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Heroes, Mythology, and Religion
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Christo



Joined: 19 Nov 2009
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:18 pm    Post subject: Heroes, Mythology, and Religion Reply with quote

My webcomic recently did a strip about Joseph Campbell's hero's journey formula. I started a conversation about it at the XKCD site, but as good as those guys are about discussing science, I was a little underwhelmed by the discussion. I figured you guys might have more to say. I'll get the ball rolling with the exposition that accompanied the strip:

When The Matrix first came out, my younger cousin said to me, ďItís basically just a retelling of the New Testament.Ē I found this to be extraordinarily dumb. Sure, there are similarities, as todayís strip points out, but to say that The Matrix is a retelling is like saying that my younger cousin is a copy of me, when the truth of the matter is that our similarities come from common ancestors, i.e. our grandparents. The New Testament and The Matrix follow a formula that was developed way before the written word ever was.

Joseph Campbell wrote a book called The Hero with a Thousand faces. Itís a brilliant examination, through ancient hero myths, of man's eternal struggle for identity. At least it is according to some dude on amazon.com. I donít know. I never got through the first chapter because itís as unreadable as my local newspaper. But his concept is a solid one. As long as humanityís been able to speak, itís been telling the story of the Chosen One.

Chart out the similarities between Gilgamesh, Oedipus, Odysseus, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Bruce Wayne, Eragon, and any other hero you can think of. Chances are theyíre an orphan with special talents that set them apart from normal people. They have a mentor, allies, special equipment. They have a momentous crossing of water, a descent into the underworld, and a renaming. They die, and they are resurrected. And they save the day. And, and, andÖ you can relate to them.

To me, thatís the genius of popular religion. Moses, Jesus. Vishnu, Mohammed. While these guys are allegedly divine, theyíre also accessible. A friend of mine got upset when I mentioned that Jesusí life has all the components of a heroís journey. He felt like that implied that it was made up. Well, it was made up. I mean, people made it up, or the divine made it up. One way or another, a story was created that people respond to, and thatís pretty damn cool.

You guys have thoughts?

EDIT: Removal of link.
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Last edited by Christo on Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mizike



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I liked you better when you were cluttering up Central Park.
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Yorick



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

who the hell are you?
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Sam the Eagle



Joined: 02 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Expecting Kanye West any second.
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picturesofsky



Joined: 13 May 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TELL ME MORE ABOUT YOUR AMAZING WEBCOMIC! WHERE IS DB COOPER WHEN YOU NEED HIM?
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E-boy



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 1552
Location: Virginia (Much barfiness)

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*wonders how many other web pages that particular message has been splurged all over like a badly used tissue*
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andrew



Joined: 13 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My only regret is there's really no way for me to make that comic and Toolbox McGee to sink further into obscurity.
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Christo



Joined: 19 Nov 2009
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yorick wrote:
who the hell are you?


I'm a longtime sinfest reader who enjoys intelligent discussion but rarely uses message boards because as Brian K. Vaughan said, "It's like looking for darkness with a lantern."

E-boy wrote:
*wonders how many other web pages that particular message has been splurged all over like a badly used tissue*


Just my site and XKCD, like I said. Google it if you don't believe me.

Anybody have any interest in actually talking about mythology?
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Yorick



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I looked at the webcomic referenced in the first post. I was going to comment about its lack of a forum of its own, until I realised, it doesn't have a forum of its own because NO ONE FUCKING CARES ABOUT YOUR AWFUL, AWFUL SO-CALLED COMIC.

It's so bad it uses apparently pre-made heroic-styled 3-D figures for characters, in static poses, who don't even look at each other (usually at the ground), and based on the dialogue hate themselves and each other so much that every other sentence is an insult. I *think* you're trying to be funny. I don't think you're succeeding.

I also looked at the XKCD thread mentioned (it was the first result on a google search). The posters at XKCD are remarkably polite, civil people, with reasonable things to say and I dare to venture, a great deal of intelligence.

Intelligence is in abundance at Sinfest. Politeness and civility are not. We don't know you. We don't owe you. Your first post here is effectively self-promotion. For that, I, at least, hate your fuckin' guts.

Have a lovely evening and a pleasant tomorrow! Come back anytime! Smile


(edit to note: I didn't see Christo's second post before posting.)
(edited again to note: I'm basically an unhappy person these days and I forget sometimes that I shouldn't take that out on people I don't know.)
(edited one more time to say: "Silent Night" by the Dickies is the best damn version of that carol EVER.)
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E-boy



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fine I believe you. It was still a pretty brazen bit of self promotion in a forum not particularly well known for responding well to such things.

Unlike Yorick I don't hate anyone's fucking guts, but that's mostly a matter of laziness as hate is just too damn much work.

As far as mythology goes. Effective story telling themes show up over and over because A) they are effective and B) they were there to be borrowed. Perhaps at some point these themes showed up in separate narratives isolated from the others we now so commonly see side by side in stories, and over time they were incorporated in other stories as a package. Religions, being primarily mainly concerned with stories, explanations, and reassurance that there is more to life than what we see, are certainly going to make use of those same themes. Whether you view them as a metaphor to explain or demonstrate some desired behavior or trait or as 'just made up' is I suppose up to you. Christianity, and before it Judaism have borrowed quite a lot from other cultures and beliefs. Or at least it certainly appears that way and the fact that some of these borrowings occur coincidentally at around the time these early believers had contacts with cultures promulgating those stories tends to re-enforce the belief that it was borrowing. Whether the borrowing be thematic such as borrowing the common heroic saga story line or outright theft and modification of whole deities.... Then again I read too much material written by anthropologists and archeaologists. It's spoiled my taste for religious belief of any kind.
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Dennis J. Squidbunny



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 3714
Location: AUSTRALIA YOU FAKIR

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a start you seem to have just copy and pasted the comments that went with your comic on your website here so obviously you're going around saying the same thing to people which is not so great.

Next, you don't seem to be trying to kick off a conversation as going HEY GUYS I LEARNT SOMETHING NEW and that something new you learnt is pretty much exactly the first thing anyone learns in their first year Uni screenwriting class that they drop out of because they are busy with their own hero's journey playing X-Men: Children Of The Atom in the uni bar.

On top of that, you left Goku off your list of hero's who go ont he hero's journey. Yes, stories have a continuum, yes it has been happening since stories were first told. Yes, we are hard wired to follow stories that follow this formula.

I'm not sure what you want to discuss? Other than saying Yes, well done! there isn't a whole lot to say. I mean, we could reprint all 12 steps right here and then look at them, step back and nod and be assured that we sure do know the hero's journey right there.

Or we could explore why you only listed male heroes when Dorothy totally follows the same hero's journey in Wizard Of Oz. Hell, Foxy Cleopatra follows the hero's journey! Maybe it's because a majority of the folklore & mythology we are exposed to is from paternal cultures.

Actually, if you think about it, matriarchal belief systems may not follow that journey. If you look at Tonga, who had a matriarchal belief system right up until a few hundred years ago, Hikuleo doesn't follow the same trials and tribulations. I think? I actually can't remember.

I'm not sure where this theory that we're all up for intelligent discussion comes from, when the majority of us walk the line between psychotic, obnoxious drunken children and psychotic, obnoxious drunken cranky old people who sit around in their retirement home rambling about the price of an onion in 1934.

I think your hero's journey looking for... whatever the fuck you're looking for -- validation? is not over yet. Keep hunting, brave Beowulf!
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Yorick



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got a hero's journey IN MY PANTS

next time I hope to make it to the stall


GUYS ITS BROWN AND STICKY GUYS HELP GUYS
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Yorick



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(true story, that actually happened to me once at camp. it was not a pleasant afternoon, I tell you)
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Yorick



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey wait where's everyone going? Hey I got more crappy stories to tell! guys!
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mouse



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:45 am    Post subject: Re: Heroes, Mythology, and Religion Reply with quote

well, see, you start out saying this:

Christo wrote:
Joseph Campbell wrote a book called The Hero with a Thousand faces. Itís a brilliant examination, through ancient hero myths, of man's eternal struggle for identity. At least it is according to some dude on amazon.com. I donít know. I never got through the first chapter because itís as unreadable as my local newspaper.


and i'm immediately figuring that you are not really going to be too much use in a discussion because you start out by admitting that you have never managed to actually read the thing you are theoretically discussing. which means we will be discussing what you think campbell wrote, rather than what campbell actually wrote (which i am sure there are people around here who know)....and see, we've had that sort of discussion with religious types who tell us what the bible says, even when people can quote actual sections of the bible disproving what the first person says. really, it gets old really really fast.

then you say:

Christo wrote:
I'm a longtime sinfest reader

which leaves one to wonder how you can have missed how 'festers who respond to someone who suddenly leaps in with a first post expecting everyone to validate his/her comic/theory/religious dogma without first giving us a chance to figure out who you are.

ah, but!
Christo wrote:
who enjoys intelligent discussion but rarely uses message boards because as Brian K. Vaughan said, "It's like looking for darkness with a lantern."


so you've never even bothered reading the forum before you decide to come demand stuff from us. and your reason for avoiding them really makes me wonder why you you would suddenly be wanting to 'discuss' something with us. i mean, if that's what you think of "message boards".


go away, change your username, read campbell, read the forum...and then maybe your question will be worth discussing here.
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