Monday, September 1, 2008

A bit of filler

Today we're adding a few notes and quotes relating to the hero symbol.

  • He had tumbled down from his childhood Olympus and was no longer the son-hero of a divine mother. His so-called fear of castration was fear of real life which refused to come up to his erstwhile childish expectations, and everywhere lacked that mythological meaning which he still dimly remembered from his earliest youth. pg. 68 Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (ACU)
This applies to both our hero and the audience of the myth. We see that moment of disillusionment occur for Mulder at the time of his sister's abduction. The myth of the ideal family is shattered for our hero. This is something that occurs for every individual who grows up in a family unit. The parents or guardians will on day prove fallible, reality will encroach on the idealized concept. At this point in our lives all individuals experience the fear which Jung describes here. The audience can then overcome that fear within themselves through identification with the hero, whose life retains the myth as he becomes the questing hero after his loss of his identity as the son-hero. The viewer, or partaker in the ritual, if you will, uses the myth as an aid to find a sense of greater purpose for themselves. Contemplation of the hero's quest stirs a desire to identify a quest of their own. pg. 190 Man and His Symbols (MHS)

  • *if a*'s experience of his mother has been positive...he is either effeminate or is preyed upon by women and is unable to cope with the hardships of life.
I'm going to postulate here that in the particular case of the character Mulder, it is in this principle that we find, in part, his shift into the role of a hero fit for a quest. To explain, we've observed that this man in adolescence transferred the positive aspects of the mother figure onto his absent sister, consequently, when th above effects occur for him they possess a quality of separateness, that while obviously highly dysfunctional, allows him to compartmentalize his reactions to negative stimuli, and thereby suffer the 'slings and arrows of outrageous fortune' by keeping those injuries and weaknesses indicated by Jung separate from his conscious sense of himself.
In other words, this dysfunction serves as a coping mechanism that gives him the capacity to take on the role of the mythic hero. Rather than paralyzing him as Jung finds is the tendency in actual men, our mythological figure is actually aided in the sense that he is able to withstand more than most men can in actual life.

  • But there are other hero myths in which the hero gives in to the monster...Jonah and the whale, in which the hero is swallowed whole by a monster that carries him on a night journey from west to east, thus symbolizing the supposed transit of the sun from sunset to dawn. The hero goes into the darkness, which represents a kind of death. pg. 111 MHS
As we look at the aspects of Mulder as the archetypal quest hero, we find here with an important, though late in the chronology of the story, step in his journey. The death and rebirth of the hero. Mulder experiences a symbolic death and rebirth early on in the series (episodes Anasazi through Paper Clip), but his literal and therefore more complete resurrection comes in Season 8 when he is literally dead and buried before being revived and reborn. The idea of the hero "giving in to the monster" is very apparent in this case, when in the episode Requiem, we see that he is reevaluation the costs and tolls of the quest, but cannot stop himself from going forward in to the metaphoric and literal 'dark woods' where he is inevitably abducted. Taken on a 'night journey' to the stars.

  • Christ...Osiris, Taminuz, Orpheus, Balder...they belong, in fact, to cyclic religions in which the death and rebirth of the god-king was an eternally recurring myth. pg. 99 MHS
We see that our myth and perhaps the 'religion', of UFOlogy belong to this category of cyclic religions, in that as we've noted, our hero (god-king) follows the pattern of death and rebirth.

  • Both in the Red Horn cycle and that of the Twins we see the theme of sacrifice of death of the hero as a necessary cure for hubris. pg. 106 MHS
In the second and more fully realized rebirth of Mulder, we can find this theme. Upon his rebirth, he finds that he is no longer the only person engaged in his quest. Doggett, Reyes and Skinner, have joined his anima in pursuit of the 'truth'. He must accept that he cannot fulfill his calling unaided, and thus must reconcile the hubris that was implicit in his previous solitary pursuit. Remember that Scully is in this interpretation a projection of a facet of his psyche, so her sharing of the quest from an earlier point in the story does not carry the same symbolic significance as this revelation that he has been joined by others.

  • The typical hero figures exhaust their efforts in achieving the goal of their ambitions; instead, they become successful even if immediately afterward they are punish or killed for their hubris. In contrast, the novice for initiation is called upon to give up willful ambition and all desire and submit to the ordeal...He must be willing to experience this trial without hope of success. pg. 124 MHS
Mulder struggles with this motif throughout his journey. As a novice, when he first embraces his quest, we see a willingness to submit. He is willing to put the quest before all else, be it professional ambition or personal relationships. Despite that willingness, we do see him struggle with hubris, as he seems to truly believe his goal is attainable. The narrative repeatedly shows him that he may fail. The three biggest examples of this are when he must come to terms with never literally finding his sister (Seit und Zeit/Closure), when he is put on trial and sentenced to death in 'The Truth' he seems willing to accept that fate, but once freed and reunited with his anima, he seems still unable to accept that the date for colonization is set and he may be powerless to stop it, and most recently in the second film we see his hubris brought low again when in his relentless pursuit to locate the missing agent he is unable to succeed and several people lose their lives as a result. A final resolution might require that he accept the uncertainty of his pursuits once and for all.