Born on this day in New York City, historian and teacher Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) followed his bliss and explored his passion for mythology. In studying ancient cultures and Native American folklore, Campbell discovered that myths filled man's need to explain life with all its uncontrollable forces and the mystery of creation.
"People say that what we are all seeking is a meaning for life," Campbell observed. "I donít think thatís what we are really seeking... I think what we are seeking is an experience of being alive."
In Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), Campbell explained how a hero is someone who has been able to overcome personal and historical limitations.
His composite hero inspired filmmaker George Lucas to create the concept of The Force and heroes for the Star Wars saga. Lucas said without Campbell's help, "I would still be trying to write Star Wars today."
With a lifetime of research, Campbell weaved historical threads into a patchwork of myth, religion, and culture. He explored symbolism and nature, breathing new life into ancient myths and demonstrating how each of us create our own rituals every day.
Through it all, he celebrated the sacredness of life. "The privilege of a lifetime," he shared eloquently, "is being who you are."
More Joseph CAMPBELL Quotations
Follow your sacred bliss.