Your Better Self > Our Primal Quests > Unravelling the Quests > Not «The Hero's Journey»

The Hero's Journey ≠ Primal Quest

You are the Hero

There are other quests beside the Primal Quests. One of the most important is the quest to «find yourself»: also referred to as the Hero's Journey. To add to the confusion, one or more Quests are often regarded as a stage within the Hero's Journey.


Primal Quests have no end. There is no meaning to «successful completion» of a Primal Quest, because its pursuit is the primordial source of happiness or meaning in life. Episodes in the Quest do reach conclusions, but no sooner is an episode concluded than a new expression of the same Primal Quest is sought or generated.

So the most obvious difference is that the Hero's Journey, like all good stories, comes to an end. The person finds a place in their society (or fails to do so). The search for self results in self-discovery (or is abandoned).

See comparison of the Hero's Journey and a Primal Quest in the Table below.

Your Journey

The Hero's Journey is a mythical statement of your obligation to grow up and take your place in society. This Journey is required to determine who you are, what you can do, what you want to do, what you should be like—even what your Primal Quest is. None of these aspects of personal maturation can be taken for granted and they do not get effortlessly handed to you.

On leaving the safety and care of your family you enter a puzzling and difficult world: one that was not created or specifically adapted to suit you. You have to make your own way in life. Superficially, you make a life for yourself by pursuing your endeavours, which means dealing with others and handling dangers. However, each of us invariably discovers that our Journey is an inner challenge and struggle that is peculiarly our own—even if we see others undergoing something similar.

You are the hero of your own life and your journey is necessary and unavoidable. You can and will engage with it, for better or worse, like it or not.


  Primal Quests The Hero's Journey
Purpose To provide life's activities with a source of happiness or meaning that transcends time and culture. To mature as an authentic person, capable of work and trusting relationships, within a given society.
Trajectory Endlessly repeated or continued. An adventure with a start, a middle and an end.
Freedom Impersonal State: about what is «right» and what is «right for you»; not a journey. Personal Development: about «self-actualization»; may include finding a Primal Quest.
Experience The Quest is a continuing source of happiness &/or meaning, and stresses are secondary. Invariably and necessarily stressful, but completing the journey is satisfying.
Social relations The Quest may be used and valued in society, or society may be indifferent to it, or even regard it as anti-social. The Journey involves handling family, obtaining support and willing helpers/guides, and social integration.
Societal Benefit Varies. Provides ethical-spiritual input for humanity. High. Leads to socialized and productive individuals.
Age Effect Relevant throughout life, but awareness often only arrives in later life. Occurs usually in the first half of life: but may start at any age if a person's «true self» has been alienated or cocooned.

Originally posted: 18-May-2012

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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