Bob Dylan: “There is a book called the I Ching….”

A reader wrote to me after seeing the post about Richard Wilhelm and the I Ching about an interview with Joseph Campbell, where he mentioned Bob Dylan’s role in saving the Bollingen Foundation… (Dylan apparently also introduced the Beatles to marijuana, but that is another story.)

“Or the time [Joseph Campbell] said that Bob Dylan “saved” the Bollingen Foundation (the Jungian-oriented publishing house Campbell was associated with at the time). When I asked him what he meant, he said the house was on the verge of going under at one point, when Dylan happened to mention, during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, about his interest in the I Ching. The most prominent translation on the market at the time happened to be the Wilhelm version, published by Bollingen–and soon copies were flying off the shelves. It instantly made Bollingen a huge amount of money, and they were up and running again. Great stuff.” Source

Interview with Bob Dylan, Chicago Daily News, 1965

I just don’t have any religion or philosophy, I can’t say much about any of them. A lot of people do, and fine if they really do follow a certain code. I’m not about to go around changing anything. I don’t like anybody to tell me what I have to do or believe, how I have to live. I just don’t care, you know. Philosophy can’t give me anything that I don’t already have. The biggest thing of all, that encompasses it all, is kept back in this country. It’s an old Chinese philosophy and religion, it really was one . . . there is a book called the “I-Ching”, I’m not trying to push it, I don’t want to talk about it, but it’s the only thing that is amazingly true, period, not just for me. Anybody would know it. Anybody that ever walks would know it, it’s a whole system of finding out things, based on all sorts of things. You don’t have to believe in anything to read it, because besides being a great book to believe in, it’s also very fantastic poetry. Source

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