DOI: 10.18536/jge.2017., Efthimiou & Franco

Jump to: Journal of Genius and Eminence | Volume 2 Issue 2

Heroic Intelligence: The Hero’s Journey as an Evolutionary and Existential Blueprint

Olivia Efthimiou
Murdoch University

Zeno E. Franco
Medical College of Wisconsin

Efthimiou, O., & Franco, Z. E. (2017). Heroic Intelligence: The Hero’s Journey as an Evolutionary and Existential Blueprint. Journal of Genius and Eminence, 2(2), 32-43http://dx.doi.org/10.18536/jge.2017.

This article revisits the hero’s journey—and heroic behaviour as understood in its emerging contemporary conceptualisations—as a seat of intelligence across the biological, psychological, social, cultural, historical, phenomenological, and existential domains. In so doing, we acknowledge Joseph Campbell’s assertions about several changes that occur in heroes, one being differences or amplifications in certain types of cognitive activity. First, the hero’s journey is examined as a deeply ingrained event in our evolution, providing a foundation for the interconnection between heroism, intelligence, and the transformative process. We also examine the possibility that heroism can have biological implications, perhaps extending to epigenetic expression. Next, heroic behaviour is considered as intelligent behaviour that is embodied and embedded in our evolution and the everyday. The concept of the heroic as a discrete form of physical intelligence is examined through a phenomenological and existential lens; this supports a reading of human organisms as ‘hero organisms’, capable of heightened cognitive, physical, and transcendent action. The article concludes with a discussion on a physically grounded heroic intelligence as fundamentally a question of consciousness that is intimately bound to existential pursuits, and the legacy of Joseph Campbell’s work potentially re-defining the concept of evolutionary design.