Has it become a cliché? Did the film series, Star Wars, do this to our culture? Joseph Campbell started it, George Lucas took it up, yesterday I saw a film that did the same, The Apostle, by Robert Duvall (he wrote, directed, starred). Here it is: The protagonist has a dramatic confrontation and fails, then he goes out and mulls over the failure, he exits his time away, renewed, energized, with great clarity. Of course, the end of this story is bringing this wisdom back, into world. The Hero believes he knows the correct path. If he is a religious figure he will begin to preach. This result is NOT always for the better. Coincidently, yesterday I also listened to the broadcast of Fresh Air on the NPR (National Public Radio). Peter Ross Range was interviewed. Mr. Range has written a soon-to-be-published book, "1924: The Year That Made Hitler" (available January 26, 2016). Apparently 1924 was Hitler's contemplative year away. Peter Ross Range compared Hitler's 1924 to Christ's year in the desert. You see, in the Hero's Journey a person exits his year away with ideas either good or bad. In college I took a course entitled "The Philosophy of Religion". The instructor, John S. Dunne, spoke of the commonness of life's journey. He said we all may take this Hero's Journey, given the proper sensibilities. We all can become a sage. Most apt to this conversation, John S. Dunne explained that the founder of every major religion followed similar paths: Christ went out to the desert, Buddha sat under the Ginkgo tree, Moses went up to the mountain. Of course, this going away and coming back is not restricted to religious figures. It happens in real life and in mythology. There is Odysseus, Steve Jobs, Luke Skywalker, and Darth Vader. They each returned from a time of contemplation. For each, this time away had been preceded by failure and disappointment. Luke Skywalker returned to do good, but Darth Vader embraced the Dark Side upon his return. Why am I telling this story? Because I believe the same conditions are available to everyman, and to me. Last year I looked at my past failures: I once again experimented with three-dimensional abstraction, then with figuration mixed with abstraction. I feel I have begun this year with great insight and great acceptance. Only time and effort will tell. I worry about self-delusion, but, as I say that, I believe this time is different. I believe that a man can change. Like others in the Hero's Journey, I am accepting my failures. I have reflected on my failures. I believe I see more clearly. I want to believe that now is the time for me to proclaim that which is true for me.
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