The Prosaic Names the Profound

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The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else. Umberto Eco

 While we envision ourselves as heroes, we wish not to be called cowards.  We are living constantly in fantasies where we can rescue our own fears, our steps on our trepidations to us are totally daring.  While we wish, therefore, to be proudly displayed as shiny, victorious, golden, medals, however, they are nothing but self-created fallacies.  Are we really glories of validations or are we just self “constructed monomyths”?  We are only “heroes by mistake”.  While we have carefully constructed these high titled “notions” of being brave hearted warriors, these, unfortunately, are lying on the grounds of fiction; many times, they are only much “larger visions” of our invented individualistic personas. 

I do not wish here to destroy the embarking of the soul, in the tireless pursuit of life, or undermine human effort, but by creating ourselves as champions we are only becoming Don Quixote, wishing to somehow windmill away the troubled clouds soaring above us.  It sounds cynically true, but many times, we run behind the falsities of the moments but save our energy in doing mundane tasks and giving validity to the common.  I see the monotony having power, the vitality and momentum, that we fail to recognise, lies many times in the never ending, repetitive tasks of life.  This gives us only the much-needed vivacity to be a champion, a true victorious one.

Vibrancy comes not from creating something new and novel all the time, but in the unchanging ways we have adapted ourselves into.   The ordinary is the one that creates the true promise of the monomyth. We can find that much needed mentor in our everyday practices, who will help us thus discover the elixir of life and make us reach victory.  The observation of these humdrums will deliver the individual from the “cowardice of performing the ordinary” into the awakening of the hero. The paladin should be recognised in repetitive ticking; the recognition of the monomyth accordingly awakens the apostle, because of performing these monotonous instances.  

The honesty in recognising ourselves as cowards, to release the conventional within us to flow freely, creates an instant of true heroism to emerge.  This approach to “the innermost cave” as Christopher Vogler rightly determines, helps us to cross over to the thresholds of the uneventful one to being the victorious one.   While we all seek victory upon our daily returns and celebrate, much like the monomythical heroes that we have heard in the tales of our toothless and wrinkled grandmother; we are, therefore, trained not to give the due respect needed rightfully to the insignificant.  The honour we bestow on sometimes the dry, dull, and commonplace will turn the tables around and noteworthy ones will emerge. So, permit the unvarying and unvaried to herald the significant, entitle the dull to be bright, and… the prosaic will name the profound.                      

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Gouri Nilakantan

Gouri Nilakantan Mehta holds a masters degree from Miami University and is currently persuing her Phd in theatre from the dept of Arts and Aesthetics at JNU Delhi. She has over 23 publications to her credit and has presented several papers at international conferences at Japan, Pakistan, Dubai and America. She was awarded the best graduate student award by Miami University. She has also directed over 12 plays and has produced more than 25. ABOUT GOURI Honest and straight forwardness is appreciated by me rather than a soft and gentle approach FAVOURITE QUOTES the only short cut between two points is a straight line

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