Two topics I have a lot of interest in but unfortunately have not written a lot about at this point in the blog are social narratives (i.e. the collective unconscious) as well as their tie-in with the concept of heroism. In this post, I’ll be trying to nab two birds with one stone and talk a little about both.
Social narratives refer to the fact the stories told across cultures tend to have the same story structure. For example, there is not too much difference between the Epic of Gilgamesh (an ancient Mesopotamian story written in the 2000s BCE) and Harry Potter (a story written by a UK novelist in the 2000s CE). This specific pattern was identified by psychologist Joseph Campbell as the “Hero’s Journey”. The story involves a young lad, who goes through a transformation to fight off an evil entity and come out a much better person than before.
The question becomes: why is this such a popular story to begin with? Why do we identify with it so much?
The reason is that we identify with the hero, in that in some ways it reflects our Ubermensch. We wish to transform into better people, to show the courage to fight off the chaos in our life, and to make friends and turn our lives into fulfilling ones. The Hero’s Journey isn’t just a blueprint for stories — it’s a blueprint for life.
So, in what ways can you take your story into your own hands? How can you be the hero today?