The Hero’s Journey and its Connection to Visionary Fiction

HERO’S JOURNEY

What is the Hero’s Journey, and why do so many visionary writers like George Lucas use it to craft their stories? To answer that question, we need to understand where the Hero’s Journey comes from.

Joseph  Campbell recognized that myths around the world follow a similar template. He referred to this as monomyth. The hero’s path consists of 17 stages.

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As it would be too lengthy to explain all the stages in one post, let’s read how Campbell explains the journey in “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.”

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. 

The hero returns from the journey transformed from the rigorous challenges he faced along the way. George Lucas used the Hero’s Journey as a template when writing “Star Wars.” If you would like to learn more about the mythology behind the movie, watch George Lucas’s interview with Bill Moyers.

APOTHEOSIS 

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The Hero’s Journey structure has qualities that can make a story visionary. In the Apotheosis stage, the hero faces death and slays the enemy. The ordeal leads to an expansion of consciousness. Sound familiar? … Continue reading

Harold Ramis: A Comedic Visionary Crosses Over

By Eleni Papanou

March 3, 2014

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“When I was twelve, I read the line, ‘An unexamined life is not worth living.’ I took it seriously to heart. And literally. Like it was a requirement in life, akin to the Buddha’s suggestion that we maintain ‘sufficiently inquiring minds.’” Harold Ramis interview in Shambhala Sun

When Harold Ramis passed away February 24, 2014, the world lost a visionary actor, director, and writer. “Was honored to have gotten to work with Harold Ramis, the Buddha of Comedy, Brilliant, humble, radiant. We’ve lost an icon,” actor Rainn Wilson tweeted.

As a child, I laughed when I watched him in Ghostbusters, never thinking that he was more than a funny guy playing a nerd. But now I view him as much more. Although he wasn’t a Buddhist, Ramis’s movie, Groundhog Day, of which he directed and co-wrote, became an “underground Buddhist classic” (Shambhala Sun, 2009). The plot is simple: Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connor, cycles through the same day until he sees the errors of his ways and evolves.

Harold Ramis intended for the movie to be non-denominational and was taken aback by the reaction given to the film. “It always seemed ironic to me that it [Groundhog Day] didn’t lead people to recognize the commonality of all their points of view, but rather, ‘This must be about us and only us.’” He said in response to observing various religious sects’ views toward the movie.

I think Ramis was being a little too critical. As Visionary fiction authors, we seek commonality by writing dogma-free … Continue reading

Villains of Visionary Fiction

By Eleni Papanou

Visionary Fiction villains are my favorite of all villains because they have a chance to evolve beyond their fiendish personalities. What sets apart visionary fiction from other genres is  good and evil are seen as acts rather than the core of a person’s existence. In other words, even villains can evolve.

Since Star Wars is so popular, it’s the perfect story example to use in this post. It also allows readers not familiar with the genre to better understand what sets apart visionary fiction from other genres.

One of the most well-known villains of visionary fiction is Darth Vader. We hated him when he destroyed Princess Leia’s home world and forgave him when he turned his lightsaber against the emperor to save his son. Why did we overlook Darth Vader’s sins?

 He  evolved…

We watched Darth Vader defeat his dark nature and embrace the light. It’s a very common archetypal theme in mythology that Lucas drew upon using Joseph Campbell’s template of the hero’s journey.

 I create my own villains using a similar template, although they don’t always end up embracing the light. I love to explore the interior struggle of a villain. There’s a reason why they do what they do, and I flesh out my antagonists as intensely as I do my protagonists.

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In Unison,  my first book in the Spheral Series, Master Kai is  seduced by ambition; however, there’s an obvious ambivalence he demonstrates throughout the book. I indicate this by how he relates to Damon, the protagonist.

 “We can’t escape history, anymore … Continue reading