“Whether the hero be ridiculous or sublime, Greek or barbarian gentile or Jew, his journey varies little in essential plan. Popular tales represent the heroic action as physical; the higher relations show the deed to be moral; nevertheless, there will be found astonishingly little variation in the morphology of the adventure, the character roles involved, the victories gained. If one or another of the basic elements of the archetypal pattern is omitted from a given fairy tale, legend, ritual, or myth, it is bound to be somehow or other implied-and the omission itself can speak volumes for the history and pathology of the example, as we shall presently see.”
I took the road less traveled in my recent reading endeavors and picked up a book on the comparative mythology “The Hero With A Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell.
The author was obsessed with mythology from a young age and from the various tales he devoured he thought he discovered patterns and how in almost every tale there is a similar journey.
These patterns speak to what he called a universal human nature. However, modern society makes any kind of reliance on these stories which may be able to help us to better understand ourselves and the patterns of life taboo.
“There can be no question: the psychological dangers through which earlier generations were guided by the symbols and spiritual exercises of their mythological and religious inheritance, we today (in so far as we are unbelievers, or, if believers, in so far as our inherited beliefs fail to represent the real problems of contemporary life) must face alone, or at best, with only tentative, impromptu, and not often very effective guidance,
This is our problem as modern, “enlightened” individuals, for whom all gods and devils have been rationalized out of existence.””
Photo by zoo_monkey on Unsplash.
One Comment Add yours