The hero is the man of self-achieved submission. But submission to what? That precisely is the riddle that today we have to ask ourselves and that it is everywhere is the primary virtue and historic deed of the hero to have solved. As Professor Arnold J. Toynbee indicates in his six-volume study of the laws of the rise and disintegration of civilizations, schism in the soul, schism in the body social, will not be resolved by any scheme of return to the good old days (archaism), or by programs guaranteed to render an ideal projected future (futurism), or even by the most realistic, hard headed work to weld together again the deteriorating elements. Only birth can conquer death — the birth, not of the old thing again, but of something new. Within the soul, within the body social, there must be — if we are to experience long survival — a continuous “recurrence of birth” (palingenesia) to nullify the unremitting recurrences of death. For it is by means of our own victories, if we are not regenerated, that the work of Nemesis is wrought: doom breaks from the shell of our very virtue. Peace then is a snare; war is a snare; permanence is a snare. When our day is come for the victory of death, death closes in; there is nothing we can do, except be crucified — and resurrected; dismembered totally, and then reborn.
- Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces