Death of Hero and the Monomyth

29 May

Time now to delve into a bit of JoJo Campbell (and some others); time for many things, it seems, like locking myself out of my home for a few hours (double-manhattan in hand, including maraschino cherry), or peeling scabs off old wounds, now itchy from regeneration.
But back to our fundamental hero and fundamental myth structure:
a call to adventure.
a road of trials.
achieving the goal.
a return to the ordinary world.
application of the goal.
All laughable now; we no longer tell stories like this. We get bogged down with number one. What adventure? What call to it? TiVo that for me so I can fast-forward through the Amazing Race later.
It’s why we melancholically hang on to Osiris, Prometheus, Christ, Buddha, Moses… the Bible, The Odyssey, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars.
The Matrix.
We still love a good story although to follow anyone through seventeen stages along the journey is laborious and time-consuming; really cuts into American Idol time, and so there is a big demand for Cliffs Notes (remember those?). It’s happened with Nietzsche’s Superman, too. Not too many know he started out as a philologist fond of aphorism–heavy burdens distilled into pithy sentences. Tersely cogent points. We reduced his Superman to “God is Dead” and labeled him a syphillitic heretic. We tacked him on along with the Nazis. There’s your Cliffs Notes and what they do. I was never a fan. Despite their Shakespearean glossary.

Departure, Initiation, Return. Simple structure. Still too long. It’s quite analogous to what’s happening in our own lives, only…TiVo that so I can fast forward through it later. There are subpoints: Refusal of the Call, Supernatural Aid, The Crossing of the First Threshold…
Rebirth.
We like this one.
We like to be re-born.
Saved.
Re-saved.
Paused. Rewinded. Sometimes fast-forwarded.
We like the celestial eraser, however, the most. Dip me down into the water and pull me out a new man.
More: The Road of Trials, Marriage, Woman as Temptress.
We like this one too. Assigning blame. The Madonna and The Whore all in one.
Mother?
Atonement With the Father. Here’s where things get sticky with me. In the gospels, Jesus wrestles with his impending death in the Garden of Gethsemane, before submitting to his Father’s will. Too campy. I’ll have to get back to you on that one, as the years progress.
Even more: Apotheosis, The Ultimate Boon, Refusal of the Return.
We can dissect much more here–like the mythopoetic men’s movement (don’t wind me up for that one). But it’s Tuesday. And this is a lousy blog, not some philosophy class or bloody soundboard for intellectual junk. Just think: all of our scripts are spawned by the structure of myth, and, though attractive in their elemental forms throughout the millenia, we prefer to twist and pull at the framework, obtusely tailoring the fairy tale until it’s stretched out enough to look like something more convenient, devoid of any expectations. Low platforms. Safe dives.

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4 Responses to “Death of Hero and the Monomyth”

  1. Anonymous 29/05/2007 at 2:24 PM #

    Great entry Lx. We hold on to those fundamental guidelines because at our hearts, we’re still little kids who believe in The Prince and The Princess and The Knight in Shining Armor.
    J

  2. slyboots2 29/05/2007 at 2:42 PM #

    In our heart of hearts, we believe that we ARE the prince and princess and the Knight in Shining Armor. That’s why the Idols are so popular. I think that there are millions who ache to belong to that brother/sisterhood. There are millions aching for meaning. But they aren’t equipped for a mythic quest. Only for a short bus ride to the mall.

    Sad, sad, sad. And the maraschino cherry on top of it all. I just love those damned things.

  3. chapman 30/05/2007 at 2:59 AM #

    what better place than a “lousy” blog to soundboard some intellectual junk, you git! i like what you say. i do like my tivo, though. i don’t fast-forward through anything but commercials though. i promise.
    i wish i could have seen you locked outside your house with a drink in hand.

  4. Lx 30/05/2007 at 9:49 AM #

    chapfu, it was only amusing for the first 15 mins. drained drink in hand, barefoot, no shirt…but the last 2 hrs. were a tiny bit irritating. just a tiny bit.

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