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“I was five years without a job. I went out to California looking for one and settled down in Carmel, where I met John Steinbeck, who was also broke. That was an important moment for me, especially getting to know his collaborator, Ed Ricketts, who’s the doctor in his novels.
“Ricketts was an intertidal biologist and I had been interested in biology from my school days. Talking with Ricketts, I realized that between myth and biology there is a very close association. I think of mythology as a function of biology (emphasis mine) : it’s a production of the human imagination, which is moved by the energy of the organs of the body operating against each other. These are the same in human beings all over the world and this is the basis for the archetypology of myth. So I’ve thought of myself as a kind of marginal scientist studying the phenomenology of the human body, you might say.”
Joseph Campbell, interviewed by D.J.R. Bruckner for “Joseph Campbell, Mythologist: Seventy Years of Making Connections,” In Columbia College Today, 1984.
“The energies that move the body are the energies that move the imagination. These energies, then, are the source of mythological imagery: in a mythological organization of symbols, the conflicts between the different organic impulses within the body are resolved and harmonized. You might say mythology is a formula for the harmonization of the energies of life.” (emphasis mine)
Joseph Campbell, interviewed by Joan Marler, in The Yoga Journal, Nov./Dec. 1987.