Why is it that we love Heroes so much? Why do we watch films and read books and listen to tales of people who overcome difficult conditions? Who measure in the battlefield and fight valiantly? Who confront their fears and exhibit courage, even when the odds are against them?
Because that is who we all aspire to be.
Joseph Campbell summarized a frequent story that’s followed closely by personalities from ancient mythological stories through modern day movies. He believed that, not just are humans drawn to this story, but that all of us have the capacity to live it.
Let me introduce you.
He was a powerful thought leader and author who wrote many novels. As a college student, I had a part-time occupation working for the Joseph Campbell Foundation, where I had been introduced to his thoughts.
There is a movie, Finding Joe, that explores Campbell’s ideas about the Hero’s Journey. I highly suggest it! acting scripts plays skits heroes superheroes features modern day philosophers, religious leaders and writers like Deepak Chopra and Ken Robinson as well as musicians, professional athletes, and my old boss from the Foundation.
The Hero’s Journey
From the film, author Alen Cohen states”We’re not different from the characters we see in our stories and in our novels. They are us. It’s one journey.”
The hero’s journey is characterized by a few key elements. First, there is a separation along with a call to experience. The hero embarks on a trip to an unknown or unfamiliar place (physically or emotionally/spiritually). On the wayhe encounters challenges and temptations, and he must face death (either physically or metaphorically). It’s by overcoming that experience that they are reborn and changed. Then they have earned the name of”Hero.”
There are entire books written about this, so I’m summarizing here. However, the point is that the narrative line is the same, even though the details can be dramatically different.
The Creative And Call
There are lots of different”calls to adventure” that will jump start a hero’s journey. And we can experience it repeatedly in a life. In the movie, some of the instigators were physical challenges like a crazy skateboarding trick. Occasionally they’re thrust upon you, like a serious medical illness or tragic experience. There can be geographical separation, like moving to a new place, culture or country.