I want to talk about Campbell

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01 Aug 2022 13:08 - 01 Aug 2022 13:13 #369684 by Rosalyn J
I'm redoing the IP and I'm thinking about the questions its bringing up for me. I'll eventually post everything in my journal, but I wanted to ask a few questions. My first question is "Is the hero's journey the only thing worth writing about?"
Here is my answer:
Warning: Spoiler! [ Click to expand ]


If the hero's journey is not the only thing worth writing about, what else is there?
Is there such a thing as a communal heroic journey?
Does the focus on the heroic act/hero's journey produce any positives or negatives for society, if so, what might they be? If they are negatives, how might they be mitigated?
I'd be interested to hear you're thoughts

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01 Aug 2022 13:41 #369685 by Carlos.Martinez3
In my own studies, I like to find parallels. For me, the Hero's Jounrey is much more than a idea to research. How I have used it along side many other ideas is why I am here today. I don't defend it as much as I try to give it away. I say give it a try. Try to understand it. When I began my own understanding of it, it led me to my own humanity. You find the Yodas in your life. They are never space creatures or wizards but other humans. Right next to us. This is part of a reflective path many take with or without a Jedi tone or focus. The Hero' Journey turned out to be a very sefl reflective prosess that turned thought into action for me. There is a part of thr journey when thr person realizes they are a part of the story. That awakening happens in all humans at some time.

Are there negatives... the Myth is full of HEEDS. Every storey we tell one another is some type of warning or a heed or a thought to pass so when in doubt, remember those before you who have. This is the power and danger of the modern day myth. It can be ... monetized and eventually lost. Returns are good. We find them in the Myth and in the story's we share.

Self responsibility is a path for humans where they can begin to understand more. This causes anger immediately in most when we find out what is what. Getting past that and continuing to seek... THAT can be preached sermoned and Ted talked to death. There are so many ways to become more responsible in our own paths. It's a human thing more than a Jedi thing truly. What better way to HUMAN things than that which we all have direct connection to, our humanity? Even the bad stuff.

What happens when we have people who take time to think and be a bit more aware of these things? You get places like this. With people like this. With ideas like these.

I love Herculese - but I know what Douglas Monroe did and who Desmond Doss is, two grateful and real examples of when I served in their branches of the human potential. I love the spirit of nature. I love the human culture. James Waren Flaming Eagel Moody can be met face to face. As can many others who lead ideas today. We can meet our Elders. Most time, they are waiting for us. That's why I am a fan of the Heros's Journey. It had the potential to point US to US.

My thoughts

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01 Aug 2022 17:33 #369691 by River
Replied by River on topic I want to talk about Campbell
I see this as a kind of macro / micro issue.
On the very micro level - the individual level - I think maybe the hero's journey is all that there is. To some degree or another everything about anything we do is a process of being invited by circumstance to do a thing, figuring out how to do it, doing it, and learning from it. Even making a peanut butter and honey sandwich could roughly fit the hero's journey mold if you really wanted it to, imo. And some of the journeys are entirely internal: an invitation from the self to learn how to deal with anxiety attacks, gathering information, perhaps from sources that could be considered wise or mentors or repositories of mentor's writing, practicing, failing, and returning from the internal journey with the knowledge if how to cope. On larger levels though, I think there's a lot of different stories we can learn from. There's a lot of wisdom and sacredness in day to day mundane living. And yeah, sometimes quests require the specific skills talents, and knowledge from several people working together - each person solving one part of the puzzle - and they all learn and benefit and get rewards.

As with most everything, i see pros and cons with having a focus on the hero's journey. On the positive side, understanding that every person and every culture has a bit of the same story in them can be unifying, imo. It helps us to understand and value each other's paths even if they're very different at first glance. On the other hand if we place too much emphasis on just one journey format it can be easy to, consciously or not, place less value on stories that don't easily fall into the hero's journey mold.

I guess moderation is the key: there is value in the traditional hero's journey but there is value in nontraditional versions as well.
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01 Aug 2022 19:54 #369694 by Manu
Replied by Manu on topic I want to talk about Campbell
I feel that the Hero's Journey is essentially the path of transformation. As River said, it can be applied to anything, as all magick is simply the science of change in conformity to will. The Hero's Journey, to me, is a reminder, a roadmap that tells me that as difficult as things may get, we can get through, and we will be transformed by the experience.

I don't think it is inherently individualistic. We all stand on the shoulder of giants after all. So I see the individual triumph of the Hero as a communal triumph: each and every person who has been a part of their path in one way or another, their mentors, parents, peers... the hero's triumph belongs to all of them.

I think one of the potential pitfalls of the hero is to think himself as distinct or "above" others once he has gone through transformation. Wasn't that the final test of the Buddha?

Do. Or do not. There is no try.
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02 Aug 2022 21:38 #369708 by Loudzoo
There are certainly potential negatives to a superficial interpretation of the Hero's Journey. This video does a great job at highlighting them - in much the same way that Roz did in the OP:


Although Campbell spoke regularly of 'following your bliss' and 'becoming the hero of your own journey' those epithets aren't the core of his books at all. In The Hero with a Thousand Faces he is quite explicit (emphasis mine):

“ . . . through the wonder tales – which pretend to describe the lives of legendary heroes, the powers of the divinities of nature, the spirits of the dead, and the totem ancestors of the group – symbolic expression is given to the unconscious desires, fears, and tensions that underlie the conscious patterns of human behaviour. Mythology, in other words, is psychology misread as biography, history, and cosmology.”

Essentially, then, the Hero’s Journey sketches the path taken in order to find meaning in, and understanding of, existence: wisdom. It is inherently existential in nature. However, Campbell goes further:

“ . . . to grasp the full value of the mythological figures that have come down to us, we must understand that they are not only symptoms of the unconscious, but also controlled and intended statements of certain spiritual principles, which have remained as constant throughout the course of human history as the form and nervous structure of the human physique itself. Briefly formulated, the universal doctrine teaches that all the visible structures of the world – all things and beings – are the effects of a ubiquitous power out of which they rise, which supports and fills them during the period of their manifestation, and back into which, they must ultimately dissolve. Its manifestation in the cosmos is the structure and flux of the universe itself

He concludes:

"Man [sic], understood however not as 'I' but as 'Thou': for the ideals of temporal institutions of no tribe, race, continent, social class, or century can be a measure of the inexhaustible and multifariously wonderful divine existence that is the life in all of us".

For Campbell, this is the real Hero's Journey - it is very specifically, the precise 'psychological' realisation of: "Thou art that", "Tat Tvam Asi", "The Kingdom of God is in You" - and so on. It is only ever a spiritual realisation. It really has nothing to do with the superficial fame, fortune, success or celebrity we often associate with our 'heroes' and with 'heroic' acts. It is the recognition of the miraculous in the (so-called) mundane.

This message clearly has its own problems, not least that this journey will almost always be in opposition to society at large. The final paragraph of the book seems remarkably bleak, and brutally dismissive of any other perspective:

"The modern hero, the modern individual who dares to heed the call and seek the mansion of that presence with whom it is our whole destiny to be atoned, cannot, indeed must not, wait for their community to cast off its slough of pride, of fear, rationalized avarice, and sanctified misunderstanding. It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse. And so every one of us shares the supreme ordeal - carries the cross of the redeemer - not in the bright moments of their tribe's great victories, but in the silences of their personal despair."

I don't entirely agree with this, but I'm sure it is the valid experience of many . . .

In any case, given that the Hero's Journey is explicitly the following of the universal doctrine (known elsewhere as the Perennial Philosophy) it may not be the only thing worth writing about, but within this context, it kind of is!

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03 Aug 2022 11:37 - 03 Aug 2022 11:38 #369714 by Skryym
"Community" is a lesson I've toyed with creating for my lesson bank someday. Each myth and archetype Campbell speaks of is only powerful because it is collectively believed (subconsciously or otherwise) by a body of people (indeed, perhaps all of humanity). Beyond Star Wars, most of us are here because of shared ideas and values of what a hero looks like: calm, meditative, and harmonious with their environment. A collective mythology is necessary to thrive in a town, business, club, sports team, etc. Yet there is a real and understandable fear in refocusing myth from the individual to society.

Perhaps it is out of fear that we have a tendency to perceive Campbell's "mythos" at the individual level: a society which collectively believes in a myth is powerful and cohesive, but it can also be incredibly dangerous (Fascism and the Cult of Heroism, the South and the Lost Cause). Some of Campbell's critics dismiss him as a "slippery slope" to these aforementioned movements - and not without some validity.

Contemporary culture is fearful of shared mythology ("ideology" is probably the more common word). And for good reason - but there seems to be an equal danger in holding so many competing myths that we collapse from the inside. I am afraid of both extremes. There's a delicate balance to be walked: myths belong to everyone, but should not be forced upon anyone. The "journey" is always done alone, but is never separate from the world. For me, it is safest to stick with "small" collective myths: those shared by towns, clubs, businesses, bakers, mechanics, farmers, gardeners (and thanks for stipulating this in the introduction, Ros). In my mind, they occupy the inflection point - the optimal capacity for good with the least opportunity for bad.

Wonderful dialogue here - I wish questions like these were explored more often in IP journals. Why place the impetus entirely on the student to ask all the important questions? Could we have a bank of questions for each video to guide students a bit deeper past mere summary of Campbell?

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03 Aug 2022 14:52 #369715 by Carlos.Martinez3
When does potential become pressure, I totally love that question. You got me hooked, I will be sharing this with the wife.

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03 Aug 2022 15:05 #369716 by Rosalyn J
Hi

I just want to say I love and appreciate all the responses. There is so much MEAT in these that I haven't really had time to unpack. When I do have time to give these responses the respect they deserve, it's likely I will have more questions

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