The cave you fear to enter, holds the treasure you seek. – Joseph Campbell
With this one line, Joseph Cambell captures the power and significance of narrative to our lives. Campbell identified the archetype of The Hero Journey and its presence in myths and legends of every culture.
In the first chapter of his work “The Hero with 1000 Faces,” he writes:
It has always been the prime function of mythology and rite to supply the symbols that carry the human spirit forward, in counteraction to those that tend to tie it back. In fact, it may very well be that the very high incidence of neuroticism among ourselves follows the decline among us of such effective spiritual aid.
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 the undistorted, direct experience and assimilation of what [Carl] Jung called “the archetypal images.”