I’ll admit it here: I’ve never actually read any of Joseph Campbell’s work. I owned Power of Myth for a number of years, and never actually cracked it open. More surprisingly given my interests in anthropology, religious history, and human evolution, I never looked into his Mask of God series. Over the weekend, when I hit the library in world-building mode, I decided that I may as well get the first volume out.
I know, going into it, that it’s outdated. It doesn’t matter, already I’m in love with his use of words. For fictional pieces I do like the intimate style of writing that we employ these days. For nonfiction? I miss the formal, learned style of writing, and prefer it to a more informal approach, most of the time. (I also still and likely will always get a kick out of the fact that I can generally suss out enough of languages I don’t really know to get a good idea of what’s being said).
I want to go back and finish The Lost Art of Compassion. Interestingly, the focus Campbell and those of his school of thought have an a unified humanity (which, ultimately, I don’t think is possible or possibly not even desirable, but whose underlying desire for compassion and tolerance rather than strife is an understandable ideal) reminds me of the idea of transcendental compassion versus actual transcendence, and reminds me that I have this other book to get back to.
I’m not very far into the book at this point, but enjoying it, dated and all.