Live Mythically (part 1)

I am reposting this post, as I plan to offer Part 2 in the near future. Enjoy.


The Hero Journey (or the Monomyth), spoken so much about on this blog, comes from the world of myth. Carl Jung would argue that myth stems from our collective unconscious.

The hero myth is in nearly every story you encounter and we, as an audience, never tire of hero tales.

Myth is an expression of humanity. It is an articulation of of what it is to be alive or expressions of aspects of life and self. Myth is riddled with symbols, those pictures with infinitely deeper meaning than their surface appearance. Myth is an expression of what it is (and means) to be human.

Connecting ourselves with myth can enable us, as people and as artists, to live mythically, to live heroically.

What does it mean to live mythically?

Look at the Hero Adventure.

Mythologist Joseph Campbell would tell us that heroes throughout all time have blazed the trails before us. We need not travel alone. We need not assume we are the only ones to have committed to a calling, committed to building our unique vision. “And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world”, Campbell says in his popular Power of Myth series.

As artists connect to that which makes them most unique, to who they are and to what talents they have, they are more able to express themselves in efficient, powerful and meaningful ways.

We all love heroes. Would you like to be one?

Would you like to take opportunity in this life, in this brief time you have on this spinning rock, and do something heroic, to be heroic? Heroes come in every shape, size, age and color. You need not be the healthiest of people and you need not be built like a Greek statue. Anyone can be a hero, including you.

Some fall into heroism, only realizing their heroism after the tale is done.

However, you can CHOOSE to live a heroic life.

Many artists, who are also entrepreneurs, are living heroic lives.

These individuals might have a vision for what does not currently exist, but could and they bravely and purposefully set out to manifest or build their vision into reality. Some heroes restore order to chaos, setting the universe (or themselves) back into balance and accord with (their) nature.

The hero journey is a going and a return. It is about sacrifice of self-motivated interests for something larger than oneself (one or more “others”) or anOther.

Most noticeably, the Hero Journey is about adventure and transformation. It is about going into the unknown, about carving out a path where there was nothing before. It is about overcoming our internal voices of fear and doubt and acting through them.

In such high adventure, the hero will encounter all sorts of ogres and terrible demons. The entrepreneur in the market will have a similar fate, complete with shape shifters and will sometimes make certifiable enemies. However, the hero also has opportunity to meet friends and allies, common minds and “brothers from other mothers”.

In teaching at Southern Methodist University, without pressure, we encourage our students to choose to live mythically; to live heroically. I want our students to live in accord with their individual natures, in accord with their desires and in line with their personal visions, aspirations and dreams (or internal myths).

From firsthand experience, I know that when artists choose to live mythically, to live heroically, that they are on a path of trial and tribulation. Such paths are fraught with peril, real danger.

Those who delve into the proverbial forest, without letting the monsters within eat their dreams, spirit and hopes alive, change. Such individuals have the potential to not only find change within them selves, but to also encourage and lead change in their communities, culture and nations.

In training artists to serve as Entrepreneurial Artists, I seek out artists who desire to heed the call of adventure and to explore and build their personal visions. We seek artists who have potential to lead and willfully and purposefully commit to doing so.

Jim Hart is the founder of The International Theatre Academy Norway and presently serves as Director of Arts Entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University, Meadows School of the Arts


One thought on “Live Mythically (part 1)

  1. Pingback: Top Ten Posts « The Hart Technique

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