the hero architype

Hurricane Harvey, The Hero Archetype, And Giving Everyday People Meaning

After watching coverage of Houston, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, I’m beginning to truly appreciate the Hero Archetype…beyond simplified definitions or literary patterns.

But first, allow me to back up a bit…

Long before the written word, we used oral storytelling. We would mythologize something which means we would put it into a narrative.

And, the hero myth is probabaly our most popular narrative — found in all human cultures (and Disney films.)

Now, consider The Chauvet Cave, in southern France.

Stay with me. The Chauvet Cave has cave paintings estimated to be 37,000 years old…

So, if those paintings are that old, ask yourself this:

How old are our tales of mythological heros?

I know this sounds crazy, but I’d guess remnants of hero myths could possibly be 100,000 years old.

Tales For Emulation

Most stories tell us how to act,…providing cautionary tales, or tales for emulation.

In other words, humans have been picking and choosing what acts to honor and promote… and which ones to tamp down.

I’m sure you’re familiar with Biblical Stories, Aesop’s Fables, Grimm Fairy Tales,… or, Hans Christian Andersen.

A fable is a story that points out some aspect of human behaviour and has a moral attached to it. […] A fable is often instructional, and gives advice on how to deal with life situations in the real world.
— Rohini Chowdhury, LongLongTimeAgo.com

The Hero Archetype Points The Way

Now, it makes sense our most fundamental story is the hero archetype.

And, that’s elucidated in Houston.

You see, even at its most polarized, the United States has set aside petty differences,…relatively speaking. Citizens have found common ground praising, acknowledging, and cheering everyday people doing heroic deeds.

Essentially, what we’re seeing is community come together to orchestrate and update the hero archetype—showing us what actions are worthwhile… and… what actions we should look up to.

Hero and Pet
When it comes to the “heroes of Harvey”, politics and ideology are irrelevant. Why? Because actions are more powerful,…and heroic actions are the most powerful.

Finding Deep Meaning

You probably know that *real* virtue is infinitely more admirable than shallow trivial pleasures.

And, I think it’s fair to say a heroic deed gives life tremendous meaning, however insignificant it may seem.

Anyways. All of this has me wondering if corporate Learning and Development can use the hero myth, promote tales of heroism, and arrange the mundane in a way where it’s possible to find deep meaning, every day.

‘Cause everyday people shouldn’t need hurricanes — or dragons — to achieve great deeds.

Image credits: (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


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