Highlander as a Metaphor

Posted: August 20, 2010 in Personal Growth

I don’t know if I’ve written a piece about this theme before. I do know that I’ve told it to many associates who stood wide-eyed, apparently trying to get their minds around the concept I was trying to describe.

The idea is this: the theme of Highlander is about an immortal who can’t be killed unless his/her head is cut off. This usually happens as the result of mortal combat between two immortals. Each episode or movie is replete with a history of the hero; concentrating on events that are relevant to the story about to unfold. The historical event can be one that happened hundreds of years ago because the hero is many hundreds of years old and has had many combats with as many other immortals.

What’s especially important to this theme is what happens to the victor after beheading his/her erstwhile foe. Using special effects the victor goes into some kind of trance and multiple fireworks ensue that signify something really great (or gross, depending on your perspective) is changing him/her. If you follow the series you are aware that the victor absorbs the powers of the vanquished.

How I relate to the hero in the series is my reward for engaging others in conversations. These conversations always teach me something. Now, I don’t go away denigrating my associate (which would be analogous to cutting his/her head off). No, I either forget who I got the power from or don’t mention him/her later. I might, however, reveal my associate when I mention the revelation in order to present him/her in a good light. A note to myself: I must remember to cap my revelation with its author. To do otherwise is to lie[1] (by omission) and make it look like this bit of wisdom was my own creation.

This theme supports that which was detailed in an issue of Psychology Today several years ago. I thought I had a copy of that issue; but I can’t find it. What’s worse is I can’t find the article via any search engine; including the one that hunts through the archives of Psychology Today. I believe I’ve written about that series of articles that was published within a few years of Columbine; so I won’t repeat here.

[1] Refer to Carl Sandburg’s poem that starts “Remember the Chameleon”


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