The Book of Joseph Campbell


(1904 – 1987)

The essence of the self and the essence of the world are one ….

[So] …That which you are was never born and will never die. 

As Novalis said,” The seat of the soul is where the inner and outer worlds meet”. 

Everything is of the moment.

The experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life. 

Life will always be sorrowful. We can’t change it, but we can change our attitude towards it …. We can choose to live joyfully.

When we talk about settling the world’s problems we’re barking up the wrong tree. The world is perfect. It is a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives. 


What you have to do, you do with play. 

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. 

Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you have the answer. 

I don’t believe that people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive ….we want to feel the rapture of being alive …. Awe is what moves us forward. 

We save the world by being alive ourselves. 

You become mature when you become the authority of your own life. 

He who thinks he knows, doesn’t know. He who knows he doesn’t know, knows.

I don’t need faith. I have experience.

How to get rid of ego as dictator and turn it into messenger and servant and scout, that is the trick. 

All the gods, all the heavens, all the hells are inside you. 

There is perhaps nothing worse than reaching the top of the ladder and finding it is against the wrong wall. 

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us…. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. 

If you have the guts to follow… [your bliss]… life opens, opens, opens all along the line… There’s the sense of potential that opens out before you. And you have no idea how to achieve it; you start out in the dark. Then strange little help-mates come along frequently represented by little fairy spirits or the little gnomes, who just give you clues and these open out. Then there is the sense of danger you always run into… because no one has gone this way before. And the winds blow, and you are in a forest of darkness very often and terror strikes you … [so] … The world is a match for us and we’re a match for the world. And where it seems most challenging lies the greatest invitation to find greater and deeper powers in ourselves. 

You are the Hero of your own Story. 

The goal of the hero trip down the jewel point is to find those levels in the psyche that open, open, open, and finally open to the mystery of yourself being Buddha conscious or the Christ. That’s the journey. It is all about finding that still point in your mind where commitment drops away.

It’s not the agony of the quest; it’s the rapture of the revelation. One thing that comes out of all the myths is that at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation.

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek ….where you stumble and fall, there you find gold. 

The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light. 

If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s … and you are not on the adventure. 

When you are on the right path, invisible hands will come to your aid.

The fates lead him who will; him who won’t they drag. 

I think one of the problems in marriage is that people don’t realize what it is. They think it is a long love affair and it isn’t. It is an ordeal… which requires sacrificing the ego to the relationship…[So] … Marriage has nothing to do with being happy. It has to do with being transformed, and when the transformation is realized it is a magnificent experience. But you have to submit. You have to yield. You can’t just dictate. 

In marriage, you are not sacrificing to yourself or to the other person. You are sacrificing yourself to the relationship in which two become one.

With the moon walk….with our view of earthrise, we could see that the earth and the heavens were no longer divided. But that the earth is in the heavens. 

Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.