Ben Horowitz: My Unlikely Hero (Prelude: The Hero’s Journey)

Jun 14, 2015 · 5 min read
Silicon Valley: Ben in his office at Andreessen Horowitz in Menlo Park, CA. Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.” ― Henry David Thoreau

“You have to love the hell you go through, in order for things to turn out right.” ― Anonymous

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” ― Joseph Campbell

“As with the creation and application of mathematics being the theoretical physical extension of Man’s intangible thought and the Universe’s abstract spiritual essence to relay the understanding of It’s workings within and effect on the physical world; so is mythology the key to the search for and understanding, development and realization of the divinely spiritual inner nature, principles, character traits, origin and existence of Man and the drama that unfolds in such awakening.” ― Anonymous

To all of those that do and don’t know who I am and who came upon this post purposely or “by chance.” Welcome to my journey!

Perhaps your simply here because of Ben Horowitz, which would be fully understandable given who he is and being that his name is in the title, tags, etc. However, not to disappoint, but this blog is not about Ben Horowitz per se, but more so rather about my personal evolution on so many levels within my life directly and indirectly relative to Ben since he and I became friends.

So, this initial post is to serve as the prelude to a seven part blog entitled, “Ben Horowitz: My Unlikely Hero” that I will be sharing and exclusively publishing here on Medium over the next seven weeks. The totality of that blog will serve as a tribute to a man who I hold in high regard and who has had a profound impact on my life (that even he doesn’t fully know); while simultaneously relaying the details of my journey and personal growth since I was blessed to connect with him personally over a year ago and which led to the development of Ben becoming and ultimately my realization of Ben being my hero.

Though to be most likely seen as highly unlikely to most, initially including myself; you will learn in detail through this blog, exactly why I came to hold this sentiment and why Ben is so worthy of such an honor that I personally reserve for only a select few; and perhaps in the end agree.

From right to left: Ancient Egyptian goddess and gods Isis, her husband Osiris, and their son Horus, the protagonists of the Osiris myth.

A Brief History of Heru to Hero

The word Hero has its origin of and definition from in the mythology of Ancient Egypt. The Ancient Egyptian word and god Heru is the root word and archetype of the modern word and protagonist Hero. Heru was adopted into Greek as Horus from which the word Hero is derived. According to Egyptian scholar Dr. Charles S. Finch III, MD, Horus is the prefigu­ration of the Ancient Greek word and concept of the Hero.

In Ancient Egypt Heru’s (Horus’) archetypical characteristics are those of the avenger, the Divine son, the fulfiller, heir; king, bringer of light, good twin, champion over darkness and evil and later redeemer. These multifaceted aspects of Heru (Horus) are divided according to three categories — symbolic, mythological, and archetypal.

Set: Ancient Egyptian god of chaos, confusion, disorder, violence, etc.

The Osiris Myth

In short, the Ancient Egyptian Osiris myth is that Set, the evil brother of Osiris (Ausar) murders Osiris and dismembers his body. Osiris’ son Horus (Heru) avenges his father’s death, battling and defeating the evil Set. Horus then collects the dismembered body parts of his father Osiris and returns them back to his mother Isis (Auset) to make Osiris whole again and brings him back to life.

The ultimate achievement of Man is to seek out, find and liberate his inner Hero (our Heru or Horus); our positive higher self within us (fighting and battling and eventually defeating our negative lower self — our Set); while honoring the personal and local Heroes outside of us in our own lives, communities and the world at large.

A drawing of Heru (Horus) by dacreativegenuis.

The meaning of Hero:

A hero (masculine or gender-neutral) or heroine (feminine) is a person or character who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, displays courage or self-sacrifice for some greater good — that is, heroism. The word’s meaning extends to include moral excellence.

In modern movies, the hero is often simply an ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances, who, despite the odds being stacked against him or her, typically prevails in the end.

The word “hero” or “heroine” is sometimes used simply to describe the protagonist of a story.

According to Merriam-Webster Hero means:

: a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities

: a person who is greatly admired

: the chief male or female character in a story, play, movie, etc.

Other Definitions:

a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability

b : an illustrious warrior

c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities

d : one who shows great courage

e : the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work

f : the central figure in an event, period, or movement

g : an object of extreme admiration and devotion : idol

Horus (Heru): Egyptian god of the sun, sky and kingship.

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” ― Joseph Campbell

In a well-known quote from the introduction to The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell summarized the hero monomyth:

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow gifts upon his fellow man.”

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