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In third place, work of literary man and artist is in danger. We need not worry about popular entertainer: he will be more in demand than ever. But we may worry about artists of social satire: theirs will be a plight very like plight of objective social scientist. And we may worry about creative writers, painters, sculptors, and musicians devoted to disciplines of pure art. The philistine (that is to say man without hunger for poetry and art) will never understand importance of these enthusiasts. But those of you whose way of personal discipline and discovery is way of arts will understand that if you are to keep in touch with your own centers of energy, you must not allow yourself to be tricked into believing that social criticism is proper art, or that sensational entertainment is proper art, or that journalistic realism is proper art. You must not give up your self-exploration in your own terms. The politicians are such a blatant crew and their causes are so obvious that it is exceedingly difficult to remember, when they surround you, anything but surfaces of life….
The artist—in so far as he is an artist—looks at world dispassionately: without thought of defending his ego or his friends; without thought of undoing any enemy; troubled neither with desire or loathing. He is as dispassionate as scientist, but he is looking not for causes of effects, he is simply looking—sinking his eye into object. To his eye this object permanently reveals fascination of a hidden name or essential form…
Now this perfectly well-known crisis, which transports a beholder beyond desire and loathing, is first step not only to art, but to humanity. And it is artist who is its hero. It cannot be said, therefore, that artist is finally anti-social, even though from an economic point of view his work may be superfluous; even though he may seem to be sitting pretty much alone.
In fourth place, preaching of religion is in danger. God is first fortress that a warlike nation must capture, and ministers of religion are always, always, always ready to deliver God into hands of their king or their president. We hear of it already—this arm-in-arm blood brotherhood of democracy and Christianity…
And how quick ministers of religion are to judge soul of enemy; when founder of their faith is reputed to have said: ‘Judge not, that you may never be judged.’ How quick they are to point at splinter in enemy eye, before they have looked for plank that sticks in their own! ‘Give to Caesar things that are Caesar’s, and to God things that are God’s,’ is not phrase for a political emergency. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ is not phrase for a political emergency… And perhaps it would be well to remember that even inhabitants of democracies were born with original sin on their souls: and that not even President of United States has any objective assurance that he is vicar of Christ on earth.
We are all groping in this valley of tears, and if a Mr. Hitler collides with a Mr. Churchill, we are not in conscience bound to believe that a devil had collided with a saint (Biblio: This phrase was quoted out of context, with a predictably horrifying impact on modern sensibilities, in New York Times article of 1989 on Campbell’s alleged bigotry.)—Keep those transcendent terms out of your political thinking—do not donate things of God to Caesar—and you will go a long way toward keeping a sane head.
I believe, finally, that education is going to suffer during next few years, as it did during last war. You will be tempted to forget that you are educating yourselves to be women: you will imagine that you are educating yourselves to be patriots. Primarily you are human beings; secondarily you are members of a certain social class. Primarily you are human beings; secondarily you are daughters of present century. If you devote yourselves exclusively, or even primarily, to peculiarities of local scene and present moment, you will wonder, fifteen years from now, what you did with your education…
I would not say that Way of Knowledge is only way to human fulfillment: but it is a majestic way; it is a way represented by innumerable sciences, arts, philosophical and theological systems of mankind. The final danger is not (let me repeat this emphatically in closing), final danger is not that mankind may lose these things (for, if Europe and America were to be blown away entirely, there would remain millions and millions of subtly disciplined human beings—who might even feel relieved to see us go!). The great danger is that you—unique you—may be tricked into missing your education.” (4)
I am such a fan of Mr. Campbell and there are so many things of his which I quote in different books that some think I am nuts about him. The facts he presents have been added to in archaeological and linguistic or anthropological, so I really end up quoting more of his pure spiritual ecumenicism thoughts. But when a potential editor from my alma mater who had 14 years post secondary education and had been a professor commented about Campbell being a Nazi sympathizer – I lost interest in him. He also was stupid enough to suggest Pyramids had nothing unknown to academia – RIGHT!!
Columnist for The ES Press Magazine Author of Diverse Druids World-Mysteries.com guest writer