All quotes from Joseph Campbell’s

What all the myths have to deal with is transformation of consciousness. That you’re thinking in this way, and you have now to think in that way.

This thing up here—this consciousness—thinks it’s running the shop. It’s a secondary organ! It’s a secondary organ of a total human being, and it must not put itself in control. It must submit and serve the humanity of the body.

This is the threat to our lives; we all face it, we all operate in our society in relation to a system. Now, is the system going to eat you up and relieve you of your humanity, or are you going to be able to use the system to human purposes?

If the person doesn’t listen to the demands of his own spiritual and heart life, and insists on a certain program, you’re going to have a schizophrenic crack-up. 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.

It’s important to live life with a knowledge of its mystery and of your own mystery. And it gives life a new zest, a new balance, a new harmony to do this.

Follow your bliss. I mean, find where it is, and don’t be afraid to follow it.

And in doing that, you save the world. I mean, you do. The influence of a vital person vitalizes, there’s no doubt about it. The world is a wasteland. People have the notion of saving the world by shifting it around and changing the rules and so forth. No, any world is a living world if it’s alive, and the thing is to bring it to life. And the way to bring it to life is to find in your own case where your life is, and be alive yourself.

Ultimately, the last trick has to be done by you.

Nirvāṇa is a psychological state of mind. It’s not a place, like heaven. It’s not something that’s not here; it is here, in the middle of the turmoil—what’s called saṃsāra, the whirlpool of life conditions. That nirvāṇa is what? It is the condition that comes when you are not compelled by desire, or by fear, or by social commitments—when you hold your center and act out of there.

You can’t tell me that leaf doesn’t know where the sun is going to be. All of the leaves go just like that—what’s called heliotropism, turning toward where the sun is. That’s a form of consciousness. There is a plant consciousness. There is an animal consciousness. We share all of these things. You eat certain foods, and the bile knows whether there’s something there for it to go to work on. I mean, the whole thing is consciousness. I begin to feel more and more that the whole world is conscious; certainly the vegetable world is conscious. And when you live in the woods, as I did as a kid, you can see all these different consciousnesses relating to themselves.

If you will think of ourselves as coming out of the Earth, rather than as being thrown in here from somewhere else—you know, thrown onto the Earth—we are the Earth, we are the consciousness of the Earth. These are the eyes of the Earth, and this is the voice of the Earth. What else?

The only myth that’s going to be worth thinking about in the immediate future is one that’s talking about the planet. Not this city, not these people, but the planet and everybody on it. That’s my main thought for what the future myth is going to be. And what it will have to deal with will be exactly what all myths have dealt with: the maturation of the individual, the gradual, pedagogical way to follow, from dependency through adulthood to maturity, and then to the exit and how to do it. And then how to relate to this society, and how to relate this society to the world of nature and the cosmos. That’s what the myths have all talked about; that’s what this one’s got to talk about. But the society that it’s going to talk about is the society of the planet, and until that gets going, you don’t have anything.

You don’t see any divisions, there, of nations or states or anything of the kind. This might be the symbol, really, for the new mythology to come. That is the country that we are going to be celebrating, and those are the people that we are one with.