We Don’t Need Another Hero

Just back from an Omega Institute weekend I led with Grant Morrison, Paul Laffoley, Richard Metzger and Howard Bloom. Interesting combination of people – I ended up hanging out and resonating most with Grant this time out.

Where we seemed to connect most was in our shared sense that Aristotle’s narrative arc – the male heroic narrative – no longer adequately describes our experience of this world. It’s something I’ve been thinking and speaking about for a long time, but it was very rewarding for Grant to respond so favorably to this notion. He’s experienced it, himself, in his work as a comic book writer trying to move past current expectations for superhero characters. I confront it, myself, as I try to help people conceive of more emergent narratives for human history – to break our addiction to stories with endings or intrinsic, pre-existing meaning.

After all, what if meaning if something that evolves or emerges? I think it’s a lot more useful to think about God not as a character who created our universe with some purpose, but rather as something that might happen in the future. We make meaning – which doesn’t make it any less meaningful.

The problem is whether, without artificially constructed heroic narratives, we still have the will to rise to the world’s many problems. Will we dare to approach hunger, violence, and confusion without the promise of a happy ending? Or do we still need charismatic leaders with beautiful stories to our motivate us?