Mythology: Joseph Campbell

Mythology: Joseph Campbell

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Mythology: Joseph Campbell

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1. Mythology: Joseph Campbell?s Four Functions Steve Wood TCCC

3. Mystical Function The fact of that matter is that the universe in which we live is a strange, wonderful, awe-inspiring, and sometimes terrifying place.

4. Mystical Function Myths that fulfill the mystical function are myths that remind us of how strange and wonderful (and scary and miraculous) the universe really is. Ghost stories are one example of this function. Ripley?s Believe It or Not stories are another.

5. Ghost Stories One famous ghost story is the story of the vanishing hitchhiker. This version of the story is from

6. The Vanishing Hitchhiker A dozen miles outside of Baltimore, the main road from New York (Route Number One) is crossed by another important highway. It is a dangerous intersection, and there is talk of building and underpass for the east-west road. To date, however, the plans exist only on paper. Dr. Eckersall was driving home from a country-club dance late one Saturday night. He slowed up for the intersection, and was surprised to see a lovely young girl, dressed in the sheerest of evening gowns, beckoning him for a lift. He jammed on his brakes, and motioned her to climb into the back seat of his roadster. "All cluttered up with golf clubs and bags up here in front," he explained. "But what on earth is a youngster like you doing out here all alone at this time of night?"

7. The Vanishing Hitchhiker "It's too long a story to tell you now," said the girl. Her voice was sweet and somewhat shrill -- like the tinkling of sleigh bells. "Please, please take me home. I'll explain everything there. The address is ___ North Charles Street. I do hope it's not too far out of your way." The doctor grunted, and set the car in motion. He drove rapidly to the address she had given him, and as he pulled up before the shuttered house, he said, "Here we are." Then he turned around. The back seat was empty!

8. The Vanishing Hitchhiker "What the devil?" the doctor muttered to himself. The girl couldn't possibly have fallen from the car. Nor could she simply have vanished. He rang insistently on the house bell, confused as he had never been in his life before. At long last the door opened. A gray-haired, very tired-looking man peered out at him. "I can't tell you what an amazing thing has happened," began the doctor. "A young girl gave me this address a while back. I drove her here and . . ." "Yes, yes, I know," said the man wearily. "This has happened several other Saturday evenings in the past month. That young girl, sir, was my daughter. She was killed in an automobile accident at that intersection where you saw her almost two years ago . . ."

9. Urban Legend In addition to fulfilling the mystical function of mythology, this story is also an example of an urban legend. According to Jan Harold Brunvand, an urban legend is a story that circulates from person to person, that is retained in a group tradition, and that can be found in different versions through time and space.

10. Ripley?s Believe It or Not

11. Ripley?s Believe It or Not

12. Cosmological Function Stories that are told to explain something in nature fulfill the Cosmological Function, according to Campbell. In addition to many native American myths, examples can be found in the Old Testament.

13. The Tower of Babel The story of the Tower of Babel from Genesis explains why there are so many different languages.

14. Sociological Function Stories told to back up, justify, or promote a certain social order fulfill the sociological function. These stories help bind people to a certain social group, or help explain to them their place within society.

15. Dishing the Family Dirt For example, when you tell a newcomer stories about your family to make them feel welcome or feel like a part of the family, you are using this function of storytelling.

16. Pandora Another example would be the Greek myth of Pandora. Since the Greeks were a patriarchal society, they naturally created a myth to justify this social order.

17. From The Gods Gallery ?Pandora, whose name means "All Gifts", was fashioned when Zeus had her created by the Hephaestus to punish the human race , to which Prometheus had just given fire. Pandora was designed in the image of the goddesses, and became the first woman in a world of men. All the gods came forward to endow her with gifts; Aphrodite gave her beauty, Hermes gave her cunning, and other gods and goddesses gave her special qualities such as grace, dexterity, cogency, and so on, while Hepaestus gave her lying and deceit. Finally she was presented to Epimetheus as a gift.?

18. ?Although he had been warned by Prometheus never to accept a gift from Zeus he forgot this promise to his brother and married her. She brought with her a covered earthen vessel (box or jar or barrel), which she was forbidden to open. But its unknown contents plagued Pandora (she had been given curiosity along with everything else). One day she could stand the temptation no longer and lifted the lid to peek inside. Out swarmed all the calamities of mankind, from tidal waves to premature balding. It was too late to stop them as they spread out through the window and across the world. Pandora dropped the lid back in time to prevent the escape of the final occupant of the vessel. This was Elpis (hope), and no matter how bad things became for people there was always hope remaining.?

19. Pedagogical Function The most important of the four functions, according to Campbell, is the pedagogical function. These are stories that tell us how to live, how to be happy, how to be good, how to love.

20. The Parables of Christ One example of this can be found in the New Testament. Throughout his ministry, Christ often taught by telling a story ? the story of the Good Samaritan or the story of the Prodigal Son, for example.

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