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From the Great Hall of the Cooper Union in New York City. National Educational radio presents the Cooper Union forum series on peace love and creativity the hope of mankind. These programs were recorded by station WNYC. Here now is the chairman of the Cooper Union forum. Dr. Johnson eat Fairchild your living writers and gentlemen welcome to the Cooper Union for oh this is your Jeremy Johnson a fair job speaking to you from the great hall where we're continuing with our program of total peace love and creativity. And then our discussion of the present time have to do with the philosophical concepts of creativity of the Orient where the speaker is Professor Joseph Campbell who is professor of literature at Sarah Lawrence College. Welcome back to gamble with thing. The word thank you very much.
I think I should begin by telling you what I mean by the aria. If one draws the line a vertical line on the map. Through Persia the Orient that I am to speak about tonight slides eastward of Persia. And when I would have her as their God at the oxidant. I wept would have heard that there are two great creative zone. One is there live on ordinary. And from that calm cheap religion in the western world to diadem Christianity and Islam. And the other great creative in the way is Europe. Then eastward there are two great creative sound of these that I proposed. The big
one is India and the other from the Far East. To say China and Japan. The other part of the Orient have derived their high culture form from the two Southeast Asia for instance. The properly called Indo China is supposed to have come from both India and the Chinese world. Now when one considers on a map the eastern province of civilization one noted how they are removed from contact from close contact with each other and with the rest of the world north of India are the great Himalayas and westward of China the great desert the gobby self off so that new influences arriving in the ground. Are readily simulated by the culture forms already
there as a result in their traditional cultures. Both India and China are from the Western standpoint archaic that they carry into modern times point of view philosophy that from a very ancient beginning whereas when you consider they went there with the Mediterranean as an area of commerce. Uniting the Levant and Europe. And I think the contrast of the Northern Baltic people in the Mediterranean peopled the desert and the fertile land. And consider how different races and invading people have gone back and forth over these areas. You can see that whereas in the West there has been a great challenge and great cross fertilization of cultures in the eastern zone. Things
are much more daddy that say in terms of philosophy and religion and much more. Home of genius are homogenized. You might almost say I have a feeling very often when I am dealing with the Orient that I am in a world where all the trees are trees. There are different kinds of Palm but there are all of one species. So the philosophies of the Aryan while they differ in detail are based essentially on one theme which is what I want to bring out this evening. When you turn to the west then you get the sense of being in a forest that has pine trees and deciduous trees and palm trees and all that are in total collision with each other. The Orient seems to us when we look at it for the first time as a vast. Very very profoundly challenging and difficult world to comprehend. It isn't a theory then. But when one regards philosophy and then there is a
wonderful continuity throughout. And what I'm going to try to do is to present some of the basic themes of that continuity. This evening as it is represented in India and in China and in Japan in the high art of the domain. Now let us think now of the time period of the arrival of civilization in these areas. This was the period of the age. And the main philosophical concept here the main religious concept was sort of mathematically regular process of the cosmos. This was the period when the planets and their movements through the fix was first recognized by the prefix of the Babylonian and Acadian ziggurat. And the notion that there was
a mathematically predictable regularity of the cosmic and impersonal power. This is the part point and impersonal power behind all things which cannot be prayed to which cannot be addressed as a person. By this a great great energy is the underlying concept here. The Deity in India and in China. Mythologies are simply administrators of a world order which they do not control but simply administer. It is though you have a thought of theological bureaucracy without any superior personality to blame could be referred. Everyone is simply rendering the machine keeping it going in its inevitable cars. Now that planted the impersonality can be something rather
appalling and cold or something extremely moving and it is that latter aspect of it that comes out in the art of that. Great Oriental world. Now these ideas are in India. About twenty five hundred fifty. That's about the time that they all arrived in Europe. And so there is a kind of basic continuity to be seen for example between the men and they are associated with ancient Crete and the pre manic Mediterranean. And they are of earlier India. The art of the Indus Valley people. Then about fifteen hundred be c the Arian came into India just at the time that they were entering the Mediterranean with the Greek
Akiane and Dorian the Arians of Homer's time. Now these were Warrior people and they came into diametric collision and contrasts with the planting agricultural and trading people already present both in the Mediterranean and in India and so there was a certain similarity here in the background of these two culture worlds which begin to teach us that India is not altogether alien to us at the time times things were things that we looked at it from the perspective of modern Western man. There is a common base here. The deities of India and the deities of ancient Greece and Crete and the deities even the ancient held in Germany have much in common and they represent many in many ways the same essential forces. Now just about this time about the time of the American invasion in the
Mediterranean that the first dynasties of China appear the Shang dynasty about fifteen hundred beefy. These people like the ancient Greeks were chariot warriors they were warriors people. And they in fact come from a sort of desert town. And so between the Chinese world based in the water craft and very vigorous life. And India with the deep tropical jungle land. And the early agricultural world there there is a considerable contrast these two worlds represent a pair of opposites in the Orient one stressing the vigor of a very strongly affirmative Life Orientation. The art of living in the world is something very real in the Chinese thinking. And it contrasts that a thought of
langar in India where the jungle and you have both the blossom and the fruit on the trees at the same time. Attentive timeless also a counter-proliferation of people and of life. And when you contrast the art of China and India it comes out again. The art of China very fine collective line. And many empty spaces in the competition. In India on the other hand the teeming jungle of Hong Kong people say for instance that India has a harbor a vacuum. They can't allow an empty square inch to be there everything is filled in just bubbling with present. These are the two contracts that immediately strike up an art of the desert and analytical Warrior people and the art of a burgeoning jungle.
Now in the sphere of the arts in general. The art of the tropical zone whether on the primitive level or on the high cultural level are generally of the sculptor's craft. They are three dimensional. They are built so to say from the experience of the three dimensions of a tree. Where is the art of the northern zone. Largely the graphic are drawn. And this requires an analytical eye to translate three dimensional forms into two. There's a more and I let it go. Cerebral approach here where that of the help there in the tropical cone is more positive and life. So to say fostering not analyzing but simply imitating the contrasts can be carried also into the fears of the life view. The analytical view tends to
be magical in its emphasis. Applying force and the people are have built their lives on the killing of animals and there is a killing killing killing which again amounts to a lot of analysis. Taking the animal out of the herd. Say where the plant people are always fostering life and with a much more mystical sense in contrast to Magical a sense of the the wonder of life emerging from the earth. Now these underlying cost dating is much too simplified away but nevertheless our fundamental notion that one derives from comparing the two worlds. Let me say one point with respect to the emergence in the later periods of the high these cultures the first
are. India is not a very early period of the Indus Valley contemporary with Crete. And then when the Arians come in these warrior people there the art is suddenly finished. There was a long gap. And it is not until the fourth and third century we see that Indian art again emerges it emerges after the entrance of the Greeks into India. Alexander the Great. And then for something like 400 years. There is a very strong influence from Greece and Rome in the north western corner of India. And it's from that northwest corner that Buddhism goes to China. And the art of China as we know it derives from the period of the entrance of Buddhism. So that there are very strong Greek influences to be seen
in the arts as we know them of these two worlds. But it's interesting to contrast the classical Greek point of view with respect to their work. And what happens to the same influence in the Orient. The great stresses the personality. The humanity of the individual in the sculpture. The work of culture the draperies are very dramatic in their soul and so was stressing the activity of a personality present whereas what happened in the Oriental world where these influences have been of thought and they aren't to be taken over literally they are transformed. What happens there is that the drapery becomes. Blind as it were as though it were a veil that which a mysterious presence is showing itself. And here we get the main contrast between the two the two worlds in the web from grief to the very present. The stress
on the personality. The active creative individual. In the Orient the ratio of the individual and his dropping back into the mystical the ground of being out of which we all have come. These are the two poles you might say of our human achievement in the West stressing the personality and in the Orient live in China is called the Harvard Law. That deep mystery sauce from which all is calm. Now any attitude carried to an extreme loses its faith. So also in the West the personality of the individual can be overplayed and in the orient the loss of the individuality can be overplayed and one of the wonderful things I think that happening in our intercourse with each other today
is that these two attitudes are actually reactivating and fertilizing each other. Another influence that came into the Orient after the Greeks very much later with that of Islam. Of the Muslim world which ended India about one thousand eighty. Now you know how it is in the biblical commandment. But make no graven image. Taken very very seriously. And there is a great rejection of the art in Flom. The two great art of Islam architecture and music whereas the great art of India with sculpture. And it's a horrible thing to read actually the account. By the Muslims of their entry into
India. The deliberate and I might say rapturous mash of images that took place. So when we speak of art in the Orient in the terms that I mean we just eliminate Islam. It is as it were an anti culture. In the sense of the art of the visual and theatrical experience of. Art One might say at the very best involves a joyous affirmation of life. Life as it is it's very hard. To be an artist and not a firm. The thing that you're doing. And this affirmation becomes great when the religious ideas are after imitative of life. Consider the great art that the art of Egypt the early Egypt was extremely light worthy and
vigorous. There's the art of the great Greek. There's the art of Europe particularly from the time of the zeal and enthusiasm of the Renaissance to the barrack. And there are the arts of India at a certain moment. And China and Japan. Now what is the main Oriental idea that stands in contrast to that of the Bible and the Qur'an that here a number of times from one year to another. But I'm going to have to repeat it again it's a fundamental point. The fundamental point is this. That the ultimate mystery and the ultimate reality of being is beyond all definitions. It is beyond all imaging and image does not capture it neither does the name. One
from this standpoint cannot say that there is one God. One God amounts to a definition. That. Position is rather God has to point through himself to a mystery beyond him. But so does all life. All things point through themselves to a mystery. And so in the art you can depict either a thing or a god. But through it the mystery must shine. Through them or that mystery is the mystery of your being and my being. And the being of these objects around the. Country quietly. The ultimate goal of the art. Is to bring about in you an experience of your identity with the mystery.
It is now the object at which you were looking. Were with a mirror held up to nature but not to the nature that you see before you go to the deeper perspective the deeper dimension. As I was taught to say it were an X-ray mirror that showed you what is within nature and is yourself so that in beholding the art object there is a sense of identity with a recognition of your identity with that of which it is an expression that the fundamental call of all of these Oriental are. You are that mystery. Not the you however that you've named and classified that your friends love and cherish and your enemies. I'm glad to go but that. Never being present out of which you have come.
Now in India that it called on. The neuter noun. And it means simply that mystery out of which all things come and in India the threat is rather to the non being of that being. It is frequently called a void in China. In contrast the stress is on the rhythm of life through which shows itself. This is called The Tao of japanese dog. And that means the way the rhythm. The order of the world the very thing for and sends them away through which they are all. Being returned so we have these two principles that have to show them who they are. Now one of the Indian the now three of the Chinese and the Japanese inflections the
phrase the Indian go back to the old days since you are that mystery since the mystery since the cardinal is that mystery. There is one that a form of support all of the the micro card from the little card of the individual. The macrocosm the great cardinal of the universe have the same essential inhabiting principle of life and being. And the fire tea and we'll call that the metro card from the in-between cosmos is to be fish shaped in such a way that the inhabiting form of. The informing form of yourself and the universe will be made visible to your eye. I do not recognize these form. Of the spirit nor with them. The spirit must bring them forth represent them and illuminated our
consciousness concerning its own report that is the function of India in traditional art to make visible those forms. That support both the universe and the individual. The macrocosm and the microcosm. Now these forms are personified as a god. And so in Indian art and this is the thing that makes it strange to us. Stranger than Chinese or Japanese. Indian art drafts are a representation of the deities who are simply personification of symbolic presence representing the mystery of the reporting on. This. You have to there are. Certain sort of alienating quality if you don't know that deity if you don't understand all the symbols that are in his hands and around him you don't get the whole message. And
deities are not your deity. You may feel that they are strange when you turn to China on the other hand. This method is carried. From the fear of God. To this fear of fact in the world and that of showing the mystery through divine forms. The mystery is shown through the form of light around us to bear down the bamboo. Spread the bird flying over water. People among mountains mountains and water and so forth and through these we get the same method that India is delivering. But it comes to us through the recognizable phenomenon. Of nature. When we are looking once more at India when we turn from India in structural art to the Indian theatre we come to a very
entertaining and lively world indeed. The Indian comes in to form about the 5th century A.D. and has been strongly influenced by Greek and Roman ideas but it has transformed them who are typically Oriental point of view. And I just want to speak now very briefly of the laws as represented in the art of writing plays in India. And. Eric Copple you remember the thing which was between the tragic and the comic. You cannot have a tragedy in India. You cannot have a tragedy where ever people believe in reincarnation. The death simply leads to life again and life is simply a play of form. And to become attached to a single form to such an extent that is death is regarded as a tragedy. It's actually
impossible. So you don't get the pity and Tara the prime emotion of the dead. There are what are called eight permanent state eight flavors or eight sentiments. Which are regarded as permanent sentiment and a play must be based on one of these with others in a secondary relationship to it.
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Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind
Creativity in the Orient, part one
Producing Organization
WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program presents the first part of a lecture by Joseph Campbell.
Series Description
This series presents lectures from the 1968 Cooper Union Forum. This forum's theme is Peace, Love, Creativity: The Hope of Mankind.
Media type
Producing Organization: WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Producing Organization: Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Speaker: Fairchild, Johnson E.
Speaker: Campbell, Joseph, 1904-1987
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-10-24 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:05
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Chicago: “Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; Creativity in the Orient, part one,” 1968-05-20, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 13, 2024,
MLA: “Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; Creativity in the Orient, part one.” 1968-05-20. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 13, 2024. <>.
APA: Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; Creativity in the Orient, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from