Happiness Academy Online

A Blog about Psychology (Jungian), Spirituality and Happiness, By Roberto Lima Netto.

Joseph Campbell and the Meaning of Life

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Joseph Campbell and the Meaning of Life

Joseph Campbell said: “What you have to do, you do with play. Life is without meaning. You bring meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.”

Campbell, Joseph (2011-08-01). A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living (Collected Works of Joseph Campbell) (Kindle Locations 70-74). Joseph Campbell Foundation. Kindle Edition.

Although I respect Joseph Campbell as one of the great sages of the XX century, I hold a different opinion as to the meaning of life. Life does have a meaning. The meaning of life is to get closer to God.

Meister Eckhart, a fourteenth century mystic, said: “Know that, by nature, every creature seeks to become like God. The intention of nature is neither food nor drink, nor clothing, nor comfort nor anything else in which God is left out. Whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, humans are always secretly seeking, hunting, trying to figure out the path by which God can be found.”

You may think I am proposing you join an established religion. No, by no means! Although a community is important, it is very difficult to find a healthy one among our churches. Evidently, there are exceptions, but few.

My advice as to how to find the meaning of your life is to pay attention to your dreams and to work with them using Active Imagination, a method devised by Jung and used extensively at a critical time of his life. In the Red Book, he tells his struggle. At the time Jung wrote this book, he was undergoing an existential crisis. For more, I suggest you read two posts on Active Imagination: Psychosis or Wisdom and Would you like to talk to your demons?

I am Roberto Lima Netto, and I believe that our objective in life is to be happy and that Spirituality and Jungian psychology, my main areas of interest, can help us in this search for happiness. I am a writer. Some of my books are “The Little Prince for Grown-ups“, “The Jungian Bible“, “The Amazon Shaman” and “In Search of Happiness“. I invite you to visit my blog and leave your comments at:  www.HappinessAcademyOnline.org.


Joseph Campbell disse: “A vida é desprovida de sentido. Você dá sentido a ela. O sentido da vida é aquilo que você atribui a ela. Estar vivo é o sentido.”

Apesar de eu respeitar Joseph Campbell como um dos grandes sábios do século XX, tenho uma opinião diferente quanto ao significado da vida. A vida tem um significado, sim. O sentido da vida é chegar mais perto de Deus.

Meister Eckhart, um místico do século XIV disse: “Saiba que, por natureza, cada criatura procura tornar-se como Deus A intenção da natureza não é comida nem bebida, nem roupa, nem conforto, nem qualquer outra coisa na qual Deus é deixado de fora Quer você goste ou não, quer você saiba disso ou não, os seres humanos estão sempre buscando secretamente, caçando, tentando descobrir o caminho pelo qual Deus pode ser encontrado.”

Você pode pensar que eu estou propondo que você se junte a uma religião estabelecida. Não, de maneira nenhuma! Apesar de uma comunidade ser importante, é muito difícil encontrar uma saudável entre nossas igrejas. Evidentemente, há exceções, mas poucas.

Meu conselho a respeito de como encontrar o sentido da sua vida é prestar atenção a seus sonhos e trabalhar com eles usando imaginação ativa, um método desenvolvido por Jung e amplamente utilizado em um momento crítico de sua vida.

No Livro Vermelho, Jung conta sua luta. Na época que Jung escreveu este livro, ele estava passando por uma crise existencial. Para saber mais, convido-o a ler dois artigos sobre Imaginação Ativa: Psicose ou Sabedoria? e Você quer para conversar com seus demônios?


I was involved in the business world, as an executive of large companies and university professor since recently. I was the president CSN, the largest steel-mill of Latin America and was responsible for its turn-around. My first encounter with the teachings of the Swiss psychologist C. G. Jung, one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th Century, was during my midlife crisis. Reading "Man and his Symbols" at that time, inspired me to go into Jungian analysis and to begin devouring the writings of Jung and his disciples. Since then, I've been studying psychology, especially Jungian psychology and, after reaching my seventies, I decided to become a full time writer, specializing on books on Jungian psychology and psychological thrillers. Every masterpiece of literature can be absorbed through multiple interpretations, and yield powerful insights for our daily lives. My first Jungian book, “The Little Prince for Grown-ups“, in its fourth edition in Brazil, was based on the famous book of Saint-Exupéry. The second, - “The Jungian Bible” - interprets some stories of the Old Testament and world myths. As I get older and, with a bit of luck, wiser, I want to pass on to the younger generations the lessons life has taught me. Jesus Christ taught that it was easier to sell ideas with stories. Following the Master, I published in English "The Amazon Shaman" and "In Search of Happiness", two psychological thrillers around the theme of happiness.


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  1. You know how much I do admire the collaborators of the Vienna Circle, cradle of what has become known The Philosophy of Logical Analysis. This group – mostly championed by names as Schilick, Carnap, Popper, Reichenbach, Feigl, Brodbeck and others – would say that most philosophical questions were “pseudo-questions”, stemming from twisted questions, which, by its turn, derived from a inadequate use of language. For instance, they would point out that whether a glass is “half empty” OR “half filled” is a one such a question, since no “OR” fits this question: when a glass is half empty it is NECESSARILY half filled! Sheer logical analysis solves the apparent riddle. I would apply the same kind of reasoning to the question of wheter Campbell or Lima Mattos is right about life HAVING A MEANING.
    This is a pseudo-question born out of reckless use of language. Of course BOTH are right. If Mattos had not swallowd Campbell loose affirmation that life HASN’T A MEANING, and individuals GIVE A MEANING to it, he would just had answered: Hei, Campbell, this is a lousy way of stating such an important question! Common people say – we thinkers should not – that their lives has no meaning, when they CANNOT SEE, the meaning of live – attaining the highest possible degree of happiness – WHICH WAS ALREADY THERE. So, before finding this meaning and the means to implement it, their lives are like the the glass, THEY DO AND THEY DO NOT HAVE MEANING AT THE SAME TIME! When they say that their lives aquired a meaning, they had only DISCOVERED IT, because this meaning was already there, waiting to be discovered! This argument merits some refinements that I am not able to explore now.
    Sooner or later I will add some comments on HOW to implement that meaning, once we have discovered it. Like my argument, I think Jung’s contribution to the subject needs refinement.
    (I couldn’t review the text and hope its clear enough to deliver its message).

  2. I’m impressed, I have to say. Actually not often do I enontcuer a weblog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you will have hit the nail on the head. Your thought is excellent; the issue is one thing that not enough individuals are talking intelligently about. I am very completely happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something referring to this.

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