The Hero of Myth
“To have no heroes is to have no aspiration, to live on the momentum of the past, to be thrown back upon routine, sensuality, and the narrow self.” ~Charles Horton Cooley
I like the TV show Henry Danger. I know it’s supposed to be a show for teens, but I also know many adults watch it. If you have never watched it, I suggest you view a few episodes. It may have weak plots with huge holes, but it’s usually very funny. It’s also good as an illustration of The Hero at an early age.
Henry Hart, AKA Kid Danger, has the ability to move very fast. He can jump out of the way of bullets or grab a knife thrown at him out of the air. A recent three-part episode ends with Henry permanently losing his super power. I know the show is fiction. Yet, when Henry sat dejected after losing his power, I felt very sad. This shouldn’t happen with a character I know is fictional. It does for a good reason. Henry is a personification of The Hero of Myth as a youth. This hero represents a very important part of each of us. As such, it isn’t fiction at all. So we are affected at a deep level when we see The Hero hurt in any way.
About The Hero
Luke Skywalker in Star Wars was another personification of this Hero of Myth. George Lucas was a student of Joseph Campbell who wrote about myth and its importance to us. Hercules, Jason, and David (as in David & Goliath) are other examples of this hero.
The general rule is that the hero has to face a powerful enemy and defeat them. It may be an individual, an army, or a government. The hero may get injured, but still has to come out the winner. In the Henry Danger episode, Henry is Dejected after losing his power, but decides to continue fighting bad guys as a superhero’s sidekick. He doesn’t give up. A true personification of The hero.
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” ~Joseph Campbell
“Our culture has filled our heads but emptied our hearts, stuffed our wallets but starved our wonder. It has fed our thirst for facts but not for meaning or mystery. It produces “nice” people, not heroes.” ~Peter Kreeft
Now if you think this is all just a lot of hero-worship, you are wrong. The hero of myth is a symbol. It is a representation of the human soul and spirit. Like The Hero, our soul finds itself trapped in a situation is doesn’t like. The world of matter and materialism is not a pleasant place for the spirit and soul. It isn’t always pleasant for the body and mind either, but it’s worse for the spirit and soul.
Like The Hero, the soul faces powerful opposition. The forces of darkness and materialism are strong. Not only the material ones such as governments and businesses, but also the spiritual ones. The fallen angels and demons don’t want the soul to awaken. They also don’t want awakened souls saving the world. So the soul/Hero faces an uphill battle. That is why any good spiritual school teaches students to work hard and deal with adversity. They are training heroes, not couch potatoes.