“The Official Level” According to Joseph Campbell

I can hear you asking the question now…

“Why all the recent posts on Pulp Fiction’s Mythological depth, lately, Richard?” 

Because we’ve got big trouble in today’s world. 

Look around.

You can see it. You can smell it. Everywhere you go, you can feel it. 

But just what exactly is this trouble, you ask? 


The Mythologist Joseph Campbell best summed it up in 1985 in an interview with Tom Collins. In it, he said:  

“What has happened in our [society] is that on the official level the accent is on economics and practical politics, and there has been a systematic elimination of the spiritual dimension. 

“But it exists in our poets and our arts. It does. You can find it here. It’s in a recessive condition, but otherwise people wouldn’t have any spiritual life at all…

“There’s an awful saying of Spengler that I ran into in a book of his, Jahre der Entscheidung, Year of Decision, which is the years we live in now. He said, ‘As for America, it’s a congeries of dollar trappers, no past, no future.’

“When I read that back in the 30s I took it badly. I thought it was an insult. But what is anybody interested in? And then Lenin says, “When we get ready to hang the capitalists, they’ll compete to sell us the rope.” And that’s what we’re doing. 

“Nobody’s thinking of what their culture represents. They’re wondering whether the farmer in the Midwest will vote for you because you sold their wheat to the Russians, or what not. 

“It’s a terrible lack of anything but economic concerns that we’re facing. That is old age and death; that is the end. That’s as I see it. I have nothing but negative judgments in respect to that….

“Christianity isn’t moving people’s lives today. What’s moving people’s lives is the stock market and the baseball scores. What are people excited about? 

“It’s a totally materialistic level that has taken over the world. There isn’t even an ideal that anybody’s fighting for.”[1]


The reality today is sadder then Campbell described.

Why, you ask?

Because the Poets and Artists who bring us the Spiritual Dimension of our Heritage and Culture, those Ideals worth fighting for…

These days they’re in short supply.

Even shorter supply than they were in 1985! 

But the truth is, we need them now more than ever…


Just how did this short supply come about? 

In his famous interview with Bill Moyer, Campbell explains exactly how. 

And what’s more, he warns about what happens to people when this short supply makes them Spiritually impoverished. 

“Greek and Latin and Biblical literature used to be part of everyone’s education. Now, when these were dropped, a whole tradition of Occidental mythological information was lost. 

“It used to be that these stories were in the minds of people. When the story is in your mind, then you see its relevance to something happening in your own life. It gives you perspective on what’s happening to you. 

“With the loss of that, we’ve really lost something because we don’t have a comparable literature to take its place.”[2]


There is only one possible solution to all this.

We’ve got to bring our Heritage back. 

We’ve got to empower the next generation of Poets and Artists with the Intellectual and Artistic underpinning of our Occidental Mythological Traditions that we have thrown away.

We have to rediscover our Heritage and Religion, realize that they are not opposed to each other, and bring the magic back!

That’s why I write about the Mythological Depth of Pulp Fiction!

Because only once we understand it can we begin to solve our problems and live lives of meaning.

Because only once we understand it can we begin to re-discover who we truly are.  

Because only once we understand it can we have a Pulp Fiction Renaissance!


Richard Barrett

07-13-2022, 07-31-2022


[1] Collins, Tom. “Mythic Reflections: Thoughts on Myth, Spirit, and Our Times, An Interview With Joseph Campbell.” The New Story: Life from a planetary perspective, IC#12 (Winter 1985/1986): 52. https://www.context.org/iclib/ic12/campbell/

[2] Campbell Joseph and Moyers, Bill. The Power of Myth. Anchor Books: New York, NY: 1991. Pg. 2.

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