America

America

America (Simon and Garfunkel, 1968). America (1-2-3, live, the Marquee Club, 1967). America (Bowie, the Concert for New York City, 2001). Those towers were almost human for me. I was in love with t…

Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell

“Throughout the Orient the idea prevails that the ultimate ground of being transcends thought, imaging, and definition. It cannot be qualified. Hence to argue that God, Man, or Nature is good, just, merciful, or benign, is to fall short of the question. One could as appropriately—or inappropriately—have argued, evil, unjust, merciless, or malignant. All such anthropomorphic predications screen or mask the actual enigma, which is absolutely beyond rational consideration; and yet, according to this view, precisely that enigma is the ultimate ground of being of each and every one of us—and of all things.

“The supreme aim of Oriental mythology, consequently, is not to establish as substantial any of its divinities or associated rites, but to render by means of these an experience that goes beyond: of identity with that Being of beings which is both immanent and transcendent; yet neither is nor is not. Prayers and chants, images, temples, gods, sages, definitions, and cosmologies are but ferries to a shore of experience beyond the categories of thought, to be abandoned on arrival; for, as the Indian Kena Upanishad states: ‘to know is not to know, not to know is to know'; and the Chinese Tao Te Ching: ‘Those who know are still.

“’Thou art that,” declares the Vedic sage; and the Japanese: ‘It is your true self.'”

“‘O thou,’ states a basic Buddhis text, ‘who art gone, who art gone, who art gone to the yonder shore, who at the yonder shore hast disembarked: Enlightenment! Hail!'”

Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God, Volume III: Occidental Mythology, p. 3-4