On Monday I saw the documentary “Finding Joe” at the Wake Up Sydney event. The film explores the Hero’s Journey and the wisdom of Joseph Campbell. The thing I loved the most about this film is that it takes the story well beyond film and myth, to look at its application to personal psychology.
The thing that I have been contemplating on since though is ‘changemaking’ as an archetypal journey. In the classic “hero’s journey”, the stories and myths are about a hero who experiences ‘separation’ from their community or tribe, to depart and have a series of experiences that add up to the gaining of wisdom. The hero then returns to the community to share the wisdom gained.
For the changemaker it seems to be a different kind of journey. Firstly, the separation is quite different. Often in my observation, the changemaker stays embedded within the community they are seeking to serve. The separation is less a physical one, and more of an inner separation. They deal with the rejection and doubts of their family, friends and peers. This may in fact make the whole acceptance of “The Call to Adventure” even more difficult, as the “Ordinary World” is constantly there as a reminder and lure back to the old ways of thinking and doing. Perhaps for those changemakers working in the field of international development or communities outside their own, the separation is much neater.
The other observation I made was that the ‘classic journey’ is explicitly about personal transformation. Of course, the hero doesn’t always know that this is what he or she is in for, but the stories are always built around themselves growing and changing. It is after the change that the hero “returns” to then be of greater ‘service’ to their community.
The ‘changemakers’ journey’ is different. The changemaker embarks on a journey to change others, society, their community. They still face all the challenges that the hero goes through (the ordeals, slaying the dragon etc), but this is often hidden from view. Service to community IS the journey, as opposed to something that occurs at the end of the journey. In the field of entrepreneurship and changemaking, the focus is so often put on impact and aspects outside of self that we forget to look at the unfolding of self that occurs through service and changemaking.
So as you can see, this is still fairly unformed, but I get the sense that this is going to be a bigger area of exploration. Thank you Joe.