“The rise and fall of civilizations in the long, broad course of history can be seen to have been largely a function of the integrity and cogency of their supporting canons of myth; for not authority but aspiration is the motivator, builder, and transformer of civilization. Myth is an organization of symbols by which the energies of aspiration are evoked and gathered toward a focus. The message leaps from heart to heart by way of the brain, and where the brain is unpersuaded the message cannot pass.”

Joseph Campbell (1991), in The Masks of God: Creative Mythology, p. 5

Joseph Campbell

“On this immediate level of life and structure, myths offer life models. But the models have to be appropriate to the time in which you are living, and our time has changed so fast that what was proper fifty years ago is not proper today. The virtues of the past are the vices of today. And many of what were thought to be the vices of the past are the necessities of today. The moral order has to catch up with the moral necessities of actual life in time, here and now. And that is what we are not doing.”

Joseph Campbell (1991), in The Power of Myth, p. 19

Joseph Campbell

“Every mythology has grown up in a certain society in a bounded field. Then they come into collision and relationship, and they amalgamate, and you get a more complex mythology. But today there are no boundaries. The only mythology that is valid today is the mythology of the planet –and we don’t have such a mythology. The closest thing I know to a planetary mythology is Buddhism, which sees all beings as Buddha beings. The only problem is to come to the recognition of that. There is nothing to do. The task is only to know what is, and then to act in relation to the brotherhood of all of these beings.”

Joseph Campbell (1991), in The Power of Myth, pp. 27-29

Joseph Campbell