It will not be easy for my biographers. Each one
of them will have their own hypothesis about
the evolution of the hero. They will all be correct.
I am already finding a great deal of pleasure
in their mistakes.

-Freud, after destroying his archive.

The brain can witness, at any given moment, more than eleven million units of information, but we can only be aware of around forty. How is this possible? Our attention wanders, the voice inside us does not cease to appeal to the void (inner monologue), and in the meantime, we play our role in the theatre of life to the best of our abilities. However, that role and the manner in which we organize this enormous amount of information are determined by a narrative procedure.

Our life is gradually conformed by narratives that we either identify with or abhor, but where we inevitably project ourselves. In the field of neurology, this process is known as “confabulation”, but this is not necessarily a pathology: it is the way in which we weave existence into the shape of a story.

It’s true, long before psychoanalysis people were already telling stories. Freud’s invention made us realize that perhaps the way we were telling ourselves stories lacked a true consciousness; in other words, lacked true beauty: the false beauty of the spirit’s affections, the totalizing vocation of desires and affects ––all that was already codified in the plots of mythology.

However, decoding and organizing our own narrative in a healthy way is a personal task. In a sense, it also consists of clarifying, for ourselves, what our role in life is, what the task we exist for is.

Psychologist Viktor Frankl asserted that only prisoners who could place themselves in the center of a future narrative (and those that were ingenious and healthy enough to survive the lager conditions) could survive in Nazi concentration camps. Primo Levo, another famous Nazi recluse, mentioned the emotional importance of washing every day —whether this was done with the camp’s filthy, muddy snow water: having the feel of oneself through the ritual of quotidian hygiene was, at that moment, placing oneself in the center of a story where the protagonist was still a man —not a prisoner or someone sentenced to death.

The hero doesn’t always get off lightly: for Greek tragedy, the hero is strictly a server of goddess Hera in the Iliad, and in a more extensive sense, any character who carries out the will of the gods. Monotheist religions erased Greek and Hindu Antiquity’s mythical legacy, a language which has had to be rehabilitated to speak of the present, since it was exhumed from the claws of superstition and academia by capable minds like C.J. Jung or Mircea Eliade, two of the greatest scholars on religion.

In countries of Judeo-Christian influence, men still tremble at the thought of turning thirty-three, the age Christ was when he died —which is why the adulthood crisis tends to adopt the shape of messianic comparisons and impressive spiritual reconversions. All of us, men and women, make abrupt turns throughout our lives in hopes that our novel’s narrator or our film’s director will take note: we want to change our habits, countries, friends, partners, work, etc. We want to change: we are living characters.

The plots of traditional stories are set in motion because of conflict: starring in a heroic narrative also allows us to deal with life’s unpredictability, placing ourselves in a position where we can confront it with our will. Today’s dragons and monsters live inside us, they are stirred by economic inequality and social injustice, but they are still in charge of guarding a great treasure. For the hero and  warrior, the path of fear and of desire are the same.

It will not be easy for my biographers. Each one
of them will have their own hypothesis about
the evolution of the hero. They will all be correct.
I am already finding a great deal of pleasure
in their mistakes.

-Freud, after destroying his archive.

The brain can witness, at any given moment, more than eleven million units of information, but we can only be aware of around forty. How is this possible? Our attention wanders, the voice inside us does not cease to appeal to the void (inner monologue), and in the meantime, we play our role in the theatre of life to the best of our abilities. However, that role and the manner in which we organize this enormous amount of information are determined by a narrative procedure.

Our life is gradually conformed by narratives that we either identify with or abhor, but where we inevitably project ourselves. In the field of neurology, this process is known as “confabulation”, but this is not necessarily a pathology: it is the way in which we weave existence into the shape of a story.

It’s true, long before psychoanalysis people were already telling stories. Freud’s invention made us realize that perhaps the way we were telling ourselves stories lacked a true consciousness; in other words, lacked true beauty: the false beauty of the spirit’s affections, the totalizing vocation of desires and affects ––all that was already codified in the plots of mythology.

However, decoding and organizing our own narrative in a healthy way is a personal task. In a sense, it also consists of clarifying, for ourselves, what our role in life is, what the task we exist for is.

Psychologist Viktor Frankl asserted that only prisoners who could place themselves in the center of a future narrative (and those that were ingenious and healthy enough to survive the lager conditions) could survive in Nazi concentration camps. Primo Levo, another famous Nazi recluse, mentioned the emotional importance of washing every day —whether this was done with the camp’s filthy, muddy snow water: having the feel of oneself through the ritual of quotidian hygiene was, at that moment, placing oneself in the center of a story where the protagonist was still a man —not a prisoner or someone sentenced to death.

The hero doesn’t always get off lightly: for Greek tragedy, the hero is strictly a server of goddess Hera in the Iliad, and in a more extensive sense, any character who carries out the will of the gods. Monotheist religions erased Greek and Hindu Antiquity’s mythical legacy, a language which has had to be rehabilitated to speak of the present, since it was exhumed from the claws of superstition and academia by capable minds like C.J. Jung or Mircea Eliade, two of the greatest scholars on religion.

In countries of Judeo-Christian influence, men still tremble at the thought of turning thirty-three, the age Christ was when he died —which is why the adulthood crisis tends to adopt the shape of messianic comparisons and impressive spiritual reconversions. All of us, men and women, make abrupt turns throughout our lives in hopes that our novel’s narrator or our film’s director will take note: we want to change our habits, countries, friends, partners, work, etc. We want to change: we are living characters.

The plots of traditional stories are set in motion because of conflict: starring in a heroic narrative also allows us to deal with life’s unpredictability, placing ourselves in a position where we can confront it with our will. Today’s dragons and monsters live inside us, they are stirred by economic inequality and social injustice, but they are still in charge of guarding a great treasure. For the hero and  warrior, the path of fear and of desire are the same.

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