Miscellaneous / Heroes, Legends And Superstitions

Heroes, Legends And Superstitions

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Autor:  anton  20 December 2010
Tags:  Heroes,  Legends,  Superstitions
Words: 1817   |   Pages: 8
Views: 246

Heroes, Legends, and Superstition

The ideology about heroes is that, a hero (male) or heroine (female) is an eminent character archetype that typically symbolizes key traits dignified in the originating culture. Heroes are common in every culture, not just in folkloristic societies. You can find heroes and anti-heroes in every society and culture. They may have different meanings in each culture but they are still present. A hero in one culture could be considered an anti-hero in the next one.

What was shown to be obvious about cultures in the readings is that a hero is prevalent in almost everything. As Joseph Campbell has shown in his work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces is that in cross-cultural studies of myths of ancient people all of the diverse stories that were told is that they are all telling the same small number of myths but in a slightly different language. This language meaning the different ways that these cultures have shown their myths. Our society today may not understand it and vise versa. With these myths Campbell found that there was an archetypal plot line within the myths which remained consistent from one culture to the next. Many of the ancient hero myths came up with a common factor for a plot line and the archetypal story.

"Campbell showed that the story always began with an Everyman just living his hum-drum life. Suddenly and unexpectedly, either by chance or by choice, Everyman is either pulled out of his ordinary life or chooses to leave his ordinary life to launch into a great adventure, whose ending he cannot know at the beginning.

The adventure, according to Campbell, then goes through several specified stages. The hero will journey into a dark world where he meets various forces or entities which he has to deal with. Along the way he encounters a teacher who gives him the instruction in new skills he will need to learn to successfully achieve his goal. No later than his part of the journey the hero becomes consciously aware of what that very specific goal is.

Striving for his goal, the hero is challenged to his limit, reaching a peak culminating experience, what Campbell calls a "supreme ordeal." The result is that the hero "gains his reward" and is forever changed by the experience. He often gains some new powers and sets off with them. Eventually the hero reemerges to his society with these new abilities bringing a boon to his society which somehow restores that society." (http://www.karmastrology.com/rek_hero.shtml)

The basis around this quote was for George Lucas' Star Wars saga. "Luke Skywalker was simply retelling of the worlds oldest myths for a new generation." (http://www.karmastrology.com/rek_hero.shtml) The journey that a hero must go through is and can be a vigorous and long passage. Whether it is Luke Skywalker, a football player of a New York policeman, they still have to work towards being this hero.

Adolph Bastian first projected the idea that myths from all over the world appear to be constructed from the same "elementary ideas." That is when Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, named these elementary idea "archetypes," which he believed to be the building blocks not only of the unconscious mind, but of a collective unconscious. In other words, Jung believed that everyone in the world is born with the same basic subconscious model of what a "hero" is, or a "mentor" or a quest," and that's why people who don't even speak the same language can enjoy the same stories. Jung developed his idea of archetypes mostly as a way of finding meaning within the dreams and visions of the mentally ill." (http://www.jitterbug.com/origins/myth.html)

Campbell's involvement was to obtain this thought of archetypes and utilize it to plan out the common underlying structure behind religion and myth. Campbell summed up all of this by saying "All religions are true, but none are literal." That is, he concluded that all religions are really containers for the same essential truth, and the trick to avoid mistaking the wrappings for the diamond." (http://www.jitterbug.com/origins/myth.html) This is saying that all of the religions have the same indispensable truth but what you see on the outside may not be what is really on the inside. This can also refer to American saying "don't judge a book by its cover," because inside you never know what you are going to see.

The myth with football from Alan Dundes has been compared to sexual acts. On recent studies of American football, it is said that football is a male initiation ritual. American football has the biggest fan base out of all the American sports. The game of football is considered to be a mans sport, but if you loose at this sport you are considered to be a woman or other derogatory words referring to a woman or her genitals. "The object of the game, simply stated, is to get into the opponent's end zone while preventing the opponent from getting into one's own end zone." (Dundes, A, p. 204) Some of the positions in football can look and sound homosexual because the team is all men.

"The object of the game is to "score," a term which in standard slang means to engage in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex. One "scores" by going "all the way." The latter phrase refers specifically to making a touchdown. In sexual slang, it alludes to indulging in intercourse as opposed to petting or necking. The offensive team may try to mount a "drive" in order to "penetrate" the other team's territory. A ball carrier might go "up the middle" or he might "go through the hole." A particularly skillful runner might be able to make his own hole. The defense is equally determined to "close the hold." Linemen may encourage one another "to stick it to В‘em," meaning to place their helmeted heads against the chests of their opposite numbers to drive them back to put them out of play."

As you may see a lot of the sayings in this quote refer to something of a sexual nature when it is talking about football. When first hearing about how to play football the sexual implications are not thought of. But after Dundes puts it all into perspective it is easy to see his point of view. Another quote I found very interesting was from a man, David Kopay. David is one of the few homosexuals that are in professional football that was willing to admit his sexual orientation. Kopay made a comment about how the coaches talk during football which is quite amazing, but because of its explicit content I had to censor the quotation.

"The whole language of football is involved in sexual allusions. We were told to go out and "f*** those guys"; to take that ball and "stick it up their a****" or "down their throats." The coaches would yell, "knock their d**** off," or more often than that, "knock their jocks off." They'd say, "Go out there and give it all you've got, a hundred and ten percent, shot your wad." You controlled their line and "knocked" В‘em into submission. Over the years I've seen many a coach get emotionally aroused while he was diagramming a particular play into an imaginary hole on the blackboard. His face red, his voice rising, he would show the ball carrier how he wanted him to "stick it in the hole." (Dundes, A, p. 207)

This quotation shows just that American football is such a competitive sport. People get so into this sport that they are saying vulgar and sometimes degrading things and think that it is ok because of the football aspect. I know that the coaches are just trying to pump their teams up, but sometimes it seems like they go to far especially when you are a woman or a woman's genitalia if you loose.

"The new testament in general and the life of Jesus in particular have not received much critical attention from folklorists. This is in marked contrast to the considerable body of folklore scholarship devoted to the Old Testament." (Dundes, A, p 223) Possibly one reason for the overlook of the New Testament by folklorists is a mixture of prejudice and selfishness. Folklorists as well as folk feel bewilderment towards folklore. Many people find pride in folklore because it communicates the convention of people's own heritage.

For example, Lord Raglan was apprehensive to demonstrate that the lives of conventional heroes were "folklore" rather than history. Therefore, it was flawlessly correct to disagree that Old Testament or Jewish heroes were folkloristic rather than historical. Strauss stated:

"the knowledge of the fact, that the Jews were fond of representing their great men as the children of parents who had long been childless, cannot but make us doubtful of the historical truth of the statement that this was the case with John the Baptist; knowing also that the Jews saw predictions everywhere in their writings of their prophets and poets, and discovered types of the Messiah in all the lives of holy men recorded in their scriptures; when we find details in the life of Jesus evidently sketched after the pattern of these prophecies and prototypes, we cannot but suspect that they are rather mythical than historical." (Dundes, A, p 227)

There are many stories about Jesus, one that follows closely, but many myths come together to create the story of Jesus. The different stories are what the different religions believe about the life of Jesus. Also there are many people that do not believe in Jesus Christ because of the chain of events that happened to him. For instance, dying and coming back to life seems almost impossible. It is hard to know what to believe and what not to believe, but one thing is consistent, that Jesus was a hero. The important part is to remember that he is a hero because with all of the myths about him, it is hard to choose what to believe in. This is where your own belief system comes into play, because you can't live life just believing what people tell you to believe in. If you believed in what people told you to believe in, it wouldn't be your own belief and you wouldn't have your own heroes.


Dundes, Alan. The Study of Folklore. Pretince-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 1965


http://www.jitterbug.com/origins/myth.html Star Wars Origins, Joseph Campbell and the Hero's Journey

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa4.htm Religious Tolerance, Life Events shared by Yeshua (Jesus) and Mythical Heroes

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