Alberto Benitez
3 min readFeb 22, 2018

George Lucas read Myths to Live By (Joseph Campbell) in 1972. This was the first contact Lucas had with Campbell’s work, not The Hero of a Thousand Faces, says James Corey Smith, George Lucas’s official biographer.

Myths to Live By (1972) are a collection of essays where J. Campbell tries to oppose and defend the myths versus science. In “The impact of science in mythology” (1961) presents his thesis: “For not only has it always been the way of multitudes to interpret their own symbols literally, but such literally read symbolic forms have always been — and still are, in fact — the supports of their civilizations, the supports of their moral orders, their cohesion, vitality, and creative powers. With the loss of them there follows uncertainty, and with uncertainty, disequilibrium, since life, as both Nietzsche and Ibsen knew, requires life-supporting illusions; and where these have been dispelled, there is nothing secure to hold on to, no moral law, nothing firm. We have seen what has happened, for example, to primitive communities unsettled by the white man’s civilization. With their old taboos discredited, they immediately go to pieces, disintegrate, and become resorts of vice and disease. Today the same thing is happening to us. With our old mythologically founded taboos unsettled by our own modern sciences, there is everywhere in the civilized world a rapidly rising incidence of vice and crime, mental disorders, suicides and dope addictions, shattered homes, impudent children, violence, murder, and despair. These are facts; I am not inventing them. They give point to the cries of the preachers for repentance, conversion, and return to the old religion. […] Is the conscientious teacher — concerned for the moral character as well as for the book-learning of his students — to be loyal first to the supporting myths of our civilization or to the “factualized” truths of his science? […]Or is there not some point of wisdom beyond the conflicts of illusion and truth by which lives can be put back together again?”

Wrong. Dangerous mistake. We do not need to be afraid in order to be virtuous. Fear is exactly the opposite of good and virtue. People who behave well out of fear (to prison or to the devil) are not good: they are cynical.

The social problems are complicated and have a lot of causes. It is normal to believe that all are due to a single cause, as Campbell believes. But it is a mistake. A disease has several causes: that you have low defenses, that you live in an unhealthy environment, that you have not been vaccinated, and a long, long etcetera.

George Lucas has stated that Campbell’s work inspired him to create SW. That’s why we strongly believe that SW it’s a mythological systems that give us pleasure because it causes the effect that Campbell says the myths provoque. But, does that mean that those of us who see and enjoy SW are moral people? Does it mean that we lie less, that we are more honest? Does it mean that you have to force people to see SW to make them good, does it mean that those who do not like SW are bad people?

We do not need illusions to live or to seek to be better.

There is another better reading of SW. One that explains better why we enjoy it.