The Warrior Hero: Reality and Myth

Who was Joseph Campbell? What is a myth? What does "Follow Your Bliss" mean? If you are new to the work of Joseph Campbell, this forum is a good place to start.

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Post by nandu » Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:10 am

Evinnra wrote:Would you please explain more about your meaning when you write: 'but what they feel also carry equal weight'? Do you mean that all beliefs held by all sorts of people carry equal weight? Can I weigh a toddler's opinion on topics the same way as I would weigh my Mothers' opinion? That surely can't be what you have meant above. You were talking about weighing in 'emotions' not opinions, rigtht?
Evinnra
Evinnra,

What I believe is sacrosanct for me: the same for you and everybody else. What we have in the modern world is tolerance of others' opinions, however abhorrent they are to us, for the sake of coexistence. Otherwise, how would a country like Saudi Arabia who insults religions other than Islam - officially! - be an ally of "advanced" democracies? (For my one year tenure in Saudi Arabia, I was registered as an "infidel" with the Government!)

But for a time, I am entering into the head of the suicide bomber. He passionately believes that people holding opinions different from him are "infidels", not even worthy to be considered human beings. Killing such human trash is, in his belief system, a virtuous deed. Remember, he goes to his death willingly for his beliefs: this is courage of the highest order.

Of course, I do not subscribe to his belief system: I consider it barbarous, as I imagine would most people. But for him, it is the only truth.

We can say that there is a common yardstick by which belief systems can be measured, and there are "acceptable" and "unacceptable" ones. This will work fine, as long as only extremist doctrines are rejected - but the ground becomes shaky when more general beliefs are compared.

Life has taught me that my beliefs are sacred only to me. I have to accept the fact that another's belief - however abhorrent to me - is sacred to him/her. However, that does no mean that I have to accept the belief system itself.

Nandu.
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Post by jufa » Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:05 pm

Words, in any logical setting are understood to be descriptive to one's point of view from one's specific learning which is always individualized by one's learning process. They go no further than the ceiling of one's own comprehension, and are never definitive of anything in exactness. If words were definitive absolutely in exactness, there woud be no need for relative descriptive discussion, such as the one here, for an exchange of knowledge and wisdom would be exact for one and all. The key to this paragraph and words is relative. Words never move one into truth because words never move beyond relativity.

Sure there are those who can point to the heavens and say look and see "the road less traveled." But the view observed is different to the one pointing and the one observing because the reality of unique comprehension is always found in the foundation of mind. For example I do not affirm there are mistakes happening in creation, yet man always speak upon mistakes of choice. But these mistakes of choices never happen in reality because creation is reality, and certainly there are no errors in creation. So there is only one place mistakes occur, and that is in mind.

And I affirm every man is a hero right where they are. If this was not true, then how could the act of heroism every come forth out of anyone if it was not indwelling? From what has been posted concerning Campbell's take on this latter statement in this thread seems to be in accord with mine. This means our minds came to an agreement concerning the latter, but there was no touching of our minds.

"Existence is beyond the power of words to define
Terms may be used but are none of them absolute.
In the beginning of heaven and earth there were no words
Words came out of the womb of matter;
And whether man dispassionately sees the core of life,
Or passionately sees the surface,
The core and the surface are essentially the ssame.
Words make them seem different."
Minds do not touch. There can be a meeting of the minds, but they do not touch.

Allow me to illustrate. When one speaks of love, compassion, hate, negativitity or any of the infinite awakenings which the senses makes individuals consciously aware of, no one can determine the sensitivity felt in the one experiencing such unique awareness in an individual. However, relativity of relativeness can be comprehended by another individual experience to simular sense occurrence, but not in exactness to make a point of determinism because never can two persons experience the same moment, the same vision, nor comprehend the same space. This means never are two exact thoughts identical because never are thought launched from the same point and time because each person is only the representive of their time and space. Twins can be identical, yet they are not the exactness of one.

All words are descriptive adjective and are never definitive. Nouns are descriptive of the person, place, or thing. Verbs are descriptives of the action of the person, place, or things. Adjectives are descriptive of the noun and adverbs. All else are off-springs of descriptive indepth clarifications of the three. So there is never a right or wrong viewpoint for who can say determinitively what is right or wrong from anyone's point of view when all is only relative?

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Post by noman » Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:21 am

If aiming for something 'good' or 'nice' or 'beneficial' is NOT the motivation of a fighter then I would think this person is not a Hero…

- Evinnra
I’m reminded of this passage I read about the composer Richard Wagner:
P41 The year 1983 marked the one hundredth anniversary of Wagner’s death. As Leonard Bernstein, renowned conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, was rehearsing the famous part of Die Gotterdammerung, known as Daybreak, he suddenly broke his baton in half, and with tears streaming down his face, cried out, “That is unbearable! How,” he agonized, “could such beautiful music come from the pen of such a corrupt man?”

- Creativity & Madness: Psychological studies of Art and Artists, Panter and Virshup 1995
Evinnra,

Richard Wagner was not a good person by anyone’s measure. Nor was Pablo Picasso. But they were heroes, I believe, none the less. They were artistic heroes, who gave us tremendous gifts.

Warriors are called upon to do some very nasty things. And some of the folks, who are best at it, are very nasty people. But I think they should still be given credit – not for killing and being a nice guy at the same time. But just for killing – effectively. You have to admire someone who does something well – even if their personality or their motives are corrupt. Even if they are rotten to the core. Something ‘good’ can come from a predominantly evil person.

At least that’s the way I seez-it.

* * * * * * *

What a great quote Jufa. Worth repeating. Had to Google it to see who said it. Translations sometimes vary and I like the last two lines added here:
Existence is beyond the power of words to define:
Terms may be used but are none of them absolute.
In the beginning of heaven and earth there were no words,
Words come out of the womb of matter;
And whether we dispassionately see to the core of life
or passionately see the surface,
The core and the surface are essentially the same.
Words making them seem different only to express appearance.
If name be needed, wonder names them both:
from wonder into wonder existence opens.

—Lao-Tse
Jufa wrote:
And I affirm every [person] is a hero [or heroine] right where they are.

-Jufa
Forgive me for editing your statement Jufa. But I would say each person has the potential to be a hero or heroine. I’d just like to rule out the idea that a person can drink a case of beer a day, watch daytime talk shows, sitcoms, and sports all day long, and say to themselves, ‘Jufa’s right, I’m a hero or heroine, right where I am.’

Carpe diem!
(seez the day!)

-NoMan
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Post by jufa » Wed Nov 21, 2007 5:04 am

The quote by Lao Tzu came out of the book "The Chinese Translation" - Witter Bynner. Subtitle - "The Way Of Life Saying By Lao Tzu"

Potential in every man is the same. And I agree with what you say for this was my position from the very beginning. No one starts out to be a hero, and most I have found who are labeled such did not, and do not realize they are. It is always the thrust of the position which determines the disposition of one's character displayed. I believe this is also what Campbell was gettig at. Just my opinion.

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Post by nandu » Wed Nov 21, 2007 8:01 am

noman wrote: Warriors are called upon to do some very nasty things. And some of the folks, who are best at it, are very nasty people. But I think they should still be given credit – not for killing and being a nice guy at the same time. But just for killing – effectively. You have to admire someone who does something well – even if their personality or their motives are corrupt. Even if they are rotten to the core. Something ‘good’ can come from a predominantly evil person.
All effective killers do not become heroes automatically.

NoMan, you seem to be saying that war is glorious and anyone who wars effectively is a hero. Then why is it that there are so few war heroes? Heroic status is not automatically accorded to killing machines.

Nandu.
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Post by noman » Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:46 am

I didn’t say that, Nandu - that all killing machines necessarily become heroes. But it is the objective of war to kill as many of the enemy as possible and to force surrender. This is how wars are won. All I’m saying is that the art of war is no different than any other art in this respect. Some artists, such as Wagner and Picasso deliver the goods. And some soldiers do as well. And that is what makes them heroes. Not because they have some great noble heart that motivated them toward this goal. They may have a great noble heart, or they may not. But that’s not the determining factor; quality of workmanship is the determining factor.

Heroes come in different ‘flavors’ so to speak. And the warrior hero is just one of them. It’s when we try to fit all heroes into one mold, the warrior, the artist, the saint, the scholar, the politician, that we run into trouble. You can’t expect a warrior to think or feel like a saint. Or a politician to think and feel like an artist. Or a scholar to think and feel like a warrior (That is – a literal warrior that kills people.)

Right now I’m reading about life and work of the great Sufi mystic and poet Mawlānā Jalāl-ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī – better known in the West as just Rumi. He is certainly one of the greatest heroes of all time. It is said that his funeral procession was inundated by Muslims, Christians, Jews, Arabs, Persians, and Turks. He is sometimes referred to in our time as the greatest mystic poet of any age. His life, his hour upon the stage, was one of exquisite beauty.

But then I consider the performance of Audie Murphy on 26 January 1945, sitting on top of a burning tank that may well have exploded at any minute, directing artillery fire with his radio, mowing down the enemy with a machine gun, facing off a squad of infantry and a number of tanks single-handed – for sixty freakin’ minutes! It is so incredibly beautiful. And I wouldn’t care if he was American or German or Mongolese. The gods of Valhalla must have been weeping when they saw this performance. Absolutely weeping over such a beautiful and courageous act.

A soldier who waves a white flag as a deception and lures the enemy to their death doesn’t deserve any credit at all. They are not deserving of honor or glory, and are not deserving of the title of warrior hero.

Killing alone is not the determining factor.

-NoMan
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Post by Evinnra » Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:39 pm

noman wrote:
If aiming for something 'good' or 'nice' or 'beneficial' is NOT the motivation of a fighter then I would think this person is not a Hero…

- Evinnra
I’m reminded of this passage I read about the composer Richard Wagner:
P41 The year 1983 marked the one hundredth anniversary of Wagner’s death. As Leonard Bernstein, renowned conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, was rehearsing the famous part of Die Gotterdammerung, known as Daybreak, he suddenly broke his baton in half, and with tears streaming down his face, cried out, “That is unbearable! How,” he agonized, “could such beautiful music come from the pen of such a corrupt man?”

- Creativity & Madness: Psychological studies of Art and Artists, Panter and Virshup 1995
Evinnra,

Richard Wagner was not a good person by anyone’s measure. Nor was Pablo Picasso. But they were heroes, I believe, none the less. They were artistic heroes, who gave us tremendous gifts.

Warriors are called upon to do some very nasty things. And some of the folks, who are best at it, are very nasty people. But I think they should still be given credit – not for killing and being a nice guy at the same time. But just for killing – effectively. You have to admire someone who does something well – even if their personality or their motives are corrupt. Even if they are rotten to the core. Something ‘good’ can come from a predominantly evil person.

At least that’s the way I seez-it.

* * * * * * *

What a great quote Jufa. Worth repeating. Had to Google it to see who said it. Translations sometimes vary and I like the last two lines added here:
Existence is beyond the power of words to define:
Terms may be used but are none of them absolute.
In the beginning of heaven and earth there were no words,
Words come out of the womb of matter;
And whether we dispassionately see to the core of life
or passionately see the surface,
The core and the surface are essentially the same.
Words making them seem different only to express appearance.
If name be needed, wonder names them both:
from wonder into wonder existence opens.

—Lao-Tse
-NoMan
NoMan,

Call me anti-social if you please but I can't find it in my heart to admire a person who's 'rotten to the core' despite delivering some benefit. Similarly, I can not hate the person who causes pain unintentionally because its the pain I evaluate not the person that was the instrument to deliver pain. Essentially, the person can be evaluated independently of the outcomes of his/her actions because it is not the person alone who determines the outcome - if one acts, one acts in a context.


The quote from Lao Tze is very apt here, highlighting that evaluation is by term of definition subjective, but also that evaluation is unavoidable while in this realm of existence. So why kid ourselves? We do evaluate obnoxious, manipulative, arrogant, selfish individuals the same way as we evaluate kind, patient and intelligent people too. It would be immoral not to evaluate things and individuals with whom we interact because that would mean that we had already removed our selves from the moral context and neglected our obligations while we still intend to participate in actions. The outcomes of one's action can not be perfectly pre-determined , its not up to the individual to know beforehand what 'cause' s/he is serving, only to intend to do what seems like the good thing to do at the time is up to the individual. You've heard the joke about the man who went to the fortune teller only to be told that he will cause the death of millions of people. There and then the man made a solemn promise to do as much good as possible from now on. He saved a little boy from being killed by a car and when he asked the boy 'what's your name', the boy answered 'my name is Adolf Hitler'.


Evinnra
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Post by Clemsy » Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:32 pm

Many people have been defined as heroes for the results of their actions, not who they are. Again, heroism is awarded by others, often based on results.

Seems to me, this conversation may be arguing from conflicting definitions:
1. a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his/her brave deeds and noble qualities.
2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal: He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child.
3. the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.
4. Classical Mythology.
a. a being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity.
b. (in the Homeric period) a warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability.c
c. (in later antiquity) an immortal being; demigod.
5. hero sandwich.
6. the bread or roll used in making a hero sandwich.
(Italics mine to render the definition gender neutral.)
The above is from Random House. American Heritage has this further addition:
A person noted for special achievement in a particular field:
So! I think it's safe to say that this is a rare occasion when everyone is demonstrably and empirically correct! :shock:

But don't stop now. This is a great thread!

(Oh and Happy Thanksgiving to all you Yanks. I expect the board to be quiet for the next few days.)

Cheers,
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Post by noman » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:01 pm

Hero or Heroine sandwich Clemsy – to be politically correct. I gotta run and do the T-Day thing as well. Get back to ya Evinnra.

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Post by nandu » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:09 pm

Evinnra wrote:The quote from Lao Tze is very apt here, highlighting that evaluation is by term of definition subjective, but also that evaluation is unavoidable while in this realm of existence. So why kid ourselves?
I'm in perfect agreement with you here, Evinnra - we are programmed to evaluate each and every thing in this life. However, when you say
We do evaluate obnoxious, manipulative, arrogant, selfish individuals the same way as we evaluate kind, patient and intelligent people too.
the adjectives you use are based on your value system - they are not connected with the person you are evaluating, but your perception of the individual.
It would be immoral not to evaluate things and individuals with whom we interact because that would mean that we had already removed our selves from the moral context and neglected our obligations while we still intend to participate in actions.


This is the basic difference in our viewpoints: I do not believe in an absolute morality. In my opinion, morality is the byproduct of our self, the way we perceive the world. Participating in actions with total detachment is my perceived ideal of acting in this world.

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Post by Evinnra » Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:31 am

Somebody please help me out here!

What is a 'Hero sandwich' ???????? :shock: :oops: :?:
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Post by Evinnra » Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:47 am

Clemsy wrote:
1. a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his/her brave deeds and noble qualities.
2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal: He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child.
3. the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.
4. Classical Mythology.
a. a being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity.
b. (in the Homeric period) a warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability.c
c. (in later antiquity) an immortal being; demigod.
5. hero sandwich.
6. the bread or roll used in making a hero sandwich.
(Italics mine to render the definition gender neutral.)
The above is from Random House. American Heritage has this further addition:
A person noted for special achievement in a particular field:
So! I think it's safe to say that this is a rare occasion when everyone is demonstrably and empirically correct! :shock:

Clemsy
Clemsy,

Indeed, taking into account all three: the qualities of the acting agent, the quality of the act itself and the quality of the outcome of an act together relates a particular value to us. Remove evaluation of any of these three components and the 'picture' of the Hero is inaccurate/unreliable. So, strange as it may seem, we can find consensus every now and then. :)

Evinnra
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Post by Evinnra » Thu Nov 22, 2007 1:21 am

nandu wrote:

This is the basic difference in our viewpoints: I do not believe in an absolute morality. In my opinion, morality is the byproduct of our self, the way we perceive the world. Participating in actions with total detachment is my perceived ideal of acting in this world.

Nandu.
Nandu,

In other words, the basic difference between our viewpoints is that you hold absolute morality ( or possibility to find an objective definition of morality) missing from the moral context of human actions. Whereas I find that any and all situations in which humans participate is in a particular context of time and circumstances. Since the field of action is particular to the perceiver's own value system, this context is alway having particular values attached to it. Though these values are the one that are not absolute - i.e. not definable without reference to the observers' own state of mind - it does not mean that one can be 'slack' in evaluating the context of one's actions. Well, technically, people can avoid evaluating/pondering the possible outcomes of their actions, but I think that kind of detachment is immoral in case the person intends to do as much as perceive the world and as such participating in it. Why? Ideas are not ‘immaterial’; they do have discernible impact on reality. So, if my ideas have impact on what I see, then I am responsible for 'doing' them right. Though I am free to elect seeing reality in a detached way - we can elect to do as we please - unlike you, I elect participating in it with my evaluation.


Not strictly in line with this topic, but today I've just drove my self silly with fear in response to the news. In Australia we have elections coming up on the 24th of November, and the husband of one Liberal party candidate (Jackie Kelly) was caught distributing unauthorised campaign material. It is a criminal offence to do such unauthorised acts, but instead of people recognising the 'Trojan horse' in Ms Kelly's husband, people in this marginal seat tend to think - according to the news - that it was the Liberal party's fault that such illegal activity could take place. I'm so worried that an important seat for the Liberals will be lost due to this kind of dirty tactics, for it simply can't be forced on people to think clearly about who had benefited from this fraud. The Liberal party had to sack Ms Kelly immediately - just days before the election - but people on the street might think that it was a Liberal ploy anyway. This is an other master example how evil works in the world: confuse people about WHO is responsible for authorising certain outcomes. How would I feel if there were people who did evil things in my name and claimed their success was ensured because I am so powerful I will their success?! People would hate me and not the fraudsters who do crime in my name without my knowledge. That is just too sickening to think through, no?


So, I’m not going to try to convince you about the importance of evaluating moral context - as I can not force anybody to think for themselves - but perhaps you can agree with me how incredibly important it is to be vigilant at all times.

Evinnra
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Post by Clemsy » Thu Nov 22, 2007 2:54 am

Somebody please help me out here!

What is a 'Hero sandwich' ????????
Image

That one should get your mouth watering. My personal favorite is a meatball parm with mushrooms. The name of the sandwich changes from place to place. It's called a hero, a submarine, a hoagie (beats me) and probably any number of other names. Perhaps you folks down under have your own!
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Post by nandu » Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:04 am

Well, technically, people can avoid evaluating/pondering the possible outcomes of their actions, but I think that kind of detachment is immoral in case the person intends to do as much as perceive the world and as such participating in it.
From the Bhagavad Gita:

"Karmanyevaadhikaaraste
Maa phaleshu kadachana
Maa karma phala heturbhoo
Maa te sangostva karmani"

[You have control only over your Karma, and never over the results. Because of thought of likely results, you should never shrink from your Karma.]

This is the teaching millions of Indians have absorbed, and still value today. It has been hotly disputed as encouraging man to ignore the moral value of his actions (as Krishna is urging Arjuna to kill his kin as it is his Karma), but even the ultra-pacifist Ganhi took inspiration from it.

The story you quoted, Evinnra, about the man who saved Hitler, is illustrative in the sense that you can never predict the ultimate outcome of your actions. What you say is correct - you do what you think is right - but it is only your evaluation. Who can say what is "Right" and what is "Wrong"?

I also do what I feel is right, but I try to distance myself from the action: more importantly, never to judge.

Nandu.
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