Available at Barnes and Noble

Available at Barnes and Noble

I have heard of this book numerous times and finally sat down to read it.

It is supposed to be an epic work deconstructing the connection between legends and mythology from around the world, [then] modern psychoanalysis, and making sense of it all.

Part of the problem is that Mr. Campbell lumps religion in with all of these myths and legends.  If you are a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Shinto, or a Buddist, you may take offense or otherwise choose to ignore Mr. Campbell’s writings because he paints all religions with the same “myth” brush.

This book would be a good intellectual foundation to challenge someone’s faith in their religion.

The book draws heavily on Freudian analysis of dreams and mythological tales which means that pretty much everything symbolizes sex, or a sexual relationship, or intercourse, or gender, or both genders, or phallic symbols, or wanting to marry your mom and kill your dad, or birth, or some kind of variation on this theme.  He even relates a practice where some of the honored men of a tribe would first be circumcised, and then a few years later would then ritually mutilate their male member to become symbolically both a man and a woman, the singular source of life and very revered in their community.

I personally have a hard time seing sex as the motif explaining everything.  Campbell relies on this type of explanation a lot.  Many modern psychologists have discredited Freud and moved on in explaining things without focusing on childhood trauma or other sexual issues.  For a couple examples: 1- Burying Freud, and 2- Why Freud was Wrong.  For your enlightenment/amusement here is a page that takes on all of psychology for not recognizing the concept of sin.

I didn’t knuckle down and read the whole thing.  After about the first third, I began skimming most of the rest of the book.  Maybe I am just not at the point in my life that is ripe for reading it, I don’t know.

I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under about 24 or so.  It could be a powerful tool for undermining someone’s faith.

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