the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

The Hero’s Journey: Equilibrium


John Preston: From Tetragrammaton Cleric to Champion of the Resistance

John Preston: From Tetragrammaton Cleric to Champion of the Resistance

Kurt Wimmer‘s movie Equilibrium, I think, is another fine example of the Monomyth, or The Hero’s Journey, in the transformation of John Preston.

I will tell you straightaway, dear readers, why I relate to this movie.  The central idea to the film is that emotion is a human characteristic, and to suppress it in the name of freedom and peace is to instead promote tyranny and enslavement.  Some time ago, I was proscribed a psychiatric drug that had the unfortunate side effect of cognitive slowing, both logically and emotionally.  I literally found it difficult to feel.  Such a state drove me to madness.  I was not able to break free even after threatening suicide and being committed inpatient, where the psychiatrist there severely curtailed the dose.  No, it was not until the state (which supplied my only insurance at the time) forbade such off-label use.

No, it was not Prozac, although the movie calls its drug Prozium, a rather sly reference to the same.

In the following posts, I will show how the Monomyth cycle applies to the film, although some elements have some interesting twists.  I hope to persuade you all that the film is much worthier than the panning it received from critics and some audiences, especially as an example of the Hero’s Journey.  It is not considered much as such an example, but it is deserving of mention.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Partridge forsakes his training: John Preston’s Call to Adventure


Author: jaklumen

Wherever you see "jaklumen", that's me- the username is still unique as of the current year. Be aware that the facet you see, is only a small part of the me that is me.

10 thoughts on “The Hero’s Journey: Equilibrium

  1. I sometimes worry (usually after an extremely long day at the paying job) that I’m too lazy to think deeply enough when it comes to this goal of mine – to be a writer. So far I’m into a fraction of your “About” page and … well, you’re not helping. Time to take a long hiatus from the easy Netflix option in the evenings. Phew.

    If I’m not mistaken under all this fatigue and dross cluttering my brain, my very own 290 day journey and beyond is related to your theme. 🙂 But enough about me. I think I’m going to enjoy your blog, Sensai.


    • Well, thank you. I really do appreciate reading that you’re taking some time to read, and that you have said as much. I don’t get a lot of comments here and I do wonder if I’m running too deep. I used to write about anything that popped into my head, and I still do sometimes, but this just inspired me.

      There is more to come– I have an epic fantasy that I’ve been writing off and on for maybe five years now. When I first read “The Hero With a Thousand Faces”, my jaw dropped because I realized I’d internalized this idea of the Monomyth, the Hero’s Journey, without realizing it.

      Thanks again for stopping by and leaving a very thoughtful comment.


  2. When I discovered this movie it blew my mind that I had never heard of it before, and today it remains one of my favorites.


    • Yeah, I guess it didn’t fare very well at the box office, probably because of what else was showing at the time. Kurt Wimmer said in the commentary that he was criticized for drawing from other films like the Matrix, but I think it stands very well on its own. I suspect it’s done better in video sales.


  3. I’ve been on almost every psych med that exists, and there were several meds that made me feel (or not feel) what you are describing. Unfortunately they didn’t stop at blocking my emotions. As with you these meds severely impaired my cognitive abilities. I had to medically withdraw from college several times because I could not focus on any subject matter for more than five minutes without being distracted or falling asleep. One of the meds I’m on now took me almost a year to get adjusted to. I spent that year laying on a mattress in my living room. The only thing my brain could do was play video games or sleep. My body was so exhausted all the time that I couldn’t even walk to the door to leave my house. All that to say I’m glad you are not taking that medicine anymore, nobody should have to live (or not live) that way.


    • Yes indeed, Joy. I hope that personalized medicine comes to us very, very soon. I’ve heard from another blogger who works in pharmaceuticals (Steve Betz) that R&D costs are much higher for such- but, wow, we need more drugs that are more specific, and less broad spectrum. Mental health and neurology are two areas that need such, very bad- for all the reasons you’ve stated.

      Of course, I do wonder like Kurt Wimmer suggests with his movie: are the elites of our society actually trying to keep us sedated?


      • I don’t think the elites are trying to keep us sedated but I respect your opinion.


        • Oof, Joy. Please don’t just brush it aside. I said “I wonder”, not “bold, my aluminum foil hat, that will keep the alien lizard government people from looking at my naked brain waves!” No, no, no, please. I think you’re getting me all wrong, all wrong. Please, lend me some slack. You’ve dealt with ritual abuse; therefore, is it any stretch to believe that people might tilt the field to their favor? No, rarely are such moves done melodramatically by obvious villains wearing black hats and twirling their moustaches. No, it’s much more subtle, and be forewarned; I have my opinions about the DSM-5. Ask Brenda Yuen; honest. We compared notes as she had the very text at hand. I read the criticism on the manual– specifically Allen Frances’s comments. He expressed great faith in his colleagues, but basically said something to the effect of “they meant well but you should basically ignore this, and the other” and so on, listing specific parts.

          Pardon me a few snaps of my fingers, but please, dear friend, this is too lazy an assumption, and I must stress to you with all due diligence that I am much more fastidious, much more rambling, much more prone to over-think the hell out of things, that you should rethink the notion that I have come to a simple conclusion of “oh noes, the richies are drugging us up and saying MUHAHA!” No, I’m saying it’s probably one of many tools they are subtly using to keep us distracted, entertained, and the like. Look up Juvenal’s reference to “bread and circuses”; Wikipedia gives a fairly quick summary. Wimmer isn’t the first; most social commentary like this is NEVER so brutally obvious, but it’s spelled out as such, so that we might consider censorship, fascism, and the like.


        • Now, if you prefer a Too Long; Didn’t Read (TL;DR) version:

          “You wound me, my friend! You misunderstand, greatly.”


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