Ancient heroes ventured into the unknown to bring back something of great value. They faced uncertainty and chaos to bring order to their world. Prometheus brought backfire. Moses returned with God’s instructions. Lewis and Clark mapped an unknown wilderness. Hero’s become legends and legends become myths. Warrior kings facing dragons. We love these myths and have been consuming them for endless generations. But, where have all the dragons gone and why can’t we agree who the heroes are that should fight them? Many of those who would claim this honor fight amongst themselves in packs of unruly beserkers seeking to exploit the chaos they perpetuate.
We need a 21st-century upgrade to our hero mythology [BTW Millennials are doing this]. The wilderness we are exploring today is not across an ocean or into unknown lands. It’s not a battle with those we name as enemies. It is internal. It leads to our known and unknown selves and the luminous shadows discovered there. We have internalized our dragons into the shape of our fears in order to hide from our greatness. In this journey, many hope to conquer their fear, maybe even become fearless. However, today’s heroes learn that fearlessness is part of the myth but not found in reality.
We need to abandon the mythical omnipotent and benevolent leader who orders our world to keeps us safe by conquering our enemies and establishing hierarchies of control. Any attempt at control limits our autonomy reducing the opportunity for our intrinsic value to be released. Heroes today create space for others to offer the world that which is intrinsic. They have done this work for themselves and now offer this space to others. Those who face and learn from their inner dragon are worthy of the title hero. These heroes are only hard to find if you are looking for the wrong thing. The same is true of dragons.