“The shortest distance between two people is a story.”
There’s a lot of talk about being heroic these days. I’ve participated in a lot of discussions on the subject, and I even agree with it, to a certain point. I think it’s very important that people believe in their own ability to seize thier potential and create their own destinies.
When you choose a narrative, you also choose the problems that goes along with it. And a Hero is born for struggle. Oh, sure he’s born for victory, for fame, for glory. But primarily, he is born to struggle. Struggle, and redemption.
If you choose the Hero as your archetype, you get everything.
Choosing a Narrative
We’ve talked quite a bit about your power to choose your story, but what we’ve never addressed is the fact that choosing a narrative at all gives that story the power of direction over your life. You chose that pattern, and now consciously or unconsciously you’re going to live up to it, simply because that’s how your life is now framed.
So if you choose to be a hero, especially if you know anything about the so-called “Hero’s Journey”, most especially if you have a quest, every daunting obstacle will become a “trial.”
Now, I’m not dissing heros. If you’ve got trials, obstacles, challenges, simply seeing them as one more test of worthiness is a really good, healthy way to handle them.
But I grow less and less convinced of the
inevitability of struggle.
But as long as you see life as a struggle, it will be. It’s important, in the same way that a butterfly breaking out of its cocoon must struggle in order to gain the strength to fly.
All I’m saying is that struggle is not inevitable.
But when you built it into the narrative, it’s hard to see that. You could, theoretically, dodge the narrative if you were an earnest disciple of Chaos Magic, but oh Lordy, is it tough when you’re trapped inside the story you wrote.
And so, although I may have heroic aspects of myself, I have moved away from heroism as a narrative for my life, and moved into what I call “The Adventurer”.
The Adventurer is different from the hero in that there is no quest, or if there is, it’s only the passing fancy of the moment. The Adventurer lives by his wits and likes a challenge, but because he doesn’t fall in line with societal expectations he is often rejected for his perspicacity. Because of this, and because of his thirst for adventure and challenge, he moves from place to place. Although he often makes good friends, the connections are fleeting, unless they choose to journey with him. He follows his own personal code, and is totally upright within it, although he may seem duplicitous or uncaring.
Most importantly, to me, the Adventurer does not struggle under some great destiny. He has no trials, no terrifying depths to plumb in his own soul; he simply swings from own adventure to another with the ease and grace of a trapeze artist. The gap between does not intimidate him.
He gives up honour, glory, greatness; the boon that only the hero can grant the world—- but he owns his own soul; he understands that struggle is only a struggle for as long as you must have things other than they are.
Here’s hope for the heroes:
I think there’s plenty of room for these narratives to co-exist side-by-side. After the hero’s journey, for instance, when he comes back into the real world he’s often disillusioned; he has changed too much to ever be comfortable here again.
If you’ve ever felt that way, I would argue that is the ideal time for a transformation between the Hero and the Adventurer. You don’t need to reassimilate; you don’t need another quest. Simply accept that you can make your way on your own now, and cast an eye to the horizon, going whereever your heart desires.
“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”