Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The heroic journey of a common man: Benefiting society one journey at a time
by Rode, Francis W., III, D.Litt., Drew University, 2012, 161; 3535939
Abstract (Summary)

Life will always be a mystery, society will always be "evil, sorrowful and inequitable" (Campbell, Myths 104), and the energy of the universe will always flow through our hearts, minds and bodies while we are alive. Of these things, I am certain. Consequently, for us to live peacefully on earth, each of us must be born anew by taking the hero's journey, and as Joseph Campbell has shown, this has been the case throughout time as evidenced metaphorically and symbolically by all myths, religions and folk tales. We must depart, wander through the wilderness of our unconscious, and return to society self-aware and strong in spirit. Of this I am equally certain, whether we call the process maturation, salvation, or quest.

In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell discovers "astonishingly little variation in the morphology of the adventure" (36), explicating just how fundamentally similar life is for all of us, regardless of gender, race, creed, or station. I have modernized and secularized the hero's journey by showing how little difference there is between Gilgamesh's journey, considered the quintessence of all hero's journeys, and my journey, despite almost five thousand years between our lives and our different ranks; a king and a common man. As Campbell states, everyone should make the quest, for no one need be selected by a Supreme Being or anyone else, and each will benefit both society and themselves by doing so.

Taking the journey today, more than sixty years since Campbell's book was published, is more challenging because of the tremendous influence of science and technology, which has given a false sense of security regarding the nature of humanity. The many essential dualities of life, such as good and evil or love and hate, endure; thus, humans have the free will to create peace, destruction, or some combination of the two. The choice rests entirely on whether humans sufficiently hold innate selfishness in check in the service of humanity, thereby preserving the planet for future generations.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Phelan, Virginia B.
School: Drew University
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-A 74/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Comparative literature, Philosophy, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Campbell, Joseph, Hero's journey, Humanity, Spirituality
Publication Number: 3535939
ISBN: 9781267896742
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