every woman adores a fascist -- sylvia plath

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Joseph Campbell's Theory of Art


Art Theory
The human psyche is both the material from which myths are created and the object to which those myths are applied. In this sense, mythology is a human endeavor that transcends cultures (the monomyth), and the hero's journey in myth is purely symbolic with psychological significance. This symbolic journey of the hero is one of separation from the common world, triumph over and initiation into supernatural wonders, and a return to the (renewed) common world. The myth thus imparts a psychological triumph to the audience that expands our consciousness by uniting the contradictions in life (life/death, male/female, earth/heaven, mortal/divine, etc.) in order to show the audience a way to transcend those painful contradictions (e.g. the revelation of eternal life) and both see and live in the world in a new light.

By constructing a symbolic journey relevant to the audience's psyche and contradictions in life in order to open them to a greater unity that transcends the pain of those contradictions and allows us to see the world in a new way.

The hero can be anyone or anything and symbolizes us in the journey. During the journey, however, the hero must come to know the divine unity and impart it to others.

The history of myth is as vast and timeless as the history of our humanity and human psyche. However, with the advent of modernity and the expansion of the sciences, the myth has come under great pressure. Also, the decision to read myths as biographies, histories, or pre-science mutilates the power of myths and makes them irrelevant. The new and final sphere of mythology is Man himself. The duty of modern mythmakers (creative heroes) is to create new myths about Man (e.g. Star Wars) so that Mankind can expand its consciousness and see the world in a new light.