Friday, May 11, 2012
The Beginnings of Heroes and Heroines
I tend to think such decisions come more out of instinct than logic for the simple reason the circumstances seldom provide the prospective hero with the luxury of contemplating his or her options.
When interviewed by reporters afterwards, people routinely say, "I did what anybody would have done under similar circumstances." They might well be right.
When it comes to long-term decisions such as those symbolized by mythic journeys and lifetime causes and avocations, we usually don't have to decide to act or not act in almost zero time. This is a mixed blessing. Rather than simply acting, we mull over what our intuition is already telling us to do. The prospective consequences cause us a lot of soul searching as well as a lot of pain.
Since we have time to think about the consequences, we know we will judge ourselves--and also be judged by others--if we make a "bad" decision. Obviously, if a person dies while trying to save another, his or her family will live forever with that loss. Yet s/he will usually be given more slack in the decision than, say, an individual who pursues a dangerous cause on the far side of the world and never returns.
As the author of two hero's journey novels and one heroine's journey novel, I often ponder the thought processes that cause a hero or a heroine to act in both immediate and long-term dangerous situations. In fiction, the danger and the negative consequences become part of stories that make people buy exciting books. In life, similar consequences send people to psychologists.
Perhaps we read about heroes and heroines to convince us that we should take the risks and become heroes and heroines in our own lives.
You can learn more about them on my website. Stop by an visit!