The Power of Myth: Joseph Campbell & Bill Moyers

During that semester I studied abroad in Perugia 10 years ago, a number of us passed around a copy of The Da Vinci Code; it somehow felt extra relevant because it revolved around one pazzo genius Italian.

I’m not the biggest fan of pop lit, but was mystified when I got back to the States and observed “Dan Brown” and “Da Vinci Code” had become synonymous with “intellectual fakery” or “writing you couldn’t take seriously.” (I’d genuinely liked it!)

It was out of this loyalty that I read a recent interview with the author in the New York Times. Among other subjects, he talked about his profound admiration for Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers’ Power of Myth conversations:

The PBS interview series with Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers was hands down the most thought-provoking conversation I’ve ever witnessed. Campbell’s breadth of knowledge about the origins of religious belief enabled him to respond with clarity and logic to some very challenging questions about contradictions inherent in faith, religion and scripture. 

When I finally plugged this into YouTube and saw these exchanges were from 1988, I had no small amount of skepticism. At first glance, two older men sitting in armchairs talking about mythology looks extremely academic. But, after 10 seconds’ viewing, I realized these videos are accessible in the biggest sense: They deal with universal emotions and experiences, and what it means to be human.

I’m working my way through Joseph Campbell videos (and soon will commence writings), but thought I’d share an excerpt from the series to give you a taste.


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