Stories about protagonists who’ve been misguided their whole lives about something very important have been emerging in our culture for generations, and they continue to delight audiences in the box office to this day.
The pauper was really a prince. Luke was Darth Vader’s son. Keanu Reeves had been living in a computer simulation. Bruce Willis was really a ghost. Jim Carrey’s whole world was the set of a TV show, and everyone in his life had been lying to him since his infancy.
This theme repeats so often because it strongly resonates with people. And it strongly resonates with people because it’s exactly what is happening.
From our earliest moments we are trained to fit in with a society that was designed from the ground up by the powerful in the service of the powerful. As soon as we are old enough to get curious about the world and how it works our heads are filled with lies about such matters, by our education systems, by the media we consume, by our parents who were indoctrinated in the same way, and by the very culture we find ourselves immersed in from day one.
These stories about a character who’s been deceived about life resonate so strongly with us because on some level we all suspect it might be true of our own lives as well. They whisper to something hidden and sacred within us that has always sensed that there’s something not quite right with the way we are perceiving things.