Pathways to Bliss by Joseph Campbell
“The thing that turns (us) into a poet or an artist, a person who can give humanity the images to help it live, is that the artist recognizes the imperfections around them with compassion. The principle of compassion is that which converts disillusionment into a participatory companionship…This is the basic love, the charity, that turns a critic into a living human being who has something to give to—as well as to demand of—the world…
The world is a constellation of imperfections, and you, perhaps, are the most imperfect of all. By your love for the world you name it accurately and without pity and love what you have just named…this discovery can help you save your marriage.”
“This is why I am troubled by some of the things I notice in the young people who I have been teaching—the idea of unisex; you know: same hair, same clothes, same activities. You lose tension. I think it is a greater charity to life to maintain the tension than to release it, because vitality comes from tension. The electricity that carries our voices though a telephone wire is both positive and negative; if you didn’t have that opposition, there would be no echo.
The important thing, however, is not for the masculine to be the dominant or the feminine to be dominant; what is to be dominant is the conjunctio oppositorum, the conjunction of the two.
In a marriage, for example, what is the precious thing? Is it the marriage, or is it Tom, or is it Jane? If Tom thinks it’s Tom and Jane thinks it’s Jane, you don’t have a marriage. But if the two of them, though all their agony of opposition, can maintain the idea that the precious thing is the marriage itself, the precious thing is what lies beyond the pair of opposites, then you’ve got a good position to start from…
The Zen master Dogen…said that duality is recognized, but that does not obstruct the realization of the unity. That enriches your humanity…
…the fanatic is a person who has lost that balance and thinks he’s right. R-I-G-H-T. And that’s a fierce kind of monster to have to face.”
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