What to Read This Weekend: Five Quotes to Make You Think


cosmos What to Read This Weekend: Five Quotes to Make You ThinkHi everyone, for this weekend’s reading selection, here are five mind-expanding quotes from the great mythologist Joseph Campbell:

1. “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”

2. “Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.”

3. “The first step to the knowledge of the wonder and mystery of life is the recognition of the monstrous nature of the earthly human realm as well as its glory, the realization that this is just how it is and that it cannot and will not be changed. Those who think they know how the universe could have been had they created it, without pain, without sorrow, without time, without death, are unfit for illumination.”

4. “A bit of advice given to a young Native American at the time of his initiation: As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think.”

5. “Sit in a room and read-and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time.”

As always, I’d love to hear what you think of these. 

Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

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  1. ghada on 19.11.2011 at 15:59 (Reply)

    the third quote reminds me of something i read in The Book Thief by Markus Zusak:
    “I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”

    1. Susan Cain on 19.11.2011 at 16:04 (Reply)

      Wow, what a great quote. Thx for sharing it.

    2. Leslie on 23.11.2011 at 15:32 (Reply)

      The Book Thief is a really amazing book. I love that quote, too.

  2. Lloyd Farrell on 19.11.2011 at 16:51 (Reply)

    Wonderful quotes from Campbell who was and is an inspiration to a moderate introvert like me!!! That second quote I absolutely love… what is the reference for it?

    1. Susan Cain on 21.11.2011 at 13:27 (Reply)

      I love that quote too, Lloyd. It comes from “Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor.”

  3. timlarison on 21.11.2011 at 12:33 (Reply)

    These are all great but I really like quote #2 - that one is going on my “quote wall” at home. There is so much debate about what is the proper way to “believe” when it comes to matters of the Spirit. Reading religious texts metaphorically takes me to an experience of Spirit, rather than debating whether the stories are actually true or not. Marcus Borg is an author I like who emphasizes the metaphorical approach.

  4. Beat Schindler on 22.11.2011 at 14:33 (Reply)

    Great quotes, thanks for sharing. So true, atheists reject the notion that theirs is a religion, too. Like other religious people, they are deeply divisive.
    My fav life changing quote: Ships are safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for. Life, as I was lucky enough to discover, is more fully, well, life, when it’s abundant :-] Wrote about it, briefly, here http://www.beatschindler.com/abundant-life/

  5. Lloyd Farrell on 22.11.2011 at 15:18 (Reply)

    Thanks for letting me know the reference for the quote…that is one of the books by Campbell that I have never read so gonna seek that one out!! L

  6. stephen price on 27.11.2011 at 17:24 (Reply)

    Quote #1: This one does it for me. I’ve been staring at this for some time now. Time to put away the ice pick and use the sledge hammer. As the barrier starts to recede, I can see the fourth quote start to surface. It doesn’t seem as wide as I think. Stephen Price.

  7. Michael Morrissey on 22.04.2012 at 06:39 (Reply)

    Is this Susan Cain also the author of “Dark Illumination”? If so, why is this being hushed up?

    1. Rich Day on 06.03.2014 at 21:19 (Reply)

      The author of the poetry “Dark Illumination” resides in Arizona. The author of Quiet and this blog site resides in NYC. Same name, 2 different authors.

  8. Renaat Corthouts on 06.03.2014 at 15:04 (Reply)

    Thanks for the reading tips.
    But besides a little note book in my pocket, I think I will do not nothing more than sit and watch the Swiss Alps and get inspired. Have a wonderful weekend all, Renaat

    Having re-read Charles Bukowski I’m again struggling with his point: “The point is, there’s no point;’
    All help is really appreciated.

    Kindest regards,

  9. Rich Day on 06.03.2014 at 15:40 (Reply)

    Wow, so much to think about. But I’ll respond to the religious metaphor comment.

    I come from a tradition of religion, and one that I left. I really left the dogma, which for me I am certain is inadequate. Neither the dogma of science and atheism, nor the dogma of a specific religion seems adequate to me.

    I am agnostic, somewhat of a mystic. I would call myself “a fly fisher agnostic”, and if you’ve ever been fly fishing then you know that while you want to see the fish what you see mostly is a reflection of yourself and your world as you try and look into the water. Still, as you look, often times even looking at and through your reflection there is a shadow of a glimpse beneath. You see this shadow, but you can never quite “have it”, it eludes. For myself, I’ll never quit looking, but also know I’ll never capture God in the words of dogma. But the search takes me to a higher place. I love the fact that what comes to me about God, can only come as metaphor.

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