In my first round through the monomyth, the Elixir I attained was the discovery of conservative ideals of meritocracy, rugged individualism, stoicism, and personal responsibility. However, the ultimate purpose of the Hero’s Journey is to become a balanced Master of Two Worlds, and before I could return to my Ordinary World of geeks and nerds I had to learn to temper my newly acquired powers of mental resiliency with the heart-centered approach of the dainty people I had left behind. I managed it rather well, for a time. Eventually, though, much like the hobbits that returned to the Shire after saving Middle Earth from Sauron, I too found my victorious return falling flat. Like Samwise Gamgee, I made a go at a relationship with one of “my kind” and attempted to “settle down”. Unlike Sam, however, I could not stomach a quiet life, and I got on with the next round of my journey (almost) the second a new Call to Adventure came in, especially once it became clear that the elixir I brought back was not wanted by those I wished to serve.
It turned out that while I saw comics, films, and video games as a mirror for personal development, most of the people I rubbed elbows with at conventions preferred to use them as an escape from their responsibility-ridden lives. You see, a lot of modern Geekdom is comprised of millennials that are college-educated, sunk into debt they’ll never get out of, and largely unhappy with their lives. Many feel like “the system” not only failed them, it victimized them; so when I came along advocating the need to “embrace the suck” it was like nails on a chalkboard. Did this mean that I failed? No, it just meant that there was more work to do on myself, and in June of 2020 I was given the chance to prove how far I had come when I was “cancelled” from my local cosplay community.
A post was made on Facebook by someone I used to work kids parties with in which he shared screenshots of my social media activity that he believed proved I was a racist, anti-Semitic, transphobic, blah-blah-blah. Mind you, it was not of anything I actually posted; just photos of memes that I laugh reacted to which he found offensive. I didn’t post them myself, I didn’t tag him or anyone he knew, I just clicked “laugh”. Oh, and I made one comment in which I thanked a friend for posting some statistics that I was looking for, that this kid viewed as “hate facts”. Ridiculous, I know, but with that, he had enough to get me ousted from the local scene, costing me “friends” and opportunities for work. I had considered taking legal action against him for slander, but I ultimately decided against it for more than just my reluctance to go through the hassle of a liable lawsuit; it was also because I sensed that the incident was an opportunity for me to grow, both as a man and as a hero.
Now, of course my Shadow Warrior wanted to fight back. The slanderer unfriended me on Facebook (so as not to be accused of being “white supremacist adjacent”) but he didn’t block me, and I suspect he was hoping I would see his attack and engage with him, but I would not be so easily baited. I would not let a child with self-esteem issues undue the years of hard work I put in to my personal development.
My slanderer fancies himself a “social justice warrior”, that is to say, a “defender of the oppressed” who is “protecting the community” by actively taking time out of his day to scour the Facebook activity of potential thought criminals for examples of wrong-think so as to get them ostracized from “polite society”. In reality he is a nosy, self-righteous little busy-body with too much time on his hands, desperate to control the world around him and signal his virtue to the collective by attacking someone that did nothing to him or anyone else. For his troubles he is given a few digital pats on the head and told he is a good boy through a positive feedback loop of likes and comments. He has no personal value of his own, so he needs to have his self-worth reaffirmed by a group of like-minded ideologues who let him sit at their table and “spill tea” with them. Honestly, the whole thing would be aggravating if it weren’t so sad.
The boy labors tirelessly under the wrath of not only HIS personal Dragon of Grandiosity, manically striving “to keep up with its demands” as Moore put it, but also that of the group identity with which he religiously adheres. He doesn’t realize that while the group chants an unspoken mantra of “Better get them on the chopping block before they GET you!”, it soon turns into, “Better get us more for the chopping block, or else it’ll BE you!” To make matters worse, he has made the mistake of poking his head above the crowd as a champion of “social justice”, and if you study history, even badly, you’ll know that the heads that stand above a crowd of collectivists don’t remain attached to the bearer for long. Sooner or later, the mob comes for everyone, and as that beast starts to eat its own, the victims are often driven mad – circling the drain in a downward spiral of insistence and rationalization for their non-crimes, never to see the surface of sanity again. If this whole paradigm seems familiar, that’s because it is, and it’s the reason that Western Civilization is on the brink of collapse.
YouTube intro: https://youtu.be/4mBCCi1SNLQ