What do you do when you have fifteen hours to kill on a plane from Toronto to Hong Kong? Well, you could sleep which I have done before. It does pass the time but when you get to Hong Kong you are thirteen hours ahead; you left at, say, 10:00 AM in the morning on a Saturday and you arrive in Hong Kong at 2:30 in the afternoon on Sunday, the following day. The problem us that if you slept on the plane you will have no chance of sleeping that first night and probably very little on the next few nights. My strategy now is to keep myself awake as much as possible for the entire trip. I will doze off but I really try to keep it to a minimum. So what do I do.
For one I read then when my eyes are too tired to read I watch movies. when I combine that with all the food that they give us during these fifteen hour flights it more or less fills up fifteen hours of sitting in one seat. I was well prepared for this trip. I took four books to read. I admit that I only finished two of them by the end of the trip but I was busy in China.
The first book that I read going to China was called. The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell. Although I had heard a lot about Joseph Campbell this is the first book by him that I have read. It was a great book. There is a lot that I took away from the book. I would recommend that anyone who has an interest in mythology, religion or the symbols that shape and are shaped by our collective consciousness, read this book, There were a couple of sections in the book that particularly resonated with me.
On pages 106 - 107, Campbell is talking about how myths must be respond to the environment. "Myth must be kept alive. the people who can keep it alive are artists of one kind or another. the function of the artist is the mythologization of the environment of the world."
On page 122, Campbell talks about who is responsible for interpreting the divinity inherent in nature for us today, who interprets unseen things for us. "It is the function of the artist to do this. The artist is the one who communicates myth for today. But he has to be an artist who understands mythology and humanity and isn't simply a sociologist with a program for you."
On pages 204 - 205 Campbell discusses what is meant by "illumination". He compares it closely to the Buddhist concept of illumination; seeing the eternal in all things, finding release from desire of all things, seeing the world clearly, infinitely. He says that this is not just for saints and monks. It is also for artists. The real artist is the one who has learned to recognize and to render what Joyce has called the 'radiance' of all things, as an epiphany or showing forth of their truth."
These are the parts of the book that I found most interesting and relevant to art. The entire book is fascinating. I would highly recommend it. the book was so good that I finished it before I arrived at my destination in Nanning, Guangxi.