Many / One

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Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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The Inner Reaches of Outer Space, Metaphor as Myth and as Religion
Joseph Campbell

1 "In aboriginal societies…every feature of the landscape, the whole world of nature and everything around them, is encompassed in their regard. The earth for them is not of dust, but alive and a mother. The animals and plants, and all the peoples dwelling on her bosom, are her children, also regarded in a sacred way."

2 "The metaphors of any mythology may be defined as affect signs derived from intuitions of [the] play of the Self through all the forms of a local manner of life, made manifest through ritualized representations, pedagogical narratives, prayers, meditations, annual festivals, and the like, in such a way that all members of the relevant community may be held, both in mind and in sentiment, to its knowledge and thus moved to live in accord."

3 "The idea of God is innate in man's mind from the beginning."

4 "In dream, the unanticipated occurrences, which appear to be accidental and occasionally, as in nightmare, terrifying, are actually of a context composed and controlled according to an unsuspected intention which is of none other than one's own will…..Comparably, the dream or nightmare of our lives is a production of our own hidden will."

5 "Since the archetypes, or elementary ideas, are not limited in their distributions by cultural or even linguistic boundaries, they cannot be defined as culturally determined."

6 "The images of deities, which are…local forms of 'elementary ideas', are footprints left, as it were, by local passages of the Universal Self."

7 "Religious intolerance is blasphemy, since in their primal ground and ultimate sense, all religions are one, as is mankind."

8 "Our own deep truth is at one with that of all being."

9 "In the words of the legendary Ashtavakra: 'Having realized the Self in all and all in the Self, released from egoism and the sense of 'mine', be happy [sukhi bhava, 'enjoy']!'"

10 "From the master Ashtavakra: 'You pervade the universe and the universe exists in you. You are by nature Pure Consciousness. Do not be small-minded!'"

11 "The first task of any systematic comparison of the myths and religions of mankind should be to identify these universals (or, as C. G. Jung termed them, archetypes of the unconscious) and as far as possible to interpret them."

12 "A mythology is not an ideology. It is not something projected from the brain, but something experienced from the heart, from recognitions of identities behind or within the appearances of nature, perceiving with love a 'thou' where there would have been otherwise only an 'it'. As stated already centuries ago in the Indian Kena Upanishad: 'That which in the lightning flashes forth, makes one blink, and say 'Ah!' – that 'Ah!' refers to divinity."

13 "Black Elk's word, 'The center is everywhere', is matched by a statement from a hermetic, early medieval text, 'The Book of the Twenty-four Philosophers': 'God is an infinite sphere, whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere."

14 "The energy by which the body is pervaded is the same as that which illuminates the world and maintains alive all beings."

15 "The Self (the Spirit) is below, above, to the west, to the east, to the south, and to the north. The Self, indeed, is the whole world." Chandogya Upanishad (ca. 9th century bce)

16 "Indeed, the first and most essential service of a mythology is this one, of opening the mind and heart to the utter wonder of all being. And the second service, then, is cosmological: of representing the universe and whole spectacle of nature, both as known to the mind and as beheld by the eye, as an epiphany of such kind that when lightning flashes, or a setting sun ignites the sky, or a deer is seen standing alerted, the exclamation 'Ah!' may be uttered as a recognition of divinity."

17 "For him who is aware of the highest Self, God is in All Things." Heinrich Zimmer, 'Kunstform und Yoga im indischen Kultbild' (Berlin, 1926),

18 "The psychosomatic entity that is everywhere being shaped – namely, the bioenergetic system of the one species, Homo sapiens sapiens – is and has been for some 40 millennia a constant. Hence, the 'elementary ideas' (Bastian) or 'archetypes of the collective unconscious (Jung), of this single species – which are biologically grounded and at once the motivating powers and connoted references of the historically conditioned metaphorical figures of mythologies throughout the world – are, like the laws of space, unchanged by changes of location."

19 "It does appear that anyone viewing with unprejudiced eye the religions of mankind must recognize mythic themes at every hand that are shared, though differently interpreted, among the peoples of this planet."

20 "Everything in the world-in-being is held and moves in relationship to every thing else, to accord with an end that is not of the order of time, yet is everywhere fulfilled in time."

21 "As viewed by astronauts from the moon, the earth lacks those lines of sociopolitical division that are so prominent on maps….The web of interlacing socioeconomic interdependencies that now infolds the planet is of one life. All that is required is a general change of vision to accord with these contemporary facts. And that this will occur is certain. It is, in fact, already occuring. Moreover, the vision required is nothing new, nor unnatural."

22 "Fulfilled gurus, seers, incarnations and saviors, speak frequently as with one voice."

23 "The dreams and lives of all interlock, as though of a single, superordinated context."

24 "My own inner being actually exists in every living creature as truly and immediately as known to my consciousness only in myself. This realization, for which the standard formula in Sanskrit is 'tat tvam asi', is the ground of that compassion upon which all true, that is to say unselfish, virtue rests and whose expression is in every good deed." Arthur Schopenhauer, 'On The Foundation of Morality'

25 "The whole context of world history, in fact, is of destinies unfolding through time as a vast net of reciprocal influences, which not only are of people upon people, but involve also the natural world with its creatures and accidents of all kinds."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite