Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I have heroes on the brain these days. This is due entirely to Manifesting Jack's own soul searching with regard to heroes, in his quest to publish his book and emerge as a great alternative to our traditional concept of a self-help guru.

In reading Jack's consideration of heroes, I realized that I do not consciously rely on heroes...nor have I really given much thought to who my heroes might be. Immediately, Joseph Campbell and the Dalai Lama come to mind. They both inspire me and transcend the limitations of attaching themselves to a narrow perspective (i.e. one supreme religion). But before I get ahead of myself, I have to really look at what "hero" means to me. What traits would lend to my conception of a hero? Defintely the following:

-compassion for humanity (truly regardless of race, gender, religion, etc. and all differences)
-wisdom (steeped in various experience, knowledge, and good judgment as a result)
-bliss (true happiness with themselves and life)
-capacity for selflessness (cultivates themself but is highly considerate and altruistic)
-humble beginnings (as Jack pointed out in his consideration, it is difficult to esteem someone to the level of hero when they inherited much of their opportunities, rather than earning them by merit)
-positive influence (must be leaving/have left a positive influence)
-inspiring (inspire others to be the happiest and best individuals they can possibly be)

I think that is a good start. And re-reading the list makes me wonder why heroes get so romanticized as these larger-than-life beings, when really, a hero embodies simple and realistically achievable traits. And I definitely romanticize things in general as a dreamer. But really, a hero for me does not possess superhuman traits.

What traits do you think a hero embodies and who would you name as your heroes?


Cavalock said...

i stopped looking for heroes a long time ago.

lapage said...

I think this is a good list, especially a compassion for humanity and humble beginnings. I agree with you that I don't think of heroes as being superhumans. My heroes are mostly all average folks, many of whom I"m lucky enough to be friends with. They are people who are positive, who are selfless and compassionate towards others, open to the world, and who inspire me to be a better person myself. People who have found and accepted their path in life and who really follow it, without trying to be somebody else. I really admire teachers. I think they are doing the most important job in our society for miserable pay and often really difficult conditions. But they do it. Artists who have something to show the world and who practice their art, even if that means following a road less traveled by. Scientists who do research for the good of humanity. I think that very often you find heroes in unexpected places.

b said...

cavalock...i think that heroes are often misconstrued to be these mythological creatures that don't exist and are simply a childhood fantasy. i think that is where we fail as a society. of course, it all starts with our conception of "hero" in the first place. but really, a hero could be a charismatic leader, a family member, a teacher, etc.

lapage...yes, i agree completely. it seems that we look at heroes in the same light. and doesn't it fill you with hope to know that heroes are out there and they are improving people's lives, even if in quiet and barely recognized ways? there is a beautiful humbleness about that.

Ancilla said...

hmph.. sometimes, i asked myself... how come it always be a difficult thing for me to describe who is my idol.

a lot of people inspire me. each of them inspires me for certain things which be completed by others.

but, if i have to mention the name... i guess, one of my "heroes" is Oprah. i bet, you know the reasons behind. :)

b said... make a great point. it is true that we each embody different characteristics and often, we admire specific qualities of a person and admire different qualites of another. oprah has definitely overcome serious obstacles to achieve her current success. that is very inspiring!

Richard said...

Hmmm ... for some reason you are banned at work again.

As a child I loved Spiderman (the 60s cartoon version) as well as Rocket Robin Hood.

For me, a hero would be someone who embodies the archetype of a just man (pretty much the conclusion reached just before Plato launches in The Republic - where justice is defined as human excellence and a just person would be one who promotes, sustains and embodies human excellence). Actually, I thought most adults embodied this ideal (and deep in my psyche, it is what I still believe).

carra said...

A hero, in my eyes would be anyone who have done anything selfless because in modern world it seems to be so extremely rare. I suppose I agree with you in a way. For a long time Ihave admired Madonna but not for her music or personal life, but because she worked so hard to get what she has, but she is not my hero.

carra said...

God I am so hot I can't write properly oreven articulate my mind. Correction anyone who has and there should be a space between I and HAVE :)

Manifesting Jack said...

cavalock are you british by any chance? your cycnicism would fit in well over here.

B - I would add authenticity and strength to your list.

but i think the key is insipiration... ehich you already got.



b said...

richard...hmph. i have refrained from mentioning anything scandalous. are the naked caddies haunting us again?! :)

i believe that all people are capable of being just, as you suggest. thus, we all have the potential to be a hero then, don't we?

carra...selflessness is key for my consideration of a hero as well. there is nothing selfish about a hero in my mind. are such a perfectionist (in reference to your second comment here) and oh, how i can relate!

mj...yes, authenticity and strength are also definite attributes. authenticity is something i assumed in many of the traits i listed but it is true, many people appear to be selfless, etc. but have very selfish reasons for appearing so. and strength of character is also necessary. heroism isn't fleeting.