Sacrifice as a Catalyst for Rebirth and Bliss in Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey

Sacrifice and Bliss Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey

Joseph Campbell is one of the most influential writers, philosophers, and professors in history. His work on mythology has taken native stories beyond their face value and deep into the human psyche, where they resonate with the core of who we are. 

Campbell’s life’s work brought countless people across the world in touch with the collective unconscious that underlies our every thought and motivates us to seek happiness. His phrase “follow your bliss” is now a household prompt, thanks to a series of interviews with celebrated journalist Bill Moyers in the early ‘90s. Gaia members can now experience this timeless discussion, listening to episodes discussing “The Hero’s Adventure”, “Sacrifice and Bliss”, and more.

Campbell’s teachings applied the lessons of heroes and metaphors of mythology to our own lives. “A myth is not a lie,” he famously said, despite this commonly misused definition. Rather, a myth is a story meant to turn the mind inward to reflect upon itself and reveal the essential truths of reality and our relationship to the transcendent. 

As Campbell explains in his series of interviews with Moyers, myth is often constructed as a hero’s journey — a pivotal course of events that slowly test the story’s protagonist and push them to the next step of unfoldment — toward transcendence. Each obstacle the hero experiences is a reflection of himself, as he is moved one step closer to sacrifice the egoic sense of self to the greater good, which is total consciousness.

When we study mythology, Campbell taught, we find the theme of sacrifice to be all-important. We must let go in order to receive what is already present. Campbell said, “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” The hero sacrifices his lower nature for his higher nature, and his safety for the one he rescues, or perhaps an object of desire for a noble cause. 

Campbell taught that sacrifice is a theme that runs through all things natural — death (the sacrifice of a living being) gives way to new life in an ever-continuing cycle. But death is often metaphorical and may be the death of a habit, a pattern of thinking, or an attachment to something. Or, he said, “When you make the sacrifice in marriage, you’re sacrificing not to each other but to unity in a relationship.”

Perhaps the most poignant and revealing teaching that arises from the Campbell-Moyers interview on “Sacrifice and Bliss” is that once the hero has made “the ultimate sacrifice,” there is a realization that takes place. This is the stuff of enlightenment wherein the act of total surrender of the personal self gives way to the realization that there is no “other.” 

This, said Campbell, is “the breakthrough of a metaphysical realization that you and the other are one” — and that the idea of separation (a separate “me” and “you”) is only due to being stuck in the temporal idea of time and space created by the egoic self. Finding this truth about Oneness, Campbell told Moyers, “is not a concept; this is a realization.”

The award-winning conversation between Moyers and Campbell is now a timeless classic. It is not only eye-opening for viewers who are new to the depth of thought behind mythology and metaphor, but also for those who have seen the interviews over and over again. Now streaming on Gaia, Campbell’s immortal words are readily available for everyone’s next step on their spiritual journey—their own personal hero’s journey toward transcendence.

Investors Urge Apple To Curb Childhood Social Media Addiction

the smart generation

In an age where technology is becoming intrinsically connected to every aspect of our lives, some are starting to grow concerned about the increasingly younger age at which we introduce our children to smart phones and gadgets – including two of Apple’s biggest investors.

In a Jan. 6 letter sent to Apple from investors Jana Partners and The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the shareholders expressed concern over childhood addiction to social media and electronic devices. The two groups urged Apple to offer parents more choices and tools to help ensure that kids use the company’s products in an “optimal manner.”

The letter acknowledged the pervasiveness of Apple products among children and teenagers, and the unintentional negative consequences that may be coming from the omnipresence of social media in young people’s lives.

 

the smart generation

 

The letter likely comes in response to viral videos of a former Facebook vice president who has been vociferous in his regret for the role he played perpetuating social media’s impact on our society. A number of media outlets have posted videos of Chamath Palihapitiya, former VP for user growth at Facebook, for his comments stating that social media is destroying society with dopamine-driven feedback loops.

Jana Partners LLC, a hedge fund started by activist investor Barry Rosenstein, touts itself as being an actively engaged shareholder that specializes in event-driven investing. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world that represents nearly a million public school educators. Together the two investors own a $2 billion stake in Apple.

The investors’ letter to Apple cited a number of statistics showing the negative impact that the role of social media and technology has on youth. It says that in the past 3 to 5 years since personal technology has entered the classroom, 90 percent of teachers said the number of students with emotional challenges has increased and 86 percent of teachers said that the number of students with social challenges has increased.

The letter also pointed to increased rates of depression, sleep deprivation, and suicide risk factors in children and teenagers spending significant time on social media and electronic devices.

In response, Apple has promised to introduce new features and tools to help parents and teachers curb the extensive use and addiction to these technologies.

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