The quote below is from Chapter 1 of “The Power of Myth,” the compiled transcripts of conversations between Campbell and Bill Moyers in 1985-86.  These video interviews were edited into the subsequent PBS series of the same name.  I’m not sure, but I suspect this book version includes some material not included in the series as aired. 


…People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life.  I don’t think that’s what we are really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. (Joseph Campbell, with Bill Moyers, “The Power of Myth.” Doubleday 1988.)

Campbell’s statement approaches Point 3 in my response to Michael Weise, regarding my post on Armstrong’s “History of God.”  He’s not quite saying the same thing, but we’re converging. 

But the fundamental insight I gain from Campbell’s quote is a vision of the vast majority of human beings I see around me, going through motions of each day, filling it with activity from rising to sleeping. And yet, you get the sense that so much of it is displacement activity, the kind of restless pacing of an animal in a cage.  Few ever reach “the rapture of being alive.”  And, thinking about it, maybe that is the real issue I have with organized or dogmatic religions.  They give us an excuse for not seeking more.