We Need a Hero

We Need a Hero

What is a hero? I argue that a hero is someone who possesses and displays certain heroic attributes such as integrity, compassion, and moral courage, heightened by an understanding of the power of situational forces, an enhanced social awareness, and an abiding commitment to social action.

Heroism is a social concept, and—like any social concept—it can be explained, taught, and modeled through education and practice. I believe that heroism is common, a universal attribute of human nature and not exclusive to a few special individuals. The heroic act is extraordinary, the heroic actor is an ordinary person—until he or she becomes a heroic special individual. We may all be called upon to act heroically at some time, when opportunity arises. We would do well, as a society and as a civilization, to conceive of heroism as something within the range of possibilities for every person.

But these days rarely do we hear about ordinary men and women who have, by circumstance or fate, done something extraordinary for a greater cause or sacrificed on behalf of fellow human beings. Today’s generation, perhaps more than any preceding one, has grown up without a distinct vision of what constitutes heroism, or, worse, has grown up with a flawed vision of the hero as sports figure, rock star, gang leader, or fantastic super hero.

About anasebrahem

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