Culture is the fabric of meaning we create to make sense of the cycle of life and death. People around the world and across time do the same things because we are human. Colonizers taught us to see differences to justify their own violence, but what is wonderful is how similar we are. Culture makes us human.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces
“The Hero with a Thousand Faces” is a book on comparative mythology written by Joseph Campbell in 1949. It’s one of the foundations of New York Latin Culture Magazine.
Campbell’s thesis is that the human hero story is the same around the world and across time.
It goes something like this. A young person is cast out of her or his people. They wander some kind of desert for a long time. One day they meet a wise older figure who gives them some special knowledge or tool. Meanwhile the people are suffering some calamity. The hero returns to their people and saves them. They “slay the dragon” if you will.
If that sounds like a Biblical story, it is. If that sounds like an Australian Aboriginal story, it is. It is also the story told in “Star Wars.” George Lucas acknowledged spending a lot of time with Joseph Campbell.
The artist is meant to put the objects of this world together in such a way that through them you will experience that light, that radiance which is the light of our consciousness and which all things both hide and, when properly looked upon, reveal.”Joseph Campbell, “Pathways to Bliss,” 2004
On our pages about “others,” we hope you will see some of yourself and through that recognize our common humanity.