According to Joseph Campbell, the hero's journey is a symbol that binds two distant ideas: the spiritual quest of the ancients with the modern search for identity. Our Philos collection pays homage to philosophies, like Campbell's hero's journey, that inspire us to seek transformative experiences by engaging, among other things, the thoughts and perspectives of those that have come before.
Joseph Campbell identifies three primary stages of the hero’s journey:
1)⠀the “call to adventure” / separation,
Our personal journey began with the sage words of Bernard of Chartres, a philosopher and theologian from 12th-century France who coined the phrase, “..in comparison to the ancients, we stand like dwarves on the shoulders of giants.”
This statement, as echoed by thought leaders throughout the centuries, including Isaac Newton and Carl Sagan, to name a few, planted a seed of curiosity in our hearts – our first separation. It begged the question, “who were these giants and what exactly did they know?”
Traveling to Chartres, France, we began our journey at the cathedral where Bernard taught and studied ancient texts.
The juxtaposition of a labyrinth (evoking symbolism and meditative practices of non-Christian origin) embedded in the nave of one of the most important Catholic cathedrals in Medieval France, forced us to reconsider Bernard’s famous verse as both overt and subtle commentary.
Pulling on this thread, we entered the dystopian and challenging world of transformation we find ourselves in now.
In short, the desire to transform ourselves by learning from others is the driving force behind the brand. The ideas expressed in art, traditions and philosophies over the arc of human history light our way.
Unknown Union's collections seek to highlight the diverse perspectives we encounter on our journey: this is our philosophy, our Philos. And like any quest or adventure, our destination is unknown and we don’t expect to be the same when we return.
After all, “[t]he mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”