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Saturday, January 1, 2011

LVII. No More Heroes

Definition of Hero:  a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his/her brave deeds and noble qualities.

But that definition still leaves a very important thing out of what a hero is.  That just explains what they do.  The Man of Steel, The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Captain America, and Spider Man. What do they all have in common? They are known comic heroes in American culture. They all have special powers and/or abilities beyond normal capacity of a human being (flying, speed, suits of armor, climbing walls). They all have gadgets that they have created or that were made specially for them (fortress of fortitude, bat belt, lasso of truth). But these are not what makes them heroes.  All of this just explains the first part of the definition.  The second part is perhaps the more important.

All of the above did (and do) brave deeds.  They have enough courage to stand up to those who are defiant.  Their brave deeds cause stories about them to spread.  Fables, folklore, and legends are born with stories of great deeds.  But sometimes brave deeds are only brought on by the situation.  Not taking away from the bravery but there is even more to the definition of hero that needs expansion.

Noble qualities.  All of the above had something about their character that makes them heroes more than their special abilities, or even their brave deeds.  They all showed character above reputation.  They showed moral standard is more important than instant gratification.  There was something about them that made them put themselves last.  They chose to help others.  They chose to stand up.  They chose to be committed to their cause.  They chose to do what is right!

We don't have any more heroes in this world.  That does not mean that policemen, firemen, or soldiers are not of this nature.  They need to be respected, cheered, and helped in any way.  This is referring to the ordinary person.  The average person doesn't know how to be heroes anymore.  They don't know how because they don't know how to be unselfish.  They don't know about commitment.  We don't know how to do what is right.  Actually, that is not accurate.  We choose not to do what is right.  We choose to do the easy things.  We choose to do the thing that will benefit us the most.

The worst thing about all of this is we live as though there is no consequence.  We live without regard to anyone around us.  We think nothing we do affects anyone around us and that is the complete falsehood or rationalization of our actions.  Everything we do affects others.  If you physically interact with people, that is obvious you have affected them.  If you verbally interact with people, you have affected them.  We know this and we still choose to hurt others with our actions and/or words.  And by the way, words sometimes hurt worse.  Sticks and stones may break my bones but your words cut right through me.

But what people do not understand is that the things we do to ourselves, even though there is no interaction with others, still affects those around us.  You do drugs?  You just hurt someone.  You neglect you children by not paying support?  You just hurt someone.  You are full of hate?  You just hurt someone.  You can't handle commitment?  You just hurt someone.  No matter what we do our action whether done by commission or omission affect ourselves and others.  Everything we do has a consequence.  And here is the most important part of this whole thought.  Our actions are our own responsibility.  Stop blaming others for your whole life.

Anything that takes actual commitment and/or guts to follow through with has an easy way out. Or at least people take the easy way out. No one wants to fight for what is right anymore. If the Batman was real in today's time, he would have been sued by the ACLU. There is no such things as heroes today because we have wimped out of everyday life.


hawkssong68 said...

"True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost."
-- Arthur Ashe

I like this quote. Given this ideal, heroism is attained everyday.

The recovering alcoholic who refuses to take a drink, even in the depths of seemingly insurmountable sorrow. The teenager who, instead of picking up a joint, picks up a book to prepare for the life of a doctor. The hospice nurse on midnights, gently washing a dying stranger. The ASPCA volunteer stroking the head of the condemned animal he's forced to put down. The teacher who stays after school to help the student who just can't understand quadratic equations, even though he knows he'll be late for dinner. The pastor who opens his heart and the church doors to "sinners". The neighbor that says, "that's enough" and calls the police to report the child abuse. The stranger that gets out of his warm car to help you push yours out of the intersection (saw this recently!).

Maybe our expectations were too high. Maybe we're looking too much for someone else to save us. Maybe we need to be our own heroes.

And, since Batman was OBVIOUSLY gay, I don't think the ACLU would have bothered him much!

In the words of God (as portrayed by Morgan Freeman), "You want a miracle? Be the miracle!"


Gozreht said...


The quote is fantastic and 100% agreed upon.

I also agree that everyday there is a hero. Those are unique people. I think the point that is needed is there needs to be more heroes, not just those who are unique. People everywhere need to be a hero to those around them. Our culture is filled with too much of the opposite. Those who only live for themselves, those who blame others for all of their problems, those who think the world owes them instead of them owing the world, is what we are more affluent with. This I am tired of seeing. What you mention brings tears to people because they are so used to seeing the way we are instead of the way we should be that it causes emotions. Wouldn't it be great if we were so used to having so many people living for others that it would be in our nature?

Every person you mentioned should be rewarded! But, it should also be everyone doing these things in everyday life. If that would happen, the teenager wouldn't pick up the joint. The alcoholic may have a chance before they pick up their first drink. The church wouldn't even be needed. The child would never be abused.

But, alas, we live here in our culture, wasting human life.

I understand life isn't perfect but the human race (especially some inparticular) thinks they are the center of the universe and it doesn't matter what they do. They forget the consequences and that is the main point I was trying to make.

We have a saying in our school which is very close to what God (I mean Morgan Freeman) said, Be the change you want to see happen!

Nice post!

hawkssong68 said...

That's the hard part about heroes. The word is very subjective. I know the examples I used were what one would hope from the world, given the Divine Spark we all have within us. But instant gratification, pride, selfishness, lack of commitment and irresponsibility do seem to be the norm.

Let's face it. There are groups of people out there who believe Hitler was a hero. As well as Osama Bin Laden and the 9/11 bombers. That's why I think it's so important to do the best we can do to put others first. Even, and especially, when we don't to. I've personally found that the less I want to do something, the probability of it being the right thing to do increases! Trying to get to the point in my life where I can do the things I don't want to do without complaining, though! Ah, genetics! Progress, not perfection.

I find it interesting that you chose a career often associated with heroism, at least on a personal, one to one level. Many teachers have been heroes to struggling students. You have the opportunity to change someone's world. That must feel wonderful on some level.

One more God quote, "It's GOOD!"


hawkssong68 said...


I just googled modern day heroes and found names like Oprah, Al Gore, Michael J Fox and Bill Gates...

I thought for sure Morgan Freeman would be there!!!

b.b. said...

Great article and soooooo true, unfortunately, re. everyone today just doing what is good for them despite how it affects anyone else and no one being accountable for their actions---always blaming others.

The Dish said...

I think teachers are heroes. Not all of them have this quality. Some people should never step foot in a classroom... but those who chose to be in that classroom, and they hopefully know how they are impacting our youth.

Gozreht said...

Yes. I did choose this profession. But not to be a hero. I wanted to change people. If the word hero comes with that then I am humbled but ashamed.

Again the main point is not that there are people who do good things, but there are people who would rather play the villain, or live life for themselves instead of taking time to help people. We live in a world who care more for selfish gain without regard for others.

Some would rather cause pain than joy. We all have enough pain, why spread it to others? That is why I wrote "Misery Loves Company"- thought LVI.

Some would rather play the victim their whole life than to try and take one moment to be a hero.

Anonymous said...

I see what you're saying. The line that hits me the most is "brave deeds are only brought on by the situation". Althoug I don't think you meant it exactly the way you sounded, I think I see the real meaning.

In any given situation, anyone can be a hero. But the real hero is someone who helps those every day, like hawksong said or lives for others or to be good examples for others to see.

Thanks for posting this.

hawkssong68 said...

Ugh. Now they're calling Giffords a hero.

No. The young man who rushed in to save her, putting his own life at risk...THAT'S the hero.

She was just unfortunate.

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