Joseph Campbells Monomyth The Heros Journey Joseph Campbell An American professor, writer, and orator best known for his work in the fields of comparative
mythology and comparative religion. In 1949 - The Hero With a Thousand Faces. This book built on the pioneering work of German anthropologist Adolph Bastian, who first proposed the idea that myths from all over the world seem to be built from the same "elementary ideas." Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung (1875-1961) named these elementary ideas "archetypes."
building blocks not only of the unconscious mind, but of a collective unconscious. everyone in the world is born with the same basic subconscious model of what a "hero" is, or a "mentor" or a "quest," and that's why people who don't even speak the same language can enjoy the same stories Campbell argues, in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, that all stories are fundamentally the same story, which he named
the "Hero's Journey," or the "monomyth." This sounds like a simple idea, but it suggests an incredible ramification, which Campbell summed up with his adage "All religions are true, but none are literal." That is, he concluded that all religions are really containers for the same essential truth, and the trick is to avoid mistaking the wrappings for the diamond. George Lucas had already written two drafts of Star Wars when he rediscovered Joseph
Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces in 1975 (having read it years before in college). This blueprint for "The Hero's Journey" gave Lucas the focus he needed to draw his sprawling imaginary universe into a single story. The Wachowski Brothers' film The Matrix is also carefully built on the same blueprint.
Campbell sites three stages of the Heros Journey. Each stage contains various elements that build the protagonists character, bringing him closer to his (her) self knowledge the true purpose of the quest.
Stage I: Departure Stage II: Initiation Stage III: Return I. Departure (or Separation) The Call to Adventure The quest begins with the hero in a state of neurotic anguish. The quest is
often announced to the hero by another character who acts as a "herald." Refusal of the Call In many stories, the hero initially refuses the call to adventure. When this happens, the hero suffers somehow, and eventually
chooses the quest. Supernatural Aid Along the way, the hero often encounters a helper, usually a wise old man, who gives the hero both psychological and physical weapons.
Crossing of the First Threshold The hero eventually must cross into a dark underworld, where he will face evil and darkness, and thereby find true enlightenment. Before this can occur, however, the hero must cross the threshold between his home world and the new world of adventure. Often this involves
facing off against and quelling a threshold guardian. Belly of the Whale Having defeated the threshold guardian, the hero finds himself in a place of darkness where he begins his true adventure, perhaps
discovering his true purpose. This belly of the whale is a frightening and restricting place, from which the hero must somehow escape. The name for this stage of the monomyth is based upon the story of Jonah. II. Initiation: The Road of Trials
Once in the other world, the hero is repeatedly challenged with mental and physical obstacles that must be overcome. Often these take the form of a test, by which the hero improves his skills and proves his worth. Meeting with the Goddess
After overcoming the Road of Trials, the hero often encounters a goddess-like woman: beautiful, queenlike, or motherly. The hero faces the goddess and in doing so, faces his anima. By uniting with the goddess, he becomes a whole person, reconciling his feminine nature with his masculine nature. This can also be a negative encounter when the goddess is replaced by The Temptress. Campbell cites the lure of the woman, leading the hero astray (the hero is assumed to be
male). Woman as Temptress In some Hero's Quests, the hero will encounter the goddess, but before he can unite with her, he must prove his worthiness by overcoming the temptation of
the Woman as Temptress. Atonement with the Father The hero may encounter a father-like figure of patriarchal authority. 'Father' and 'son' are often pitted against each other for mastery of the universe. To
understand the father, and ultimately himself, the hero must reconcile with this ultimate authority figure. Apotheosis The Hero's Ego is disintegrated in a breakthrough expansion of
consciousness. Quite frequently his/her idea of reality is changed, he/she may find him/herself able to do new things or able to see a larger point of view, allowing him/her to sacrifice self. The Ultimate Boon
Having reconciled with the father and achieved personal enlightenment, the hero's psychological forces are again balanced. His new found knowledge, or boon, also has potential to benefit society. III. Return: Refusal of the Return
Having found bliss and enlightenment in the underworld, the hero may not want to return with the boon. Magic Flight
A mad dash is made by the hero to return with the prize. Rescue from Without The hero may need to be rescued from without by humanity.
Crossing of the Return Threshold Before the hero can return to the real world, he must confront another threshold guardian. The first threshold was a symbolic death; this is now a symbolic rebirth.
Master of the Two Worlds Once the final threshold is crossed, the hero is now free to move back and forth between the two worlds at will. He has mastered the conflicting psychological
forces of the mind. Freedom to Live With the journey now complete, the hero has found true freedom, and can turn his efforts to helping or teaching humanity.
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