Bliss II: Even if It’s Corny

When I first introduced myself on Pigtails 1.0, I argued for the importance of following one’s bliss. This was the most important wisdom Joseph Campbell–the noted comparative mythologist–could impart to his students and his audiences. There is something about the human condition that says that just staying alive is not enough; there is a need to express oneself, and a natural susceptibility to the allure of beauty. The opportunity to write for Pigtails in Paint has been a double blessing for me: I can continue to appreciate the beauty of young girls and enhance my contacts while having an outlet to express myself and teach others what I have learned from my experience.

If you are a visitor of this site and are reading this, chances are your interests are at least similar to mine. The funny thing is that even those who understand this particular aesthetic do not all agree on everything except that we should be allowed to continue our pursuits. It is easy for others to look at us and scratch their heads in confusion or scorn. Conversely, I know I cannot fathom the minds of those who seem obsessed with sports, cars, soap operas, spelunking, hard rock or antiques. The difference is that the current political climate would have it that there is something wrong with us; this simply is not the case. I do not know what it will take to educate people, but my tactic is to be sincere and thoughtful about the matter and show people that we deserve tolerance and should be allowed to conduct our lives with dignity.

In the meantime we must persevere and appreciate the moments as they come. So much of what Campbell has said is worthy to note. This transcription is from an interview he had with Bill Moyers in the last months of his life in 1987 and goes into some detail of what it means to follow one’s bliss. A series of six such interviews were released on video as The Power of Myth:

“…this is a term I like to use as an absolute necessity for anyone today. You must have a room or a certain hour of the day…where you do not know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe to anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you, but a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are–what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation and at first you may find that nothing’s happening there, but if you have a sacred place and use it and take advantage of it, something will happen…but most of our action is economically or socially determined and does not come out of our life… As you get older, the claims of the environment are so great that you hardly know where the hell you are. What is it you intended? You’re always doing something that is required of you… Where is your bliss station? Try to find it. Get a phonograph and put on the record, the music that you really love, even if it’s corny music that nobody else respects, I mean the one that you like or the book you want to read. Get it done and have a place in which to do it…”

I would hope at the very least that people who do not respect our hobby would simply consider it corny and leave it at that. For those more open-minded, it is a great opportunity to examine the human psyche and our society, and to experience the joy of being in the world with all its wondrous mysteries.

2 thoughts on “Bliss II: Even if It’s Corny

  1. There is more on the website of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, see
    The page gives a bibliographic link to the book “The Power of Myth” published by Doubleday.
    I think that the following quote is very true:
    BILL MOYERS: Do you ever have the sense of… being helped by hidden hands?
    JOSEPH CAMPBELL: All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time – namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

    • I have so far found it true while working on this blog in good faith. Naturally, because of our content choice, we expect there to be trouble (and there has been some), but it has been amazing that when something was really needed to keep things going or some information was missing, someone would just turn up. I cannot thank enough the people who have come forward so far to contribute and make this site what it is. -Ron

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *