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All posts for the month December, 2015

Star Wars, © Disney

Today there’s a movie that starts with the words, “A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR FAR AWAY…” Actually, the story was not from a galaxy far away, it was from Greece and the time seems to be less than 3000 years.

There is a famous line generally attributed to George Santayana that goes “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” I would like to the line, “Those who do not learn their mythology are domed to stand for hours in the line to see the archetypes written by the Greeks thousands of years ago.”

In my second book, Archetypes in Our Lives, I did cover major archetypes and not only showed how every so often the same lessons or archetypal behaviour is passed to a new population with new bells and whistles but it is the same old plot.

The retelling of Pyramus and Thisbee; The Twilight Saga © Summit Entertainment

Here it goes, a couple of examples for different blockbusters in the last two decades.

The first example is “The Twilight Saga.”

It made a gazillion* of dollars in books, movies, and merchandise. The whole world was so happy that they came to read and watch something so fresh and romantic. Were they really?

If you don’t know what “The Twilight Saga” entails, here is a summary of the plot.
A young maiden is caught in a love triangle between two rival gangs.
Please now allow me to summarize the plot for “The West Side Story.”
A young maiden is caught in a love triangle between two rival gangs.
Are you surprised by the similarity?

Evidently, in “The West Side Story” the rival gangs known as “Sharks” and “Jets” were replaced by werewolves and vampires on its newest version as “The Twilight Saga;” otherwise, it is the same plot. The inspiration for “The West Side Story” was to turn Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” into an urban musical, instead of using family members, the musical turned the families members into urban gangs. Very few people know that Shakespeare plagiarized “Romeo and Juliet” from an ancient story written by Ovid. The Roman writer wrote a love saga called “Pyramus and ThisbÄ“,” about a young couple who lived in Babylon 800 years before his time. Therefore, “The Twilight Saga” is nothing besides a recurring archetype in human literature, of love triumphing above prejudice.

The Lord of the Rings ©New Line Cinema

Another example of example of an old archetype redress as new making gazillion* of dollars; is the blockbuster called, “The Lord of the Rings.” If you are not familiar with the plot, here is the essence of 1000 pages: “The main characters have to wrestle with ethical values when a ring will provide them unlimited power including invisibility.”

This concept was plotted by J. R. R. Tolkien was not original, when Tolkien was 7 years old, H. G. Wells published a book called “The Invisible Man.” Wells’ main character had to wrestle with the ethics of having invisibility and no accountability. This concept is not original for H.G. Wells either. One of my favourite book of all time is called, “The Republic” authored by Plato narrating the lessons from his teacher, Socrates. In fact, I designed the cover of my book on archetypes based in one of the lessons of “The Republic,” called “The Allegory of the Cave.”

AiOL-Facebook-cover02

The banner version of the book’s cover, “Archetypes in Our Lives.” © Dr.Etc Media

Another story from the pages of Plato is the story called, “The Ring of Gyges.” Socrates postulated that a shepherd stole a ring from a sarcophagus which gave him invisibility. Socrates main question after citing the story was: Would an ethical individual remain ethical if he had no accountability for his actions?” J. R. R. Tolkien expanded one chapter of “The Republic” into 1000 pages.

I hope by now you understand that there is very little that Hollywood has been producing that it has not been written before, and “Star Wars” is no exception.

By the way, I am not giving the plot away when I say that the main part of the plot is Luke Skywalker unknowingly killing his own father while the rest of the cast are the white knights having to fight the dark knights. Well, in “Star Wars” the cast are not called knights, they are called Jedis and Darths. So, here are the main similarities between “Star Wars” and ancient Greek mythology.

Oedipus unknowingly battled and killed his father.

“Oedipus the King” (Oedipus Rex) is a tragedy written by Sophocles. A youngster has to pass to a series of trials becoming a hero, later in the plot, unknowingly he comes to kill his own father. Another similarity to “Star Wars” and ancient Greek mythology is the recurrence of white knights replacing the tyranny of the dark knights. This part of the ancient mythology, the author George Lucas decided to call the status quo as “the dark side of the force.” The various plot in ancient mythology narrates that white knights will eventually turn into a dark ones. This recurring motif is seen in “Jason and the Argonauts,” also in “The Castration of Uranus,” and the “Titanomachy” or “The Battle of Titans.” In essence Cronus once upon the time was a white knight and his father Uranus was making trouble. He battled his father and took his father’s place and eventually he went to the dark-side. Later in Greek Cosmogony Cronus’ (Saturn)  youngest son, Zeus (Jupiter) was once again the white knight replacing his dark force father, Cronus.

The film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is going to once again make a gazillion of dollars based on the ignorance of an audience who is not in touch with their library card. In other words, the essence of, “The Twilight Saga,” “The Lord of the Rings,” “Star Trek,” “Marvels’ The Avengers,” a”Star Wars,” and many other epics, comes from the same place—ancient mythology.

Zoroastrianism, the oldest religion on record.

Here is another extend of “Star Wars,” that people may find oblivious, it has to do with a religious archetype. According to anthropologist, the oldest religion found in written history is Zoroastrianism. The religion comes from Persia, and it has a simple format Duo-theism,** a good god and a bad god (a light god, and a dark god). Christianity took from Zoroastrianism’s format as an “alleged new” concept in which good and evil are inherent spiritual forces testing us. Whether  “good and evil concept” is the Christian Church doctrine, the “Star Wars” doctrine, “The Lord of the Rings” doctrine or “Marvels’ The Avengers” doctrine; they all have one thing in common—archetypal formats. So whether today (or in ancient times), when a person goes to church is to learn the difference between good and bad modes of behaviour or archetypal behaviour, when a person goes to the movies is no different.

Long lines at the movies; moviegoers unaware that the archetypes are recycled from ancient Greek mythology.

The similarities of archetypal characters from “Star Wars” echoes so many religious archetypes that some soldiers and geeks have decided to list their religion in job applications or alike as Jedi. So for the next few days, you may see lines at movie theaters go around the block for archetypal characters that were based on ancient Greek mythology and the oldest religion known to mankind, Zoroastrianism. Theses plots which have been in human consciousness for the last three to five thousand years, that it is why they become “blockbusters” time and time again. Thus, once again, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it; and those who do not learn their mythology are domed to stand for hours in the line to see the very same archetypes written by the Greeks thousands of years ago.’

Footnotes:
* A gazillion is a very large and undetermined number.
** Zoroastrianism is considered a monotheistic religion, I rather call it duo-theism because two immortal deities are considered in order to validate a religious format. For instance, “Star Wars” would not exist without “the dark side” and nobody would watch “007,” if there were no villains to overcome.

To everyone Happy Holidays and Fiat Lux!

Fiat Lux! \"Share the light:\"