The Power of Myth: Programs 1-6

Length: 5 hrs and 33 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (4,024 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An exhilarating journey into the mind and spirit of a remarkable man, a legendary teacher, and a masterful storyteller, conducted by TV journalist Bill Moyers for their acclaimed PBS series.

Program One: "The Hero's Adventure"
Program Two: "The Message of the Myth"
Program Three: "The First Storytellers"
Program Four: "Sacrifice and Bliss"
Program Five: "Love and the Goddess"
Program Six: "Masks of Eternity"

©1988 Apostrophe S Productions. All rights reserved (P)2001 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"Those familiar with the six-part PBS series on Joseph Campbell will especially enjoy this audio production. Moyers follows the same format as the TV series: The journalist plies the tuning fork to the teacher's mind, and we listen as Campbell waxes rhapsodic on the hero, the nature of myth, storytelling, the goddess, and finally what we understand of eternity. The dialogue, like the video, is filled with Campbell's wonderful stories and punctuated with illustrative sound clips, ranging from Star Wars to the Oum prayer of Tibetan monks. This production goes into greater depth than the video text, focusing more on Campbell's exciting ideas than his personality and work. Dialogue, of course, is the best format for ideas, and Campbell's insights into myth and religion are a most refreshing response to our age, so deeply troubled with the clashing voices of religious fundamentalism. Let's listen again to Joseph Campbell." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about The Power of Myth: Programs 1-6

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A series that changed my life

I first heard this as I was just out of college and trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life and where I stood from a spiritual/religious perspective. I can't overstate the impact this series had on my career path and personal development.

Now, some 17 years later, I gave it another listen and I hear a whole new set of lessons relevant to my life as an established professional and continuing seeker of wisdom and personal growth.

I've listened to a lot of audiobooks in my time (200?) and have loved a heap but there are only a couple others I would even consider giving five stars. I reserve that for "classics" and I would give that status to "The Power of Myth."

126 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

Joseph Campbell's quiet wisdom and Bill Moyers astute questions are life changing for the interested listener. What I love most about Campbell is that he doesn't *stop* teaching, he's a conduit, the opposite of the self titled "inspirational" speaker. He shares his knowledge without advising what one should draw from it. Almost magically, far more than facts alone, his words stay alive. The have the potential to completely transform the listeners life experience, yet each one will create something different from what he says.

48 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent!

I've seen this as a special on PBS. The audio version is excellent - more powerful that watching for me, because I was able to think more as I listened. Wish more Joseph Campbell material was available on Audible!

30 people found this helpful

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One-trick Pony

I've come across this Bill Moyers program in the past and I was consistently disappointed in Moyers for what little I saw before changing the channel, but now I was maxed out on credits and I wanted to give both Moyers and Campbell a fair shot, so I purchased this audiobook. ... What narrow-minded new age nonsense! Joseph Campbell tries to reduce every ancient tale into his formula, succeeding only in dumming down what is more often than not a rich tale underserving of such abuse. Campbell is also simply ignorant of much of what he discusses. An early example is what he says of Muhammad: 'Mohammed ... would leave his home and go out into a little mountain cave that he found and meditate, and meditate, and meditate and meditate. And one day a voice says, “Write,” and we have the Koran, you know. It’s an old story.' Actually, no. The angel said "recite," as it was instructing the illiterate Muhammad to repeat and memorize what the angel was saying. "Recite" has often been translated was "read" for later, literate generations, but not "write." One of the great miracles of Muhammad was that he was illiterate and yet accomplished so much. Here Campbell completely screws up the story and misses the magic. Campbell is also terribly self-serving. Here he speaks of all the lost souls that don't share his secret: "The person has put himself off-center; he has aligned himself with a programmatic life, and it’s not the one the body’s interested in at all. And the world’s full of people who have stopped listening to themselves. In my own life, I’ve had many opportunities to commit myself to a system and to go with it, and to obey its requirements. My life has been that of a maverick; I would not submit." What a great guy! ... But the irony here is that Campbell has created his own very rigid system, a kind of food processor that removes all the texture and detail from stories so that he can slug them all down as hero tales of a very specific type. He is (was) very much a slave to his system, and it's regrettable that so few people have been able to see through this simplistic self-deception. ... But don't just take my word for it. Look up a review such as "Trouble in Myth-Land: Campbell and Moyers" by Norman N. Holland in Psychology Today. Myth is a wonderful subject, very much deserving of the reader's time, but this is not the way to approach it. Try taking each myth on its own terms; don't try to jam it into one big formula. Life and truth are far too rich to be so simple.

13 people found this helpful

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Powerful & life affirming

I know I've listened to this series a dozen times & every time a new message pushes through, JC's work was phenomenal.....

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Better than the book. Well worth the listen.

The transcript of the interviews, published years ago, is inaccessable because of its form. This audio release is a much better venue for the material. Campbell is amazing, insightful and inspiring. No small feat without dogma or faith. Listen in the context of it's time, the 1970's, and don't get distracted by the Star Wars references. He show why the supernatural is unnecessary and the natural is super. Once you see the divinity of everything, you don't need the divine. Great read.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

I like this better than the Hero with a Thousand Faces. It's more accessible I think. The Interview format helps a lot. It's one of those books that I was really sad to get to the end.

27 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

If will effect your world view

In this age of hateful atheism against the holier than thou, you can listen to thoughtful people openly discussing spirituality before it became a red/blue issue.

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

One of the most enlightening things I've heard in my life!

This is a remarkable set of interviews! I am right at the beginning of reading Hero with a Thousand Faces and this was the perfect thing to whet my pallet and mind for that. This doesn't replace that and this covers a lot of topics but I found each one deeply profound.

Props also to Bill Moyers who clearly knew his stuff as well. He was a worthy interviewer.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Joseph Campbell, watered down

A charming series of interviews of Joseph Campbell, but I can't quite recommend it to anyone who already knows of and loves his work. Compared to one of his lecture series, it's dissatisfyingly meandering and lightweight. For those who are curious about his work, I suppose this might be a friendly way to sample it, although I also found it was a little disjoint and wandering, like a typical NPR article. Again, you're better off just diving into one of his lecture series.

Having said that, I'll add that Joseph Campbell should be required study for everyone. This material covers basic human psychology in broad strokes, rolled up with the history of religion -- the one topic above all where some perspective and self-awareness is desperately needed. So, if this chatty series sparks your interest, wonderful!

15 people found this helpful