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Reply To: The Hero’s Journey in Contemporary Literature/Fantasy


Mars writes:

one guy (Z) causes the vast majority of havoc and spill.”

and androoshka responds

I think it makes sense to approach these stories with the idea that these stories are being created and circulated at a time and place of honor culture, where, on average, men were more probably more chauvinistic then they were now… So it would make sense that they create system of stories that revolve around an Alpha.”

I’m not so sure about that, androoshka. I suspect that dynamic is as present today as ever.

So many masculine figures in positions of power today have been manifesting the Zeus archetype and indulging in bad behavior, most often in the form of sexual improprieties: Harvey Weinstein (who was so powerful that film stars, producers, agents, and others in Hollywood referred to him as “God,” apparently only partly tongue-in-cheek); the late Roger Ailes, who ruled at Fox News with an iron hand, pressed the female talent for sexual favors; Mark Hurd, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, forced to step down over sexual harassment claims; former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who resigned before he could be impeached for harassing female employees (his predecessor, David Paterson, admitted to multiple affairs in office, and his predecessor, Elliot Spritzer, resigned in 2008, after his relationships with call girls were revealed); multiple other governors in both red and blue states; Jeff Zucker, who led CNN;

. . . and then there’s Donald Trump, in a class all his own, accused of sexual conduct by 26 different women (and on record spending vast sums to keep two of them quiet – canceled checks over his signature admitted as evidence in court – and several currently in litigation).

That’s only the tip of the iceberg. The differences between these individuals in terms of politics and religion vary greatly – but what they have in common is all occupy positions of power, and abused that power. (Note the havoc many Zeus wannabes create isn’t necessarily limited to the sexual arena; those were just the most immediate examples at hand).

In the past, this has been written off as “boys will be boys,” with women often given the blame when these situations became public knowledge;  the difference today is that this behavior is being called out by those unwilling to remain victims – something Zeus didn’t have to contend with much.

That’s the power of myth: those stories don’t address anomalies exclusive to a time and place in the long ago, but speak to the human condition. These archetypal mythological patterns are always humming along under the surface, still compelling human behavior today.