Dear darling friends,
Joseph Campbell’s THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES, may turn out to be the most influential book for 1000s of heroes. It has influenced mine.
After reading this book, I realised, ‘There is nothing great about being great. It is simple and I MUST live a great life.’
Christ, Hitler, Gandhi, Valmiki, Prophet Mohammed, Vivekananda, Hercules, Superman, Steve Jobs, Buddha, true heroes and imaginary heroes, all lived the pattern laid out in this book.
Filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Francis Coppola say, they owe their successes to the ageless pattern that Joseph Campbell identifies in the book.
The pattern described in the book can be used to compose a story that will be dramatic, entertaining, and RING psychologically true.
Campbell studied myths across the horizon of time and civilisations. He RECOGNISED the hidden pattern behind every successful story / myth; from the crudest folk tale to the highest flights of literature ever written.
He RECOGNISED, THEY ARE ALL BASICALLY THE SAME STORY — retold
endlessly in infinite variations. He discovered that all great story-telling, knowingly or unknowingly, follows the same ancient pattern.
This accounts for the universal power of such stories. Stories built on this model have an appeal that can be felt by everyone. Its almost as if they spring from a mystical universal source in the collective subconscious of human consciousness.
Amazingly, they reflect simple personal concerns that are universal in nature like “Why was I born?” Initially, they deal with ”How can I overcome my life problems and be happy?” . Later on they become, “How can I help OTHERS overcome life problems and be happy?”
Just reading the pattern laid out by him is an experience that has a way of changing life. Mine did.
I have taken the liberty of amending his outline slightly, re-telling the hero’s journey, in my own way. Feel free to do the same for others. Every story-teller bends the myth to serve his purpose. That’s why THE HERO HAS A THOUSAND FACES.
A Practical guide to be a HERO.
(Inspired by Joseph Campbell’s ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’)
1) The HERO has an routine (most cases boring) life.
2) The HERO experiences a call to ‘do something never done before’ (a challenge).
3) The HERO is reluctant. (Comfort Zone or Fear or its simply its not HIS problem)
4) The HERO is encouraged by a wise old man / woman / friend / teacher or by a personal tragedy.
5) The HERO has self doubts. Someone’s sacrifice or sage advice eggs him/her on.
6) The HERO encounters challenges and complications. He gets unanticipated assistance.
7) The HERO reaches the destination of his adventure.
8) The HERO endures the supreme ordeal.
9) The HERO overcomes the unsurmountable challenge.
10) The HERO emerges from the battle, transformed by his experience. The world is better off because HE / SHE won!
I love to imagine I will live a Hero’s life. As I mirror the steps expounded in the book, I am able to see where I am STUCK and what I need to do, to move to the next step. Hurdles and challenges, that were frowned upon earlier, now look like necessary ingredients in my journey of a Hero’s life. Wow! Its such a liberating thought.
This 10 point outline is a skeleton. Mask it with details of YOUR story. Which step are you at? 1 or 2 or 3?
New scenes, new characters, new challenges, complex webs of understanding and misunderstanding, the roller coaster of emotions, loved ones not understanding, strangers supporting, make the story interesting. The pattern is capable of unending variations without losing any of its magic.
The world is waiting. Its waiting to hear your story. It is waiting to see your face as one of the thousand faces of the HERO.
Live the HERO’s life.
With love, prayers and best wishes,