Additional Random Thoughts

From the movie THE SEARCHERS

I was bumming out in front of the TV and I accidently came across John Ford’s THE SEARCHERS.  If you have ever seen it, it is an epic movie about 3 men who go on a search across the American West to recover a relative – a small girl.  Indians killed her family and abducted her.  It sweeps across a large landscape, while the characters deal with rage, obsession and revenge.

The movie is basically mythological.  It is the kind of story where if it was real, you could see years later a cowboy telling this story, and the others around the fire thinking: “Oh, there goes Uncle so and so, telling his story again.”  Those that listen to it, would wonder at it.  Some would consider it too fantastic to be real, but at the same time listen with mute fascination at the effort and the journey.

I couldn’t help to think that this too has classical roots.  A telling of an Odyssey of three men in a land they are not yet comfortable in.  In Greek Mythology there were always kingdoms and parts of lands “Do not go here.”  In medieval stories that same map might read: “Thar be Dragons here.”  This is the country called Texas.

Imagine a retelling of this story.

In a Greek telling it would be a princess stolen by a rival King and the heroes assembled to retrieve her.

In a Roman telling imagine a more closer copy to the western.  A story of two Romans Soldiers home on leave, and a poet-historian who embark on a journey to recovery their little sister from slavery.  There are true accounts of travelers being taken off the road and sold.  The three men travel across the world looking for her in brothels and slave markets, and finally they travel to a far kingdom to overthrow a distant monarch to retrieve their “kin.”

If you ever get the chance look up Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth.   Check out the book: The Hero with a Thousand Faces.  His book talk of the hero cycle.  Where mentors, villlians, elixars and jesters are found along the way of the great journey where we find ourselves.  Look closely at the characters in THE SEARCHERS and you will see all the characters that Campbell speaks.  The hero in classical mythology has faults by the way.   Odysseus had faults.  Achillies had faults.  Hercules had faults.  Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) has faults as well.

At those times you are alone under the stars, review your own life.  You might be on your own heroe’s cycle.  Your life might be the stuff of myths.  If it is…I will sit by the fire and listen to your story.

“I want to hear your tale, stranger.  To what distant country are you bound?”

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