Thoughts on the film

For all four prot­ago­nists in the last docu­men­tary BEING THERE (website) who care about dying people, the begin­ning of their commit­ment to others was a profound exter­nal or inter­nal event that spur­red them on to action. This impulse can be descri­bed as a “call” that enab­led them to “venture beyond local-histo­ri­cal bounda­ries to the univer­sally valid human forms,” as the well-known myth rese­ar­cher Joseph Camp­bell put it.

In his epochal work “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, Joseph Camp­bell descri­bes how indi­vi­dual “hero’s jour­neys” have contri­buted time and again to deve­lo­ping and shaping new inspi­ra­ti­ons for a better togetherness.

“The hero is ... the human being – whether man or woman – who is able to venture beyond local-histo­ri­cal bounda­ries to the gene­rally valid human forms. His visi­ons, ideas and inspi­ra­ti­ons come unspoi­led from the source of human life and thought.“

Joseph Camp­bell, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” 

Follo­wing the obser­va­tion from the film BEING THERE, I asked myself whether we first need crises in order to break new ground and disco­ver new perspec­ti­ves that are important for our own deve­lo­p­ment and that of society.

What abili­ties can people deve­lop when they – follo­wing their call – leave the fami­liar behind and embark on their jour­ney into the unknown? Does this enable them to free them­sel­ves from stress­ful situa­tions, patterns of thought and action and to find their inner self in an incre­a­singly complex world? Can indi­vi­dual trans­for­ma­tion proces­ses also unfold social effects and provide answers to the chal­len­ges of major chan­ges and life transitions?

These questi­ons are central to the film PATHS OF LIFE. I accom­pa­nied four people in their search for answers. I asked them about their expe­ri­en­ces in dealing with pain­ful expe­ri­en­ces and the asso­cia­ted trans­for­ma­tion proces­ses. The stories they share can be descri­bed as ever­y­day. Joseph Camp­bell uses the term “hero”. Hero, howe­ver, does not mean the person who performs a “heroic deed”. Rather, Camp­bell means the person who is willing to hear his or her own call and follow it. The four prot­ago­nists could there­fore all be us.