Heroes and Villains

The Hero's Journey

The Hero’s Journey

Heroes and villains, it seems that we are either one or the other. Of course I am referring to men here as I continue on with the problem of the masculine in today’s world. Of course, one man’s hero is another man’s villain which makes the problem even more difficult to resolve. On the collective level, men don’t really have a definition of what it is to be a hero or villain.

Super hero or super villain?

Super hero or super villain?

Women have their own ideas of what constitutes a hero or a villain, which are just as varied as it is for men. It depends for the most part on which side of an arbitrary line one stands behind in making these judgment calls.

I would like to approach the problem with the consideration that everyone is both hero and villain. At different times during one’s life, both take turns emerging from the depths of one’s being; and often, such appearances are beyond conscious decisions that are made.

And to bring this different approach forward, I want to follow the Hero as described by C.G. Jung and by Joseph Campbell. In reading and considering this description, almost all women will testify to this “masculine” quest, this “heroic” quest:

“The hero is the ideal masculine type: leaving the mother, the source of life, behind him, he is driven by an unconscious desire to find her again, to return to her womb. Every obstacle that rises in his path and hampers his ascent wears the shadowy features of the Terrible Mother, who saps his strength with the poison of secret doubt and retrospective longing.” (Jung, Symbols of Transformation CW 5, par. 611)

Avatar - Hero on a Journey

Avatar – Hero on a Journey

It kind of sounds pale in contrast to the latest media versions which feature men battling the forces of darkness to protect innocent women and children that form the plot of most “heroic” films. But when you slow down and take the time for reflection, you will find that all the heroes are engaged in conflict with both themselves and others and at the core of these conflicts is the feminine, the earth mother, the captured and/or enslaved woman, the evil witch – all faces of one’s personal complex relating to “mother.”

Of course there is battle needed with the shadow figures, the monsters that issue from black holes ready to exterminate the hero; authoritarian figures who would strip the hero of all his power and leave him naked and exposed to the ridicule of the world; and, all number of all around bad guys who make life a living hell for the hero. You will find all of these in any good heroic tale at the cinema. You will also find all of these lurking within each individual male, found in the stories of their dreams which trace the journey of conscious development.

Of course most of us can’t deal with being our own heroes and villains, so we banish them deeper into our psyche and project the left over energies onto others in the outer world, others who we then name heroes and villains.

About A Naturist's Lens

I am a therapist that focuses on the use of active imagination, photograph, dreamwork and Jungian Psychology in order to uncover the whole person hidden beneath layers of personae, complexes and clothing.

Posted on January 6, 2013, in Jungian Psychology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Dear Friend,
    Thank you for this Post.
    Your words translate the very complex collective situation that “Nature” created for us man to become “whole” which of course starts with the individual.
    It is amazing to see what the enormous potency of energy that we invested in Technical Knowledge has created with our Intellect, (the masculine).
    And it is amazing to experience that our EGO considers/belief, that man “only” consist of Ego – he is the King.
    But pitifully, we as man are still unconscious of the fact that a King need a Queen who stands on a equal level as the King.

    And not until we discover this separateness on a conscious level – we will be haunted by our Anima in every thinkable way and continue to live in a illusion in a world were only the word “realistic” and “masculinity” seem to rule.
    In my opinion, the “curse” for us as man will last/continue, until we change the “way of our thinking” – “free ourselves” – and discover (become conscious) that we have to integrate and develop the Feminine IN ourselves.

    I think that many people refuse to liberate themselves because of the simple fact that in our common way of thinking, the first thing that we ask ourselves is what we can “gain” in terms of materialistic issues.
    And the answer is well known, we don’t gain in getting more money, or a new car or a bag made by Gucci – no, we can gain nothing in our outside world.

    But only to “know” this is not enough to lift the curse – we have to actually practice with this experience until we find Balance – until the Queen and King are equal, on the same level.
    Speaking for myself,….., I find myself still on a far distant from my goal of Balance.
    I might feel hopeless at some times, but then I remember that I discovered one of the many qualities of the Feminine and that is “patience and surrender/submission”.

    And when I practice this, I find less need to use one of my many mask – or symbolical speaking, I can lift the visor of my helmet.

    Thank you again that you structured my thoughts – I wish you and your wife a pleasant trip and safe arrival in the”Sun”.

    • Dear Ric – the important clarification that you make that a king needs a queen (ego needs anima) is vitally important. Thank you for saying this here. 🙂 Balance is the key, balance in the psyche, balance in relation to self, balance in relation to other. Thanks for the good wishes, our vacation is well begun. 🙂

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