Uuuhhhhggggg (Hero With a Thousand Faces)

Author: Matthew I. Wanner

Joseph Campbell, my friends, puts a lot of stock in dreams. I know I said I wouldn’t mention it again, but he really gets into it in this subchapter The Road of Trials.
First, he talks about this period being, well, a period of trials, usually supernatural. This, of course, is where the supernatural aid from earlier comes in or where he first realizes there is some omnipresent force helping him along his way.

There’s some brief and indirect homophobia when he’s talking about one of the dreams, which seems to suggest it’s a behavioral problem, but we’ve talked about his thing with dreams before, and I still give no credence or credit to anything he says involving dreams. Dreams may be influenced, even created, by real things in our lives. That doesn’t necessarily mean they give any insight into our inner workings. Hell, most of them are jumbled nonsense.

I have extremely vivid dreams, vivid enough that they can be hard to tell from reality. When I was having them the most, before I was on Seroquel, they were usually very happy affairs and waking up from them was like losing everything I had lost at that point all over again. I’m not going to go into the extent of my losses, but they were life changing, and, it turns out, for the better. This is one of the reasons I take such strong issue with all his talk of dreams, other than it all being utter nonsense. Stories are how we make sense of our life, and largely how we see our lives, of course our dreams are going to resemble stories. Would we even really have something else to compare them to?

He talks about shaman, medicine men, essentially spiritual leaders and how their metaphorical spiritual tests served their society by, essentially, worrying about the spiritual problems for the society. He bemoans modern life because we don’t have that anymore, which I find arguable, but with more (and still a minority) people being irreligious or atheists, fine, I’ll concede that point. I don’t think he’s entirely wrong about the spiritual leaders doing a lot of the heavy lifting in that regard for the society as a whole. When you have an authority on these affairs, you can ask them and not have to worry about it yourself. That sounds incredibly unhealthy and dishonest to me, but I can see the logic behind it.

He bemoans the modern world, which I mentioned, but I feel it worth repeating just because of fucking course he did. I can appreciate this book, and despite my distaste for parts of it, I do enjoy it and can see its importance, but I like Joseph Campbell less and less the more I read it.

Back to content! Yay! The hero goes through the trials and must emerge from the other end having essentially conquered their darker half, the other side of their coin. Luke Skywalker in the cave. I’ve seen more than one fantasy work where the main character had to come face to face with the unpleasant truth about themselves and accept it to move on. I want to say this is a thing in The Sword of Shannara, but I haven’t read that since I was 14 some 16 years ago. The symbolism for this is pretty obvious, as, I think, why it is so common. We like people to overcome their darker halves, to face their own unpleasantness and conquer it. I mean, it’s a damn hard thing to do in real life.

That pretty much brings us to the end of tonight’s post. It’s short, and late, but I stayed up drinking beer and watching Critical Role because I have no discipline what-so-ever. For my $10+ Patron’s, there is a new chapter of The Old Lands up for your disapproval. Classes have been a mixed bag, math is going well, Spanish, poorly. I am terrible at language classes. Tootles.

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