|Furthermore, we have not only to risk the adventure alone; |
for the heroes of all time have gone before us;
the LABYRINTH is thoroughly known;
we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path.
And where we had thought to find an abomination,
we shall find a god;
where we thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves;
where we had thought to travel outward,
we shall come to the center of our own existence,
where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.
Hero with a Thousand Faces
|Change comes from the unfinished areas, not from pretensions of wholeness.|
Men and the Water of Life
|All of the truly important battles are waged within the self.|
—Sheldon B. Kopp
If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him
| The hero is the man of self-achieved submission. But submission to what? That precisely is the riddle...schism in the soul, schism in the body social, will not be resolved by any scheme of return to the good old days (archaism), or by programs guaranteed to render an ideal...future (futurism), or even by the most realistic, hardheaded work. . . Only birth can conquer death--the birth, not of the old thing again, but of something new. Within the soul, within the body social, there must be--if we are to experience long survival--a continuous "recurrence of birth"...to nullify the unremitting recurrences of death. For it is by means of our own victories, if we are not regenerated, that the work of Nemisis is wrought: doom breaks from the very shell of our virtue. Peace then is a snare; war is a snare; change is a snare; permanence a snare. When our day is come for the victory of death, death closes in; there is nothing we can do, except be crucified--and resurrected; dismembered totally, and then reborn. |
...The first step, detachment or withdrawal, consists in a radical transfer of emphasis from the external to the internal world...a retreat from the desperation of the waste land to the peace of the everlasting realm. . . within. But this realm. . . is precisely the infantile unconscious. It is the realm that we enter in sleep. We carry it within ourselves forever. All the ogres and secret helpers of our nursery are there, all the magic of childhood. And more important, all the life-potentialities that we never managed to bring to adult realization, those other portions of ourself, are there; for such golden seeds do not die. If only a portion of that lost totality could be dredged up into the tight of day, we should experience a marvelous expansion of our powers, a vivid renewal of life...In a word: the first work of the hero is to retreat from the world scene of secondary effects to those causal zones of the psyche where the difficulties really reside, and there to clarify the difficulties, eradicate them in his own case (i.e. give battle to the nursery demons of his local culture) and break through to... undistorted, direct experience and assimilation of [fundamental human realities].
The hero, therefore, is the man or woman who has been able to battle past his personal and local...limitations to the generally valid, normally human forms. Such a one's visions, ideas, and inspirations, come...from the primary springs of human life and thought. Hence they are eloquent, not of the present, disintegrating society and psyche, but of the unquenched source through which society is reborn. . . His second solemn task and deed therefore... is to return then to us, transfigured, and teach the lessons he has learned of life renewed.
Hero With A Thousand Faces
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