The hero is the man of self-achieved submission. But submission
to what? That precisely is the riddle...schism in the soul,
schism in the body social, will not be resolved by any scheme
of return to the good old days (archaism), or by programs
guaranteed to render an ideal...future (futurism), or even
by the most realistic, hardheaded work. . . Only birth can
conquer death--the birth, not of the old thing again, but
of something new. Within the soul, within the body social,
there must be--if we are to experience long survival--a continuous
"recurrence of birth"...to nullify the unremitting recurrences
of death. For it is by means of our own victories, if we are
not regenerated, that the work of Nemisis is wrought: doom
breaks from the very shell of our virtue. Peace then is a
snare; war is a snare; change is a snare; permanence a snare.
When our day is come for the victory of death, death closes
in; there is nothing we can do, except be crucified--and resurrected;
dismembered totally, and then reborn.
...The first step, detachment or withdrawal, consists in
a radical transfer of emphasis from the external to the internal
world...a retreat from the desperation of the waste land to
the peace of the everlasting realm. . . within. But this realm.
. . is precisely the infantile unconscious. It is the realm
that we enter in sleep. We carry it within ourselves forever.
All the ogres and secret helpers of our nursery are there,
all the magic of childhood. And more important, all the life-potentialities
that we never managed to bring to adult realization, those
other portions of ourself, are there; for such golden seeds
do not die. If only a portion of that lost totality could
be dredged up into the tight of day, we should experience
a marvelous expansion of our powers, a vivid renewal of life...In
a word: the first work of the hero is to retreat from the
world scene of secondary effects to those causal zones of
the psyche where the difficulties really reside, and there
to clarify the difficulties, eradicate them in his own case
(i.e. give battle to the nursery demons of his local culture)
and break through to... undistorted, direct experience and
assimilation of [fundamental human realities].
The hero, therefore, is the man or woman who has been able
to battle past his personal and local...limitations to the
generally valid, normally human forms. Such a one's visions,
ideas, and inspirations, come...from the primary springs of
human life and thought. Hence they are eloquent, not of the
present, disintegrating society and psyche, but of the unquenched
source through which society is reborn. . . His second solemn
task and deed therefore... is to return then to us, transfigured,
and teach the lessons he has learned of life renewed.