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Essays & Ideas

No Chosen One

There is a concept in many stories that I’ve been meaning to write an elaborate essay about. But since I never seem get around to it I’ll just write something shorter and less nuanced here and now.

The Chosen One.

I don’t like the concept. Yes, I know it’s a classic archetype, and it’s used in many good stories, though more or less successful. But eventually it gets boring with millions of chosen ones loitering our collective fiction doing heroes journeys ad nauseam.

There is one main thing that bothers me. It’s the notion that The Chosen One, one single person and no one else, can fix this huge problem that society is facing. It is the implication that some persons possess a character superior to everyone else.

Often heritage is invoked. Which makes it even worse by saying that some genes are more noble than others. But however they are chosen, this superiority makes them better at fighting, magic or whatever than those that has already been doing it for years.

I understand that the concept appeals to feelings we all have: “I’m such an ordinary person – I wish I was a secret princess with magical powers about to manifest so I can escape this boring life.” Nothing wrong with delusions of grandeur.

But when stories repeatedly promote salvation from one single person, be it chosen ones, kings, queens or eccentric billionaires, they are fostering the harmful belief that if you’re just “chosen” enough you can and should deal with any problem on your own.

No one is self-sufficient. People are most likely to succeed with the impossible when they work together and help each other. That is our strength as humans. That is the real triumph we need in the final act of the story.

Therefore we need to leave The Chosen One behind and move on by making new stories that instead inspire whole groups of people to go on collective hero’s journeys and help each other.