Current affairs, Uncategorized

PPFF #168: Star Wars


I watched Star Wars Episode 4 for the first time in a long time. Never mind the special effects, details and intricacies of the film, I kept thinking ‘wow, isn’t this just like Harry Potter films’.

Now please, put down the stones; those of you fervent worshippers of ‘the force’. Let me explain.

Any real Star Wars fan would know that the structure of the Star Wars Ep. 4 follows that of monomyth (or hero’s journey), a highly influential concept proposed by Joseph Campbell a mythologies/literary scholar in a book called The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The theory has it that pretty much every mythical story under the sun follows the same structure, be it Jesus, Buddha or Moses. It goes something like this:

The hero in his ordinary world receives a call to embark on an adventure, accompanied by a mentor, who usually dies (Departure). He then crosses the boundary between the ordinary and the unknown world (Initiation), where he faces the central crisis of his adventure. Against all odds, he defeats the archenemy (Ordeal) and wins a reward. Then he returns to the ordinary world but nothing is quite the same (Return).

Having read about this, I was reminded of last year’s US presidential election and thought ‘That sounds awfully like Donald Trump’. Call me crazy but upon this thought, I happened to google “hero’s journey and trump”. You’d be surprised how many articles have already likened his election campaign and victory to the structure of monomyth.

Basically, Trump (the hero) is a businessman and an entertainer (ordinary world). The failing state of American politics compels him (the call) to declare his intention to run for presidential office. But in the realm of politics (the unknown world) he is ridiculed and mocked but against all predictions and odds he defeats Hilary (archenemy), wins the election (the reward) and nothing is quite the same again.

Well, Trump certainly isn’t my hero (besides his political views, I can’t get over his hair) but you could just about see the parallel in how his story unfolded.

Then I thought, ‘hang on a minute. Isn’t this how Obama’s and Macron’s election campaigns panned out? They both came out of nowhere; unexpected and inexperienced underdogs formerly outside the major political scene and against all odds they both overcame their obstacles and won a decisive victory.

So I came to this conclusion. Maybe, we’re hardwired to think this way; the hero’s narrative is what people buy into. Now, with regard to the UK general election next Thursday, the question is this; which of the two potential PMs’ campaigns resembles Campbell’s hero’s journey? May? Or Corbyn?

You decide. Literally.
Have a monomythic Friday

Europe, Uncategorized

PPFF #127

Good morning,

Not that anyone cares about these things (thanks to the European orgy of football, also known as ‘Euro 2016′) but the summer Olympic games are fast-approaching; in Rio, apparently this August.

Coincidentally, I came across a paragraph in a book about all things Greek this week, which mentioned the tradition of Olympic torch relay and went on to explain that it wasn’t a Greek invention at all. Intrigued, I looked this one up.

It’s rather conveniently believed (by the Greeks) that it originated in ancient Greece, from their ritual of commemorating Prometheus’ appropriation of fire from Zeus, or from the fires in the sanctuary of Olympia. This myth that a fire was kept burning throughout the duration of ancient Olympic games for the specific purpose of the games has been perpetuated by the International Olympic Committee for quite some time.

But I found that the ancient Greeks had fires burning in front of ALL of their principal temples and they had nothing specifically to do with Olympic games or the temple of Hestia at Olympia.

Unfortunately and perhaps quite inconveniently for the IOC, it’s a pretty well documented fact that we owe the tradition to the Nazis. Yes, as the revival of the Olympic games themselves is attributed to the French educator Pierre de Coubertin, the modern practice of transporting the flame from Greece to the designated sites of the competitions, was created by Carl Diem under the guidance of Joseph Goebbels (yup, him, the Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment & Propaganda) in 1936 for the Summer Olympics in Berlin. As you might have guessed, it probably was an attempt to manufacture a little mystique and a false sense of legitimacy for the Nazi regime by contriving an association with the ancient Greeks.

On a tenuously related note, the UK will now be represented as an independent nation at the next Olympic games now that it’s gained its independence from the oppressive imperial power that is the EU.

Hang on. What? The UK has always been an independent nation? Huh?

I thought we only just won back and declared our independence? I’m confused.

Have a Friday.