vico–the age of gods, the age of heroes, the age of man and the age of chaos—more expressively described as theocracy, aristocracy, democracy and anarchy. Joseph Campbell and Ayn Rand proposed to Americans the notion that civilization should get off the circular highway going nowhere in between the aristocracy and democracy portions of that cycle and to emerge independent of collective influence toward an unknown horizon. By action out of each and every person’s “bliss” individuals would then do the job they were created for in the first place—and this is what gives the old world the anger toward Rand that they have—that management of those individual lives does not come from the church, or the political order—but the very essence of the soul encapsulated within every living thing. To grapple with such a thing means that society at large need to understand what a soul is, and how it functions within them. And to find that out, one cannot be told by a parent, a grandparent, a teacher or a lover what it is—you have to find it out for yourself. For the timid and weak, this is a scary prospect. For the brave and valiant—it is the essence of adventure. For society—it is through adventurers that new things come to sustain all life. It is in the timid that all things decay. The timid should not be cast aside, but should follow in the path of the brave toward a destiny their lack of courage would have never allowed them to behold otherwise. And the brave should allow those in their wake to follow their example without robbing them of the treasures of discovery—taken on an individual basis. Not everyone can slay a dragon, or race a car through danger, but everyone can find discoveries under a common rock and a path paved by their own intentions in their own way.

The answer to what makes wealth is found in the adventurer and the cure to the poor is to spark in them the essence of life—and for them to follow their own bliss instead of becoming dependent off a collective society. Once they find themselves dependent on others, they find themselves either poor, or like the classic European peasant—begging for bread and water by the political elites. And among them, there will always be other weaklings like Hillary Clinton who desires the old way of Europe so that meaning to their meaningless lives can have some measure of fulfillment. The way to make the poor into the rich is to get them to follow their bliss—and that is what Ayn Rand’s novels were all about. It is always why collectivists of all sizes and shapes hate her—because they can see within her work the end of their line of thought. But as to the science of why Ayn Rand works, all one need to do is look toward Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Heroes are not collectivists, and they don’t sacrifice themselves aimlessly for the needs of the many unless they discover that it is part of their bliss to do so—a bliss arrived at through their own individuality.

Rich Hoffman


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The Mythic Dimension: Answers from beyond the grave


For a long time I have wanted the pinnacle books in a series written by Joseph Campbell literally until his death in 1987 for many years now. The Historical Atlas of World Mythology books are five of the most all encompassing books on history and mythology collected anywhere by anybody—ever. They are absolutely phenomenal. They were released not long after his death and published by the Joseph Campbell Foundation. I was given book three of the five in 1997 by the Foundation which became one of my greatest treasures. But I was not able to get the rest of the books before they went out of print by the close of the century.

The Historical Atlas of World Mythology is a multi-volume series of books by Joseph Campbell that traces developments in humankind’s mythological symbols and stories from pre-history forward.

Campbell is perhaps best known as a comparativist who focused on universal themes and motifs in human culture. He first conceived of the Historical Atlas in the late 1970s as an extension of his works, The Mythic Image and The Masks of God. Like those books, the Historical Atlas of World Mythology intended to show the ways in which those universal themes and motifs were expressed differently by different cultures in different times and places.

Heavily illustrated and annotated, with numerous charts and maps to show both variations and similarities in different cultures’ expressions of mythic themes, this series was intended to serve both academic and lay readers.

The Historical Atlas was left incomplete when Campbell died in 1987.

Only the first volume was completed at the time of Campbell’s death. Published by Alfred van der Marck editions as a single book in 1983, it was rereleased by Harper and Row in 1988, in the wake of Campbell’s posthumous fame, brought by the airing of the television series, The Power of Myth. The first three parts of the second volume, which Campbell was working on literally to the day that he died, were completed by Campbell’s long-time editor, Robert Walter, and published by Harper and Row in 1989. Both volumes are currently out of print.

Campbell left rough text for the last two parts of Way of the Seeded Earth, as well as notes for the final two volumes. The Joseph Campbell Foundation has expressed the intention to rerelease the existing books, and, if possible, to complete Campbell’s magnum opus.[1]

For Christmas this year my daughter managed to find two of the missing books on Amazon which can cost up to several hundred dollars because they are so rare and hard to get. After receiving them for a present I was able to then find the other two by the same means and complete my collection. The final two books arrived on my doorstep on the first day of the New Year and marks a new phase for which I am about to embark.

We have tried to help as many people as possible, and we’ve done it for not just the five years of this blog site, but for many years prior leading up to it. We have saved all who we could, and these words will now remain out there like a lighthouse to those late coming to the show. But at some point, you have to draw a line, and now it is thus marked. The bus is leaving the station and if you’re not on it, tough luck.

Our society has been successfully destroyed by internal insurgents. Lately, a Facebook war between family members confirmed my thoughts and showed me that if they represent a certain segment of society—which they do, then people are too far gone to help—so it is pointless to continue. The process of rebuilding society has to begin and to do that a firm understanding of who we are where we are going must be understood. For me, the best place to start is in the mythic dimension.

The mythic dimension was written in the opening of the very first book in the series by Campbell shortly before his death and describes how the laws of our human knowledge have been largely governed by Newton and his three dimensions, with the fourth being time and all the stuff we have talked about in great detail here at Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom many times. But there are other dimensions and previous cultures had a relationship with them that we do not have now—and if society is to begin again, it will have to have an understanding of that relationship.

Nothing can help John Boehner, John Kasich, or even Barack Obama now. They are doomed to the status quo and the answers are not in that political realm. So it is time to deal with the answer and not just the problem. To do that will require a lot more different kinds of information. So to put my mind in the right state, I have dusted off a lot of this old Campbell work to meet that need. Receiving those old Atlas books of World Mythology are the culmination of a long time of effort and need given to the current moment. The mythic dimension is where the answers are and they exist in that fifth dimensional brane which runs parallel to our current brane of four-dimensional existence in what is called the “out-back.” It’s a very thin realm of quantum fluctuations where history runs in a kind of free flow existence without the concerns of time, length, width, or height. Older cultures made many religions out their observations of the quantum fluctuations that intersected our brane of reality from that place. And they had an understanding that we have lost in our current time and there is no way to solve the problems of our day without that understanding, because it is directly relevant. You can’t solve hard problems without all the answers intact, and those answers have been taken from our reality and tossed into concealment back into the mythic dimension by modern politics.

So it was wonderful to see the Atlas books by Campbell for the first time in my life all in one place for my use. And of course that use is to uncover the answers hidden in the mythic dimension. Politics, philosophy, and economics are all primary by-products of the mythic dimension so it is pointless to concern ourselves with the fools who reside in the brane of four-dimensional space when there is much more at work that must be dealt with. So to that end, the Historical Atlas of World Mythology by Joseph Campbell as his last work on planet earth will speak to me from beyond the grave—from the mythic dimension where the real keys truly reside. And it is a journey that will be extremely, profitable.

Rich Hoffman

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An Oasis of Mythology: Great treasures in founding my own education

I once had a philosophy professor in college that infuriated me so much that I took a radical right turn into the oblivion of hidden knowledge—which I am grateful for.  Because of that occurrence, I am today able to think at a high level above all competition and connect the dots to topics that might seem totally unrelated.  Much of my own education could be attributed to Joseph Campbell, which partially caused the fight with that college professor—who was a complete idiot.  Because of Campbell I had already moved beyond the philosophy class and into a realm of my own making following the basic advice from Joseph Campbell listed below.  Today I am still affiliated with the foundation which stands in tribute to the late professor of mythology studies from Sarah Lawrence College.   I am passing along some important information from that foundation to my readers here so that they can have access to some of this same material which is a real treasure to me.

My education began actually right out of high school—literally within months and ended about 20 years later.  It started with Joseph Campbell’s own published works—which are extensive.  He was a prolific writer and some of his style can be noticed undeniably by my own to this day, the long paragraphs, the extensive use of commas—the type of writing that comes out sounding like a lecturer talking.  Much of his Masks of God series was written like this—and it irrevocably entered my consciousness in how I present material—both on a written page, and during public speeches.  Like Campbell, I do not use notes when I talk.  Even when I do radio broadcasts it is all from memory because the challenge is to gain that knowledge so that you interact with it, not simply regurgitate it to sound smart.  Because of Campbell I see magic in the toy aisles of Wal-Mart and deep literary sophistication on a restaurant menu—at times.

I spent a solid 10 years from age 18 to 28 reading Campbell’s work incessantly.  I often stayed out all night in 24 hour restaurants eating hamburgers, drinking Cokes and reading Joseph Campbell’s books until the sun appeared in the sky once again from the previous day.  When I finished with those, I read the authors that he always talked about, thinkers like Thomas Mann, James Joyce, and Friedrich Nietzsche.  The list is really too voluminous to include here—but it took me nearly 20 years.   The last ten of that twenty my reading rate had increased to where I could read some of those large and involved books within a few weeks as opposed to months so the speed of completion increased dramatically.  But it all started with Campbell.  Once I completed all of those works—much of it framed the progressive arguments to this very age—and was misread, or not understood by people who simply took college classes and were too lazy to absorb the material properly.  Eventually I was ready for Ayn Rand.  Without Campbell, I may not have enjoyed Rand so much, but because of him, I felt I could properly appreciate the anti institutional stance articulated so strongly in her writing with the follow your bliss teachings Campbell always possessed.  Campbell, even as an intellectual elite from the turn of the 20th century would have been aghast by the proposal of Common Core today—because of its presupposition against the individual needs of a child.

So for those who want to take a similar journey, I am pointing you in the right direction with the information below.  If you are over 50 years of age, fear not. I have friends who are in their 70s and they still read every day.  It keeps their minds sharp and they behave physically like much younger people.  So taking a twenty year journey should not stop you from starting now—even late in life.  For young people cheated out of a proper education by institutionalized public schools and colleges—feel free to start at the sources listed below.  It will point you in the right direction one way or another—just by going through the process of reading.  You can’t go wrong—but must reach those destinations on your own terms.  When it comes to Campbell, he is one of the most preeminent thinkers and scholars of the 20th century and because of the Joseph Campbell Foundation his work lives on to fill the huge gaps left by modern education.  Filling those gaps is the task I am most concerned with—so feel free to begin that journey at the links below from the press release by the JCF—a group I am very grateful to and support with immense enthusiasm.

Reading About Myth

Joseph Campbell observed that one of the best ways to delve deep into any subject is to find an author whose work touches you and read the books that writer read. But, as noted in a recent email to JCF, for those moved by Campbell’s own work it’s a tedious task to search through the footnotes and bibliographies of every book he’s written.

Other correspondents ask about the state of mythology in the post-Campbell era: who are the scholars and authors contributing to the field today, and where can their work be found?

One place to seek the answers is JCF’s online bookstore. Here you’ll find not only all of Joseph Campbell’s titles, but also books by scholars who influenced Campbell, authors Campbell cited, contemporary contributions to the field of mythology aimed at general and academic audiences, and much more.

JCF has added sections on Islamic Studies and Native American Studies under the Contemporary Voices category, and a section on “The Fairy Tale” in the Popular Voices category (you can also find academic studies of folklore and fairy tales under Contemporary Voices). We’ve added several titles to many of the other categories as well.


(“The Fairy Tale” section leads off with Lucy Cooper’s worthy The Element Encyclopedia of Fairies, pictured here. This work, published in the United Kingdom on August 28, will soon be available through to United States residents through the JCF Bookstore—but for now, those who live in England, Scotland, Wales, and the Emerald Isle can click on this image to order Ms. Cooper’s book at Amazon UK).

After clicking on the link to the JCF Bookstore, the menu on the right of each page lists 20 separate categories—”Campbell’s Reading List,” “Sacred Voices,” “Shapers of the Field,” etc.—many with multiple subcategories (e.g. “Ritual Studies,” “Feminine Images in Myth,” “Shamanism,” and more, collected under the broad category of “Contemporary Voices”). This can seem confusing to first-time visitors. Though once you click on a category in the list you’ll find its description at the top of the page, feel free to scroll though the brief rundown below for a sense of what each category contains:

  1. Sacred Voices– collections of myths, folklore, and fairy tales from around the globe (the category at the top of the list will change from time to time).
  2. Campbell’s Published Works
  3. Campbell’s Reading List– titles Campbell assigned in his mythology course at Sarah Lawrence
  4. Edited by Joseph Campbell– includes the brilliant Heinrich Zimmer volumes Campbell completed after Zimmer’s untimely passing
  5. E-Books(those available through Kindle)
  6. Video on Demand(streaming through Amazon)
  7. DVDs– Campbell lectures and interviews, including the Power of Myth
  8. Recorded Lectures– physical CDs now only available through third-party sellers (though all these lectures and more can be downloaded from JCF in our Contributions area)
  9. About Joseph Campbell– books that focus on aspects of Campbell’s personal history, including interviews, journal excerpts, and an extensive biography.
  10. Sources & Inspirations– authors who served as major inspirations in the development of Campbell’s own thought
  11. Shapers of the Field– anthropologists, archaeologists, and classical scholars in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who paved the way for the field of mythological studies.
  12. Campbell References– authors and scholars Campbell frequently cited in his work.
  13. Colleagues, Companions, and Kindred Spirits– writings by colleagues and personal friends of Campbell (18 individuals, from Alan Watts to James Hillman, each with their own section in the drop-down menu when you click on this category)
  14. JCF Fellows– writings and performances of individuals selected by the Foundation who have demonstrated in their work, and in their lives, a commitment to furthering Campbell’s vision
  15. Contemporary Voices– sixty general works by contemporary scholars on mythological studies and related academic fields, plus another hundred titles collected under specific subjects in the drop-down menu when you click on this category.
  16. Popular Voices– works that have broad popular appeal, written with the layperson in mind. Forty-five works of a general nature are on the main pages, with another one hundred twenty volumes divided among specific subjects in the drop-down menu when you click on this category.
  17. Dictionaries of Symbolism & Word Etymology– reference works on symbols and word origins. – invaluable tools for myth scholars.
  18. Mythological Resources– titles that have been nominated by JCF Associates.
  19. RoundTable Selections– volumes in this category have been featured at meetings of one or more of JCF’s 50 different local Mythological RoundTable® groups.
  20. Criticism– academic works that evaluate Campbell’s contributions to the field of comparative mythology.


If you begin your Amazon shopping in our online store (which is powered by Amazon), then JCF receives 5% of everything you place in your Amazon cart that you purchase the next 24 hours—even if not from our store, or not even a book (JCF has received fees on items from lawnmowers to computers—not sure if that’s intentional, but we are grateful!).

However, should you prefer a local brick-and-mortar store, or one of Amazon’s online competitors, browsing the selections in the JCF bookstore first can still be of value in helping you decide what to purchase through other outlets.

Of course, current titles just scratch the surface. More selections will be added over time.


Joseph Campbell Foundation relies on donations to help fulfill its mission of perpetuating Campbell’s ground-breaking work. Joseph Campbell Foundation is a US registered 501c(3) not-for-profit corporation (Federal Tax I.D. #99-0285097); contributions should be fully tax-deductible. Please consult your tax professional regarding deductibility.

Tax-deductible donations can be made online by clicking here, or by sending a check to:

Joseph Campbell Foundation
P.O. Box 36
San Anselmo, CA 94979-0036

Thank you for your support!

Rich Hoffman


John Steinbeck’s 1954 Speech to Eastern Europe: The defense of the individual against the collective

If I could claim to have had a teacher which had a great influence on my life as many contemporaries feel is so pertinent, it would be Joseph Campbell—which I’ve talked about before. Campbell was in the time of his life at the center of many intersecting ideals and he acquired that center through a grand adventure that could only have been found pursuing an extremely individual course through his life. One of those adventures found him to be one of the characters in the John Steinbeck novel Cannery Row as the great American novelist chronicled those years in that literary work. Steinbeck and Campbell were friends until Campbell fell in love with Carol Henning, Steinbeck’s wife. The group lived a pre-hippie existence in California as communism was becoming all the rage in America and all these intense experiences became the subject matter of Steinbeck’s novels. In a speech given by Steinbeck over Radio Free Europe in 1954 to the repressed people of Eastern Europe Steinbeck revealed some of his more mature political ideals refined over the years through his art and experiences. It is an eloquent defense of free expression and the power of the individual that represented the culmination of Steinbeck’s life work which is very pertinent to this very day. Instead speaking to the censorship behind the Iron Curtin, as Steinbeck had in the following speech, in the present day, the same censorship is occurring behind the veil of intelligentsia. The goal is the same—just the method of execution has changed. So before elaborating on the life of Steinbeck, Campbell, and our modern times—read that pertinent speech.

“To my friends,

There was a time when I could visit you and you were free to visit me. My books were in your stores and you were free to write to me on any subject. Now your borders are closed with barbed wire and guarded by armed men and fierce dogs, not to keep me out but to keep you in. And now your minds are also imprisoned. You are told that I am a bad writer but you are not permitted to judge for yourselves. You are told we are bad people but you are forbidden to see and to compare. You are treated like untrustworthy animals, subjected to conditioning as cold and ruthless as though you were rats in a laboratory. You cannot travel, you cannot read freely and you cannot work at the profession of your choice. Your writers are the conditioned servants of a regime. All of this is designed to destroy your ability to think.

I beg you to keep alive the integrity of the individual in his ability to judge and compare and create. May your writers write secretly and hold their writing for the time when this grey anesthetic has passed as pass it must. The free world outside your prison still lives. You will join it again and it will welcome you. Everything around you is cynically designed to destroy you as individuals. You must remember and teach your children that they are precious, not as dull cogs in the wheel of party existence, but as units complete and shining in themselves.”

John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. (February 27, 1902 – December 20, 1968) was an American author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books, and five collections of short stories. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939), East of Eden (1952) and the novella Of Mice and Men (1937). Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 “for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humor and keen social perception”.

Steinbeck graduated from Salinas High School in 1919 and went from there to study English Literature at Stanford University in Palo Alto, leaving, without a degree, in 1925. He traveled to New York City where he took odd jobs while trying to write. When he failed to have his work published, he returned to California and worked in 1928 as a tour guide and caretaker[7] at Lake Tahoe, where he met Carol Henning, his first wife.[3][7][8] The two were married in January 1930 in Los Angeles, where, with friends, he attempted to make money manufacturing plaster mannequins.[7]

When their money ran out six months later, Steinbeck and Carol moved back to Pacific Grove, California, to a cottage owned by his father, on the Monterey Peninsula a few blocks from the border of the city of Monterey, California. The elder Steinbecks gave John free housing, paper for his manuscripts, and from 1928, loans that allowed him to write without looking for work. During this period of the Great Depression, Steinbeck bought a small boat, and later claimed that he was able to live on the fish and crab that he gathered from the sea, as well as fresh vegetables from his garden and local farms. When that didn’t work, he was not above getting welfare, or rarely even stealing food from the local produce market.[7] Whatever food they had, they would share with their friends.[7] Carol became the model for Mary Talbot in Steinbeck’s novel Cannery Row.[7]

Many of Steinbeck’s works are on required reading lists in American high schools. In the United Kingdom, Of Mice and Men is one of the key texts used by the examining body AQA for its English Literature GCSE. A study by the Center for the Learning and Teaching of Literature in the United States found that Of Mice and Men was one of the ten most frequently read books in public high schools.[28]

At the same time, The Grapes of Wrath has been banned by school boards: in August 1939, Kern County Board of Supervisors banned the book from the county’s publicly funded schools and libraries.[14] It was burned in Salinas on two different occasions.[29][30] In 2003, a school board in Mississippi banned it on the grounds of profanity.[31] According to the American Library Association Steinbeck was one of the ten most frequently banned authors from 1990 to 2004, with Of Mice and Men ranking sixth out of 100 such books in the United States.[32][33]

Joseph John Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 30, 1987) was an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work is vast, covering many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summarized by his phrase: “Follow your bliss.”[1]

Campbell traveled to California for a year (1931–32), continuing his independent studies and becoming close friends with the budding writer John Steinbeck and his wife Carol. On the Monterey Peninsula, Campbell, like Steinbeck, fell under the spell of marine biologist Ed Ricketts (the model for “Doc” in Steinbeck’s novel Cannery Row as well as central characters in several other novels).[8] Campbell lived for a while next door to Ricketts, participated in professional and social activities at his neighbor’s, and accompanied him, along with Xenia and Sasha Kashevaroff, on a 1932 journey to Juneau, Alaska on the Grampus.[9] Like Steinbeck, Campbell began writing a novel centered on Ricketts as hero, but, unlike Steinbeck, he did not complete his book.[10]

Bruce Robison writes that “Campbell would refer to those days as a time when everything in his life was taking shape…. Campbell, the great chronicler of the ‘hero’s journey’ in mythology, recognized patterns that paralleled his own thinking in one of Ricketts’s unpublished philosophical essays. Echoes of Carl Jung, Robinson Jeffers and James Joyce can be found in the work of Steinbeck and Ricketts as well as Campbell.”[11]

To this day many of the people who infect the literary world are the same Marxists, socialist and political Democrats/communists who hung around circles like the one Campbell and Steinbeck had experimented with creating the same kind of stunted philosophic exploration witnessed in Eastern Europe during 1954. Nowhere else in the world were these concepts challenging convention than they were in places like the Monterey Peninsula during the time of Campbell and Steinbeck who would both move on to become some of the most prolific American writers of the 20th Century. Both men later in their life would be described as conservatives or libertarians depending on the source even though they were surrounded by the typical coastal communists so prevalent in artistic and scholastic circles. In the battlefield of ideals—both men would reject collectivism ultimately. Steinbeck’s thoughts on the matter were easy to see in his speech to Radio Free Europe. Campbell would ultimately develop the simple line, “Follow your bliss,” which is an extremely individual proclamation. Campbell would bounce back and forth for the rest of his life between the cause of that “bliss”–the origin of what makes a unique life part of some programmed destination—be it a god, or some unforeseen force—but his declaration was one that supported vehemently the value of an individual in pursuit of their own life.

I see the work of John Steinbeck as some of the pinnacle moments of observation and discovery ever recorded in human history–because of the impact they had on culture thereafter.   His novel, and thus the performance by James Dean in the movie version of East of Eden are some of the most haunting and realistic portrayals of complex human problems ever seen in print. What is vastly important about all these literary works—those of Steinbeck and of Campbell was their sincere dedication to the lives of the individual as the rest of the creative world plunged down the drain of collectivist thought most adequately reflected in the communist push to take over the Democratic Party. Even though modern times has slid treacherously toward socialism—the kind of America that was a product of uniquely individual thinking can be found specifically in Steinbeck’s writing. Those who hated it—those college professors and critics who declared negativity toward Steinbeck were the same type of people spoken to in Eastern Europe—those who desire to destroy the individual in favor of collective salvation. These were aspects of John Steinbeck that were formed during that critical year of 1931 when he and Joseph Campbell were penniless and far from famous—where they worked out a complicated web of the human struggle between collectivism and individualism even when it threatened to destroy things they held precious—namely women. America’s literary future took a drastic turn for the good in these adventures between those two men which would be one of the few pillars left between the America we hope to preserve and the vile intentions of the European collectivists and their desire to spread the dark ignorance of philosophy that John Steinbeck tried to shine through across Eastern Europe in 1954.

This adventure was told in lurid detail in the great book, A Fire in the Mind. Click the link below to read it for yourself. I like the authors—even if they lean too far to the left for me. They are—following their bliss and captured in time the great work of these two men John Steinbeck and Joseph Campbell in their struggle to behold the strength of the individual.

From the Back Cover of the book:

“A marvelous account of the life of a man who fell in love with stories and became our greatest teller of timeless myths. A feast for the mind, the imagination, and the heart.”

–Sam Keen, author of Fire in the Belly

“Joseph Campbell was an amazing, abundant, humane man. This book, by incorporating his journals, letters, and a massive offering of his intellectual sources, helps us understand how, in this half-dead world, such a character comes to be.”

–Robert Bly, poet and author of Iron John: A Book About Men

Joseph Campbell: A Fire in the Mind ignites the soul of the reader with immortal longings. To read it is to swim in a river of old with Joseph Campbell, whose capacity for knowledge was as vast as his passion for living. [It is a] potent telling of the quest of one who brought life to myth and myth to life.”

–Jean Houston, author of The Search for the Beloved

Joseph Campbell forged an approach to the study of myth and legend that made ancient traditions and beliefs immediate, relevant, and universal. His teachings and literary works, including The Masks of God, have shown that beneath the apparent themes of world mythology lie patterns that reveal the ways in which we all may encounter the great mysteries of existence: birth, growth, soul development, and death. Biographers Stephen and Robin Larsen were students and friends of Campbell for more than twenty years. With exclusive access to his personal papers and journals, they weave a rich tapestry of stories and insights that catalogue both his personal and public triumphs.

The authors, STEPHEN LARSEN, Ph.D., is the author of The Shaman’s Doorway and The Mythic Imagination. He is a practicing psychotherapist and Professor Emeritus of Psychology at SUNY (Ulster). Robin Larsen, Ph.D., is an exhibiting artist and art historian. She is editor-in-chief of the tricentennial biography and anthology Emanuel Swedenborg: A Continuing Vision. The Larsens co-direct the Center for Symbolic Studies in New Paltz, New York.

Rich Hoffman


The Power of Myth: Going East with Joseph Campbell

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.

Washington D.C./VA
Philosophy of Religion
January 29, 2013
New York, NY
Tranformational Rituals
February 20, 2013
Berlin (2), Germany
Die Kraft der Mythen (III)
January 30
Clarkesville, GA
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
Pocatello, ID
“Love & the Goddess” (from Power of Myth)
February 5, 2013
Essen, Germany
Lernen durch Mythen
February 27, 2013
San Clemente, CA
February 8, 2013
Laguna Beach/Dana Point, CA
February 27, 2013
Sacramento, CA
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

Click here to Support the Joseph Campbell Foundation.

The Joseph Campbell Foundation relies on donations to help fulfill its mission of perpetuating Campbell’s ground-breaking work. The Joseph Campbell Foundation is a US registered 501 c(3) not-for-profit corporation (Federal Tax I.D. #99-0285097); contributions should be fully tax-deductible. Please consult your tax professional regarding deductibility.


Rich Hoffman