R: But only the oppressed can free themselves and the oppressors from the situation. And outsiders can't do it for them, so like you said, you know, a billionaire is gonna save us? No! We have to save ourselves. If somebody doesn't have healthcare and a bunch of doctors have a single payer healthcare organization, those doctors aren't going to save those millions of people. If those millions of people wake up and they realize that they have the power then they can, they can save themselves. So stories need to be about waking up and you know, my favorite story is the hero's journey. Joseph Campbell wrote a book called Hero With a Thousand Faces. Chris Vogler wrote a book for writers called The Writer's Journey, and the idea of the hero's journey is that somebody gets an invitation or a call--a call to adventure. Eh, eh, to, to and it's really an invitation to become a new person, for their old self to die and for a new person to be born. And the hero's journey is probably the ultimate story for, for bottom up energization, activation, awakening. A good example of the hero's journey I like to use is the Star Wars story.
R: with Luke Skywalker. It ends up George Lucas actually was fascinated with Joseph Campbell's writing, got to know him, and he integrated the hero's journey in to Star Wars. So you have Luke Skywalker starting off living on this backwards planet, harvesting the, these little devices, and little robot, R2D2 comes along and Princess Leia says, "please help me! Obi wan Kenobe says hey you wanna join me and we'll rescue the princess and you can learn some stuff?" And as often happens when the hero's journey arrives, arrives, and you get the call to adventure, you reject it at first. Luke says, "Nah, I don't think so. I have to do my regular stuff with my aunt and uncle." But what often happens with the hero's journey is, if you get the call once and you resist it, sometimes it comes back harder. In the case with Luke, his aunt and uncle are killed by Darth Vadar
R: And it changes his life and it literally changes the galaxy, and usually, when you accept the call, you cross the threshold ,and it's a scary threshold that has threshold guardians and there's usually a mentor, somebody to help you to do that. I've given talks on the hero's journey to people who are healers and therapists, and I talk to them about how people who get headaches or cancer-- that's a call to adventure, that's a call to become a new person. You know some people, their response is "I'll go to the doctor, I'll get drugs, I'll get X-ray'd and I'll get chemotherapy and I'll die." And for some people it's, "I'm gonna change my life. I'm gonna go on a diet, I'm gonna become a vegan, I'm gonna start exercising, I'm gonna start doing meditation and yoga," and it, and they really become a different person. So once you cross the threshold in the hero's journey, you start on a road of change and trials and challenges and those are basically, that's a big part of it, I mean, I don't want to get in the whole thing, it's a wonderful concept and it's really worth learning because it's hard to imagine. And anybody who is living a full engaged life, constantly encounters calls to adventure and opportunities to heroically wake up and be reborn again as a new person.
H2: You're reminding me very much of the "Neverending Story" and the the threshold that the character in the Land of Imagination have to cross but also the threshold that the reader of the book has to cross when the, eh when the reader realizes that he's being called upon to name the next character to name the princess.
R: I'm not familiar-- I saw the movie but it didn't have that, I never saw the book, and certainly in that you've got to suspend your disbelief and open yourself to new ideas.
H2: uhumm. How does the hero's journey relate to Bottom Up Empowerment? In other words, I guess I'm saying how do you get somebody who's down and out to recognize the challenges, the invitations that are being given to them to become their own hero?
R: Well, this is where I get in to this whole concept of Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, people need to wake up. They need to become aware that they are oppressed and that they can do something about it. And once that happens, they can start learning what it takes to become free. What it takes to change things. So many of the people in the U.S. are asleep. They're so engaged in everyday jobs, creating debt to buy things they don't need, watching entertainment that distracts them from what's important, that they are literally asleep, and they don't know that they are slaves in a system, that they are stuck in a system, that they have so much more power to control than they think they do, and that's part of it, is waking up. There's a book called Callings and I can't think of the name of the author right now, but it's a wonderful book and it, the first step of the hero's journey is to get the call.
R: But to get the call you have to hear the call, or see the call, or experience the call. And, the book talks about how it can come to you in dreams and meditations and fantasies. you can trip upon it, but not everybody sees it. Some people are just stuck in their own, field of poppies, like in The Wizard of Oz.
H2: chuckles, mm right
R: Like Dorothy and the- her crew fall asleep. And you have to wake up. And waking up is, is something that-- other people can help you wake up. New experiences can help you wake up. But, when you wake up, understanding that there's a process, this hero's journey that you go through--that it's hard, that you're old self died, that your new self is facing challenges. And you've got to find new resources and skills, new allies-- those are all pieces of becoming the new person that you're being reborn as. The hero who can stand up to your old self and the, and cure the world, because that's what the hero's journey is all about. Getting a call, because your world needs healing. It needs change and it takes a heroic person to be brave enough to let go of the old ways, to be reborn, to develop all these new skills and then to go back to the old world and to be both the heroic person in the new world and the person who can help to bring about the change in the old world. And this is what so many myths are about. What Campbell discovered and wrote about is, in The Hero With 1000 Faces, is there are a thousand myths, a thousand stories from a thousand cultures that all tell the same story
H1: And Campbell had a big impact on the, I, I read several of his books along with some of the Jung. He was also very much influenced by Young.
H2: You're also taking me back in time because I did my master's thesis in the education on Paulo Freire. Interestingly, the way I presented is ah, I wrote this script where I was in-interviewing a friend of mine who I had stand in for Paulo Freire, and of course I had to teach this friend how Freire thought but I was asking questions and then I opened it up to the audience to ask questions and some of my professors said that they forgot that they weren't actually talking to Freire, that they got so drawn in to the dialogue and the question and the, the urgency of his ideas, that they felt that they were. And I said to them well you know of course you are talking to, to him, he's talking to all of us and as we answer and ask questions that I'll have to go back to reading Freire again.