Mythologies are great poems

“Mythologies, in other words, mythologies and religions, are great poems and, when recognized as such, point infallibly through things and events to the ubiquity of a ‘presence’ or ‘eternity’ that is whole and entire in each. In this function all mythologies, all great poetries, and all mystic traditions are in accord; and where any such inspiriting vision remains effective in a civilization, everything and every creature within its range is alive. The first condition, therefore, that any mythology must fulfill if it is to render life to modern lives is that of cleansing the doors of perception to the wonder, at once terrible and fascinating, of ourselves and of the universe of which we are the ears and eyes and the mind. Whereas theologians, reading their revelations counterclockwise, so to say, point to references in the past (in Merton’s words: ‘to another point on the circumference’) and Utopians offer revelations only promissory of some desired future, mythologies, having sprung from the psyche, point back to the psyche (‘the center’): and anyone seriously turning within will, in fact, rediscover their references in himself.”
— Joseph Campbell, “Myths To Live By”

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