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January 26, 1990 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-01-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Joseph Campbell

Continued on preceding page

myth; maybe we need a new
religion."
The new religion would be
free of all that Campbell
viewed as the negative traits
of Judaism, Christianity and
Islam. He saw most major
religions as anti-nature, an-
ti-women, anti-pantheism,
anti-individual and anti-now
— that is, they all promise a
glorious after world, but
speak only of suffering and
hardship in life today.
Campbell's new religion
would encourage reason,
which he defined as "a
powerful intuition each one
of us is capable of having
about the ultimate structure
of the universe." It would
see all nature as sacred and
advocate accepting the world
as it is, even with all its
agony, because "the world is
what it is and that's the way
God intended," Campbell
said.
His religion also would
support "nowness" — the
idea that led to Campbell's
image as a guru, Rabbi Wine
said. This idea of nowness is
expressed in Campbell's
philosophy: "I say, follow
your bliss and don't be afraid
and doors will open where
you didn't know they would
be. ,,

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In other words, Rabbi
Wine explained, Campbell
believes that no one has the
right to tell another how to
live is life. Each individual
is unique, and only he knows
how to live out his life in the
proper manner.
Were he to invent a
religion to please people, he
would create exactly what
Joseph Campbell outlined,
Rabbi Wine said. For it is a
religion that relieves man of
all responsibility and
charges him only with
"following his bliss."

Rabbi Wine said he did not
find Campbell's religion ac-
ceptable for that and other
reasons. But should it be dis-
counted simply because
Campbell reportedly was an-
ti-Semitic? he asked.
No, the rabbi said, explain-
ing that truth is separate
from the man who utters it.
If Hitler said 2 + 2=4, his
stating it did not alter the
fact that the equation was
true.
At the end of his talk,
Rabbi Wine returned to the
question of whether Camp-
bell was indeed an anti-
Semite. His answer was yes.
He pointed to Campbell's
love of Jung and loathing of
Freud. While this in itself
was not proof of anti-
Semitism, Campbell was
raised at a time when Jung
was being warmly embraced

by Nazi philosophers, he
said.
Second, Campbell con-
stantly berated Hebraic
culture, Rabbi Wine said.
While Jewish tradition had
its fanatics, so did every other
religion; Campbell never
mentioned these.
Third, Campbell opposed
measures at Sarah
Lawrence College, where he
taught for many years, to
allow more Jews at the
school.
And finally, he strongly
believed the United States
should not enter the Second
World War. Speaking at
Sarah Lawrence in 1941,
Campbell urged his students
"not to get caught up in war
hysteria" and said artists
should only be thinking of
their art.
Campbell later sent a copy
of these comments to one of
his idols, author Thomas
Mann, who responded with
little enthusiasm. Maim told
Campbell that German au-
thorities had forbidden his
art, his books, and that those
who read them were thrown
in concentration camps and
had their teeth bashed in.
After receiving that
response, Rabbi Wine said,
Campbell "no longer liked
Thomas Mann."



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