Uncle Joe

March 26, 2008 at 7:20 am | Posted in books, religion | 10 Comments

I’ve been doing a bit of pleasure reading this spring break, and I came across this piece of wisdom from Uncle Joe.

“[In] mythology — if you have a mythology in which the metaphor for the mystery is the father, you are going to have a different set of signals from what you would have if the metaphor for the wisdom and mystery of the world were the mother. And they are two perfectly good metaphors. Neither one is a fact. These are metaphors. It is as though the universe were my father. It is as though the universe were my mother. Jesus says, ‘No one gets to the father but by me.’ The father that he was talking about was the biblical father. It might be that you can get to the father only by way of Jesus. On the other hand, suppose you are going by way of the mother. There you might prefer Kali, and the hymns to the goddess, and so forth. That is simply another way to get to the mystery of your life. You must understand that each religion is a kind of software that has its own set of signals and will work.”

— Joseph Campbell, The Power Of Myth


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  1. On a vaguely-related note, I’ve started re-reading Dune. (I want to refresh my memory of the six books before reading the two sequels.)

    This will be my third reading, and I’ve seen both movie productions. With all that in mind, I’m noticing a lot more story detail than I did the first two times I read this book. It’s quite refreshing seeing all kinds of things I don’t remember having read before.

    Joe Straczynski (writer/producer of Babylon 5 and many other great things) calls this “Holographic storytelling”, where you see something new every time you look at it again. (Babylon 5 is probably the best example of this. Things are said and done in season 1 that seem incidental until after events happen in seasons 3 and 4. When you go back and watch the series a second time, those things no longer seem incidental at all.)

  2. Bab5 is on my list. Now that I’ve seen all of Firefly ans Serenity, Bab5 is probably the next canceled series I’ll dive into.

  3. B5 is a great series. Unlike most series, which are episodic, B5 consists of many intertwining story arcs that span all five seasons (with the biggest arc spanning seasons 1-4.) Some people don’t like this (because you can’t just watch a random episode in isolation), but people like me absolutely love it.

    Note that there were five movies in addition to the series. Although some of the movies take place before and during the time frame of the series, I recommend you do not watch them until after you’ve seen the series in its entirety. Otherwise you’ll see spoilers that will compromise the impact of other parts of the story.

    (Alternatively, watching the movies at the points in the series when they originally aired on TV also works. There are fan-sites that can give you the sequence. Or you could ask me.)

  4. Oh Derek, only you could call him Uncle Joe. I got a totally different impression about what this post was going to be about.

    I’ve just got to dust off (or rebuy) myself a copy of that book. Very little of what he says isn’t pure gold. (That came out akward, but it’s a compliment.)

  5. I got that moniker for Joseph Campbell from the Brothers in Spirit, actually. I really want to get the DVDs!

  6. The DVD’s. You mean the PBS ones? Excellent idea. I wonder who has them. I wonder if one can rent them.

  7. Yes, the PBS ones. Netflix has them.

  8. I’m in the middle of a free year of netflix. Maybe I’ll get them out. How many discs are we talking about?

  9. Two.

  10. Oh, that is very doable. Netflix Queue, here I come…

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