The Death of Hero and the Monomyth

26 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? DVR that for me so I can binge 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 Orange is the New Black (̶i̶n̶s̶e̶r̶t̶ ̶o̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ ̶s̶h̶o̶w̶ ̶h̶e̶r̶e̶)̶,  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…DVR that so I can fast forward through it later. There are subpoints: Refusal of the Call, Supernatural Aid, The Crossing of the First Threshold…
We like this one.
We like to be re-born.
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.
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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