Saturday, July 09, 2005

For who exactly is a hero?

I am very tired of hearing this word bandied about these days: Such-an-such is a hero! The person is usually a fireman, policeman or a paramedic. The showering of praise upon the individual or group(s) is almost always in response to something these people have done BUT their actions are ALWAYS in reaction to tragic events. Hence, the incident in London and NYC have redefined the word hero. These state employees are no more heroes than the man next door: they ARE NOT, and to ascribe the term hero to someone just because he did his job, albeit, very well is, well..., very egotistical in the very least.

Man cannot be a hero. If he could have, then I would easily say that my father and mother would be mine BUT they are humans: as such they have flaws that became magnified as I got older and I too took on part of their characteristics. These two people might have fed, clothed and sheltered me during my childhood (as they should have) BUT they are NOT heroes.

Why should someone be called a hero for doing their job?

The ancient Greeks had a much better definition of who deserved the title of hero. According to them: A HERO was a half-man, half-god who argued with the gods on behalf of humanity and ultimately gave up his god-hood to save humanity.

That nice neat definition eliminates all except two: Hercules, who having his god status restored after foiling Hades attempt to usurp his father's throne, declined so that he could live on earth with the woman he loved; and Jesus Christ who asked his father, why did he forsake him.

Of the two, the first is a myth: a legend if I may say while the other is opened to debate but for me, it is done deal. Jesus Christ IS the son of God but in any case, NOTE that the making of a hero did not proceed any catastrophic disaster, whether man made or not BUT they actions simply grow out of one taking a STAND on a life and death issue. That is, their actions involved their TOTAL life and not an aspect it.

These people that we so routinely and commonly call heroes MIGHT very well do heroic deeds BUT they are not heores. To qualify for that title, they would have to put their future on the line, not JUST their lives...

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