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Real Heroes



Superheroes are not real. They possess special powers, or special circumstances. They exist in an episodic world of magic, melodrama, and precarious masquerade.

The Hero's Journey dictates that a young, common-enough-yet-spirited protagonist, will be illuminated by an older man, uncovering a hidden talent or newfound path.

The monomyth has been around for millennia, and like all such long-lasting traditions, clearly has a purpose.

Purpose #1 is to seed the fertile minds of youth to be prepared when an older man calls them to adventure, i.e. War.

Purpose #2 is to fool people into believing that regular, real people cannot be heroes. That the only way to be a hero is to be born into special circumstances, or called to war.

Think of the typical comic book nerd. Hero material? Hardly. Why is it that those who celebrate heroes so much are so un-heroic in their personal lives?

True heroes create their own sense of ethics that is separate from the milieu in which they find themselves. They find true virtue not in some absolutist morality, but rather in nuanced balances of values, protected by immovable principles. They find heroism not in a single action, but build it patiently over a life well-lived.

My heroes are everyday people who stood up for something.

Sophie Scholl, Norman Borlaug, Gertrude B. Elion, Witold Pilecki, William Wilberforce, Ernst Leitz, Erin Pizzey, Robert Smalls, Jennifer Graham.  Most of these people you probably haven't heard of. That doesn't change their true heroism in the slightest.

They resisted the suffering of others. And they did it quietly, deliberately and unerringly.

Their superpowers were the most powerful forces in the entire universe: reason, and evidence, and truth, championed by bravely persistent action.

That's what the comic books and blockbuster movies obscure. 

True heroes live their values. True Heroism is within the reach of every one of us.