Thursday, August 19, 2010


Another stellar Crispin Freeman lecture last week (and "stellar" is a poor description indeed of some truly beautiful and profound work). This time, the topic was the hero's journey; specifically, the female hero's journey. Contrasting with the Western hero's journey, which is almost always a male's journey, and which is a journey that involves a lot of doing, the female hero's journey is a journey of becoming.

One of the series he discussed was Revolutionary Girl Utena, which (among other things) turns the standard "magical girl" archetypes on their head, and even beginning to explain it takes far more room and time than I have right now. But among the things in the series that speak to me deeply, are the plights of some of the ancillary characters, who are themselves on journeys of "becoming," but they don't know it... and they're trying to address the holes in their lives (and their souls) by "doing," and inevitably, doing the wrong things.

For example, Juri: A tall, rather patrician beauty; a deadly fencer, clearly very intelligent, and (to everyone but herself) clearly very passionate. She's also clearly a closet lesbian... but she won't come out of the closet to herself, much less anyone else, and she goes through a great deal of agony because she can't be truthful about herself to herself.

The MS journey is that very hero's journey. MS takes "doing" off the table; our "doing" is restricted, redirected, transformed--but "doing" is removed as a first choice. Which is particularly inconvenient for people like me, who are poster children for "doing" (in the Buddhist sense). We are called first to honesty, and then... to becoming. A very, very, VERY different path from "doing."

But... this idea is hardly exclusive property of the creators of anime. As the saying goes, the great jihad is the inner jihad.

And it's especially interesting to me, now, to realize that perhaps, the reason that I've always preferred the stories about "becoming," about inner transformation... is because it was my story. I just didn't know it yet.

And exactly how it is my story, and how I should tell it... that, I'm still learning.

But it is one hell of a story.

1 comment:

Karen Kahler said...

Please reference comment appended to previous post.