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The Hero’s Journey of Modern Men (Part 4 – Return)


Joseph Campbell hero's journey examples


This is part 4 of 4. Click here for part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Jerry has conquered it all. His inner demons no longer exist; he’s fought them to the death, and has emerged victorious. His entire life is in alignment with his core principles: he believes in the truth, and his whole life embodies it. He is a man of integrity, and a man of principle.

And because of this, the “material” parts of his life are all in abundance. He has ample money, a nice penthouse suite in Miami, a ton of male comrades, and dozens of gorgeous women who desperately want him to settle down for them.

But this almost dream-like feeling is intoxicating; after achieving it, he almost doesn’t want to intermingle with others who have not attained it themselves. He doesn’t want to come back to “normal reality.”


Trial #12 – Refusal of the Return

Joseph Campbell hero's journey examples

Most heroes, after achieving the Ultimate Boon, and undergoing a massive personal transformation (as described under Apotheosis) do not want to return to normal reality. They refuse to return. For whatever the reason may be, Jerry does not want to leave his new life. He doesn’t want to settle down; he doesn’t want to have children, he doesn’t want to stop going out and gaming every day. This is why many men choose to become a sigma male—they don’t want any part in society.

At this point, he’s probably in his early to mid 30’s. He’s in a trance like state, because he’s been living in a dream-world for so long. Everything in his life is perfect…and he’s afraid to leave it all behind. But, as with all great heroes, something calls him back to “normal reality,” you could say. He’s called to return to his roots; he’s destined to return to the place that made him, to the life that created him.

“Even Gautama Buddha, after his triumph, doubted whether the message of realization could be communicated, and saints are reported to have died while in the supernal ecstasy. Numerous indeed are the heroes fabled to have taken up residence forever in the blessed isle of the unaging Goddess of Immortal Being.”

-Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces


Trial #13 – The Magic Flight

Joseph Campbell hero's journey examples

Because Jerry, and most modern men, won’t want to return to ordinary reality once they’ve attained this god-like state of consciousness, something typically has to draw them back into reality.

After meditating under a tree for what felt like an eternity, Buddha was hesitant to return to the unawakened masses.

But something called him—he realized how much the world was suffering, and he felt compelled to change it. For modern men, the magic flight will most likely take this form. Maybe it’s you seeing some young kid getting his guts ripped out by a manipulative bitch, or maybe it’s your full understanding of just how much modern men are suffering.

Whatever it is, something will draw you back into the “chode-realm,” or the reality-tunnel of the average man. Say that Jerry’s walking through Miami one day, on his way to a posh nightclub, when suddenly a young man, maybe 17 or 18, jumps out at him and points a gun in his face. “Give me the fucking money, man!” he shouts.

“Woah, okay – take it easy man.” Jerry says. “I’M NOT FUCKING JOKING BRO, HAND ME YOUR FUCKING WALLET.” Jerry gazes into his eyes for a brief moment, and sees how lost the young man is; he can see the anger and frustration that he’s gone through. He realizes that the poor kid probably never had a male role model, and inside, he’s just a desperate little boy craving to be loved.

Jerry, because he’s spent so much time working on himself, and socializing with others, realizes all of this in a moment. There’s something funny about working on yourself that paradoxically teaches you to better understand others. Perhaps, it’s because we all share the same human condition; by uncovering your own bullshit, you can better see it in others.

“Here you go, man.” Jerry says calmly, with an understanding face. The boy takes the money and runs away, but he can’t shake the feeling that Jerry gave him; the feeling that there might be other men out there that actually care. Jerry walks over to a nearby bench, and plops down; he starts to sob. He feels the young boy’s pain, intensely, because he realizes that he could’ve been in that boy’s shoes had he not discovered the manosphere.

He realizes how our society churns out criminals and degenerates like a factory, because we’re not grounded. We have no spiritual mentors, no male role models; we have no men to teach boys how to develop discipline, courage, or integrity—and in this moment, Jerry makes a decision: “I need to change this.” In that moment, Jerry realizes that, although living in his own little reality was absolutely amazing, that ultimately, it isn’t fulfilling. He wants to help others attain that same reality.

This, my friends, is the magic flight. Something literally FORCES Jerry to confront the old reality that he was once a part of, and it kindles a fire deep within him. He wants to help others draw themselves out of that miserable existence, and help them attain a new life.

“If the hero in his triumph wins the blessing of the goddess or the god and is then explicitly commissioned to return to the world with some elixir for the restoration of society, the final stage of his adventure is supported by all the powers of his supernatural patron. On the other hand, if the trophy has been attained against the opposition of its guardian, or if the hero’s wish to return to the world has been resented by the gods or demons, then the last stage of the mythological round becomes a lively, often comical, pursuit.”

-Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces


Trial #14 – Rescue From Without

Joseph Campbell hero's journey examples

As Jerry meanders back to his home, heartbroken from what’s just happened, he pours himself a glass of whiskey and looks out at the city. He has a gorgeous view of the skyline—all glass windows, a $5,000/month high-rise apartment. He has ample money invested in the stock market, he drives a Porsche, and he’s jacked from years of discipline and training.

As he takes a sip of his aged whiskey, he unlocks his phone to see that he has 8 unread messages, all from 8 different girls:

  • “Where are you?? We were supposed to meet at Icon!”
  • “Hey Jerry—it’s Jessica, me and my friend are having an after party later…you should swing by :)”
  • “Jerry can we talk? I felt like I was really bitchy to you last night…I’m sorry…”

He takes a gulp of his whiskey, and feels the intense pain in his chest; suddenly, he recalls how he used to feel before he discovered the manosphere and implemented its strategies into his life. He remembers what it was like to be a young, depressed, lost man, angry at the world, in need of guidance…and despite him having nearly every material possession a man could want, one thought burns deep into his soul:

“None of this matters. What the fuck is the point if I’m not helping others?”

Jerry still enjoys his material possessions, but he now internalizes that he needs to return to the ordinary world. He needs to enter into the old reality that he lived in for a long time, in order to help other men get out. He just doesn’t know how.

That’s when he gets an unexpected call from an old friend, a friend that he met years ago on a trip to Houston, Texas. “Hey—Jerry? It’s Jon. What’s up man?”

“Wow, Jon…it’s been a while.” They go on talking, and Jerry confides in Jon what just happened. He wants to change the world, but doesn’t know how. Well, it turns out that Jon has found several wealthy investors to start a boarding school for fatherless boys, and he wants Jerry to be one of the teachers. This is the rescue from without. Jerry needed Jon to help find the way, and Jon delivered.

“The hero may have to be brought back from his supernatural adventure by assistance from without. That is to say, the world may have to come and get him. For the bliss of the deep abode is not lightly abandoned in favor of the self-scattering of the wakened state. ‘Who having cast off the world,’ we read, ‘would desire to return again? He would be only there.’ And yet, in so far as one is alive, life will call. Society is jealous of those who remain away from it, and will come knocking at the door. If the hero. . . is unwilling, the disturber suffers an ugly shock; but on the other hand, if the summoned one is only delayed—sealed in by the beatitude of the state of perfect being (which resembles death)—an apparent rescue is effected, and the adventurer returns.”

-Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces


Trial #15 – Crossing of the Return Threshold

Joseph Campbell hero's journey examples

Jerry steps off the plane and puts his foot down onto solid ground. “This is it,” he thinks. “I’m here.” Minutes later, as he’s cruising through the suburbs of D.C., he gets a call from Jon. “Hey, man—I texted you the address, what’s your ETA?” asks Jon. “I’ll be there in about 5 minutes, Jon. Keep me posted.”

“Sounds good,” says Jon, “but one more thing. There’s an investor here who’s threatening to pull the rug. His wife got it into her head that we’re going to be teaching men to be assholes; they’re coming over in a few minutes for a talk.”

“Shit, man—I’ll get there as fast as I can.” Click. Jerry’s cab driver pulls up in front of a gated building; it’s a beautiful boarding school, complete with a school yard, cafeteria, and everything. Jerry rushes into the main office, and as he rounds the corner, he hears a shrill scream: “YOU’RE TEACHING MEN TO BE SEXIST THIS IS BULLSHIT BLAH-BLAH-BLAH-BLAH.”

“Oh fuck, that must be her,” Jerry thinks. He enters into the office, and is confronted by a fat, middle-aged, man-woman. “You must be that JERRY guy who’s going to be teaching these boys to be MISOGYNISTS!” she spouts. Jerry calmly looks to her right, where he sees a wealthy looking investor with his head hung in shame, and he looks over to his left at Jon.

They share a glimpse, and Jerry can tell that Jon is worried—the next words that come out of his mouth will determine whether or not their entire plan will go to shit or not.

In other words, Jerry is forced to confront his old “feminazi” reality tunnel in order to move forward.

He’s forced to speak with this angry, bitter old woman, who maintains that masculinity should be stomped out of men at a young age, in order to move forward. Just as Jerry had previously dared to move past his old feminist reality tunnel, into the new, and scary, truthful reality tunnel that he embodies, he must now return to this very same threshold, so that he can confront it, and rightfully master it.

“With the personifications of his destiny to guide and aid him, the hero goes forward in his adventure until he comes to the ‘threshold guardian’ at the entrance to the zone of magnified power. Such custodians bound the world in four directions — also up and down — standing for the limits of the hero’s present sphere, or life horizon.”

-Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces


Trial #16 – Master of Two Worlds

Joseph Campbell hero's journey examples
Normally, the man becomes master of a spiritual and physical world, of some sort.

This is, perhaps, the stage that sends chills down my spine the most. This is when modern man is not only the master of the manosphere’s principles; not only does he embody discipline, courage, honor, and strength of body and mind, but because he’s traveled down the beaten path and conquered his own inner demons, he has the incredible ability to show others the way.

But, as referenced in Joseph Campbell’s quote prior, there is a “threshold guardian,” who is guarding the way to this new realm of power. In this case, the threshold guardian is the angry, misandristic bitch trying to block Jon and Jerry from establishing a man’s boarding school.

Jerry must confront the threshold guardian to become the master of two worlds—and he does.

“Hello, Mrs. Black, I’ve heard that you have an issue with our school? Would you mind telling me more?” She spits vile hatred at Jerry, but because Jerry’s been through it all, he completely maintains his composure. He sits her down, pulls out a specific curriculum that they’ll be teaching the boys, and walks her through it, step by step.

It isn’t even the words that he’s saying that convince her, though—it’s the way that he says them.

Because he understands that she probably just had a terrible father and has repressed anger towards him, he’s understanding. He doesn’t jump to conclusions, he doesn’t verbally berate her, he just empathizes with her. She walks out somehow feeling the exact opposite as she did when she stepped in. Jerry has successfully regained a crucial investor so that the boy’s boarding school can continue on.

I realize that this is kind of a random example, but that’s the point. Every man’s “master of two worlds,” will be different. For some, it may be you having to teach a young boy, or possibly your son, about life. For others it may be something entirely different. But the main point is that you will eventually become the “master of two worlds,” because you’ve conquered those two worlds within yourself. You’ve overcome your old chode self, and have given birth to an entirely new man.

“Freedom to pass back and forth across the world division, from the perspective of the apparitions of time to that of the causal deep and back—not contaminating the principles of the one with those of the other, yet permitting the mind to know the one by virtue of the other—is the talent of the master. The Cosmic Dancer, declares Nietzsche, does not rest heavily in a single spot, but gaily, lightly, turns and leaps from one position to another.”

-Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces


Trial #17 – Freedom to Live

Joseph Campbell hero's journey examples

Now that Jerry has conquered his inner demons, become a man of virtue and integrity, and learned to master the two “reality tunnels,” that he’s been through (the social narrative vs. the truth), he is free to live. He no longer fears death, for he’s lived it multiple times—when his old self died off, in the Belly of the Whale phase, and when he underwent rebirth in the “Apotheosis,” phase.

Jerry has died many times before, and no longer fears death.

He is now, for this very reason, completely free to live life on his terms. He answers to nobody, because he isn’t even afraid of death. What can you do to intimidate a man who is not afraid of death? Jerry now spends the rest of his days, still becoming more disciplined, working out, gaming, networking, and growing as a human being, but he also spends a significant portion of his time teaching young boys how to become men.

Again, this may take a different form for modern men, but the point is that you’ve gone the entire journey, and are now free to find your life’s passion. Maybe you’re now free to build hospitals in Uganda or to raise a son, or to build a business like Tesla or SpaceX that revolutionizes an industry. Whatever it is that you want to do, you are now free to do it; you do not fear failure or death, because you know those two impostors are just that. You are now a free man.

“The hero is the champion of things becoming, not of things become, because he is. “Before Abraham was, I AM.” He does not mistake apparent changelessness in time for the permanence of Being, nor is he fearful of the next moment (or of the ‘other thing’), as destroying the permanent with its change.”

-Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces


Final Thoughts

Joseph Campbell hero's journey examples

I realize that this was a very long article, but I took the time to write it out, because I believe that all of us can learn something from it.I urge you to go back and try to figure out what phase you’re in.

If I had to guess, most men reading this blog are still in Phase 3: The Initiation. Regardless of what phase you’re in, learn to enjoy the journey. Try not to judge yourself for only being at a certain stage; you’re exactly where you need to be to learn the lessons that you need to learn.

I hope that you gleamed a lot of insight into the journey that countless modern men are going through, and as always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave them below. And, as always, I’ll see you guys next time.

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2 years ago

Thank you for the article.

This was more than insightful. It was a long article but everything you said resonated with me.

I’ve started my journey for a while and am in multiple stages in my life for different aspects of my life like you mention.

I come here to read your articles and feel grounded afterwards really appreciate it.

As per the article, you mention that if we were looking for mentors, we should reach out to them. This is me reaching out to you.


Race Bannon
6 years ago

Hi Jon,

It’s so cool that you, and others like Victor Pride, are sharing on the Manosphere these “secrets” to masculinity.

Sadly, I’m late to the game. At 58 years of age, my body and mind have been ravaged by decades of abuse because I thought I was a lost cause. What few teeth I have left are either broken or perforated from lack of giving a fuck. Cigarettes have left me with the endurance of a newborn, again from a “what’s the use?” attitude to life due to total failure with women. I didn’t know, until too late, that I could change myself.

Keep up the good work. At least there is hope for the young men who discover you.


derek arcila
6 years ago

Man I needed to read this . Currently, I’m combating family beliefs and accepting that my father didn’t teach me much about anything.


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