The Absence of the Hero in Modern Society

The Absence of the Hero in Modern Society

The following is a guest post by writer: Will Myles

Since I was a child, the aura of tales has perplexed and comforted me.

Being able to duck out of reality and into a different world is something we take for granted and the conjurations we can conceive are incredible. We see heroes slay vicious dragons and villains throwing many a spanner into the machine of serenity. But a thought arose on my mind lately:

We never chant for the hero without struggle.

Think about it. A hero cannot exist without strife. It is the overcoming of struggle that sees the hero born – a phoenix from the ashes. We never consider the protagonist of a tale a hero until they prove themselves in a domain of competency. If there is no struggle to overcome, the character placed on the journey is unrelatable. We love to see them fail and return stronger. It is an essential tenet of The Hero’s Journey.

This begs a deeper question…

With our love of tales involving heroes and their evolution, why do we see people desiring life without struggle?

Our wants have been sabotaged.

Desire for comfort and shelter is the lowest rung on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This means a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes on our bodies.. But in the Western World, these have become a given. We expect them. It’s almost as if they could be removed from the hierarchy completely. So, what comes above that?

Employment. Good overall health. Resources. And this is where the ladder is being sabotaged.

Big tech understands that they couldn’t keep you on their apps by their users bragging about the fact they have clothes or a house. But the type of clothes and house? This can be exploited.

With the click of a button, we are immediately exposed to myriad different realities of our fellow humans. We see a guy covered in Gucci in his 20s with a Rolex and a Lamborghini. We see women frequenting yachts and the finest tables of the glitsiest clubs.

And desiring a life like the one we see these people have is a way to keep people active. The typical user will flick open Instagram to get a taste of that millionaire lifestyle, all while jacking off to a webcam girl on their other screen. You see, desire is perpetual. We always want more.

The trick that the big companies use is to keep you on the second rung of the hierarchy to desire material possessions, using the flashiest research on psychology and neuroscience.

But the Hero could never imagine such a life.

Sitting atop Maslow’s Hierarchy?



By keeping people trapped on the second step of the ladder, purpose becomes irrelevant to most. But to those unhypnotised by the tactics of Big Tech, they start to ascend to further levels, all leading to purpose waiting at the mountain top to greet the Hero like an aged mentor.

When you see people with a hero mindset obsessed by a mission, they are able to swim in lower qualities of life. They accept the beaten up Ford Fiesta. They accept the $10 T-Shirts. Because they’ve transcended these things. The material hijacks the brain until the brain becomes too obsessed with higher meaning.

So, what can one do about this?

A search within.

While a modern day game places likes and engagement as the crown the kingdom must fight for, the Hero sees no such trickery. There are bigger dragons to be slayed.

So, ask yourself…

What is a dragon that you can’t allow to terrorise the kingdom any longer?

For me, it’s the misrepresentation of writing at an early age. The way teachers use it as a tool to monitor progress. While writing has its place in this domain, where is the allowance of free flowing creativity? Where’s the art on the page? Where is the next Hemingway or Steinbeck?

So, what is it for you?

You have to define this.

Without your dragon, you’re a villager. Perhaps this might be the life you believe you desire. But it leads down a cul-de-sac. One where you won’t find houses at the end, but a sense of dread and purposelessness.

Once you seen the dragon terrorising the kingdom, it’s time to step up.

You can’t allow such a force to scorch villages and forests to ash.

But you will reject the call. It’s part of your Hero’s Journey. Yet, in time, you’ll come to realise you can’t ignore the siren beckoning. Be it with acquiescence, you must take the first step away from home.

You start a Hero’s Journey feeling alone. Yet as you continue down the beaten path, you will discover allies who will aid you in your conquest. If you’re possessed by purpose, people can’t help but be attracted to you. A man with a mission is an inextinguishable candle, albeit with the winds of defeat blowing firmly with their own purpose.

As you gather allies, you will approach the dragon. And this will be no day-long battle. This will take months, even years to slay such a foe.

But the siren is too strong. Defeat cannot become an option. You’ve come too far.

We enjoy the Hero’s Journey because it is able to summarise itself by concluding. We may look back on the Hero’s tale of twists and turns, and acknowledge a profound movement.

Except… life doesn’t work like that. Not always.

Sometimes, a purpose has no conclusion. If you deemed your purpose as one to eradicate poverty, this noble cause is impossible. Yet many still undertake the call of duty to do so. And many of them are unfazed. How can that be? If we love resolution so much?

Because these people are able to reflect and understand that life is about MULTIPLE Hero’s Journies.

Think of your purpose as a ship and new challenges that come to you as the cargo. The ship may sail from port to port and exchange cargo multiple times, trading tea and spices for ammunition or whatsoever it may be.

But the ship remains the same.

It is this mindset you must incorporate into the Hero’s Journey to fully unlock the potential of your inner Hero.

While you may sail through storms and pirates after desired treasure, you become resolute in your mission. Unwavering in the face of the wicked and deceitful. Embracing of the tide and change.

A final thought for you, my friends…

It is no man’s fault that he falls foul to the tricks of the Devil at first. But for you to remain blessfully under his guise is a sin like no other.

You know that there exists greater things beyond a selfie on a boat and being surrounded by flocks of Medusas.

Do not allow yourself to pack away such wisdom. Embrace it. Feel it. Own it. Your destiny is calling you.

We need you, Hero.

If you liked Will’s work, check out the rest of his writing on Twitter.

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