Estrella Reyes

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How do you define a hero? In your opinion, what makes someone great and heroic?

Sometimes we look up to people who have done incredible, noticeable things in life and describe them as heroic, but oversee those who do small Great acts in life. our definition of a hero should change so as to include all those that fit within the description, but to do so, we need to know what defines a hero.

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    Nov 16 2011: To me the greatest heroes are those who try to do what they know is right in very difficult circumstances. The women who struggle to feed their children in famine and drought are heroes. The men who put their own bodies between evil and their children are heroes. Whistleblowers who have the moral integrity to risk their own livelihoods to prevent harm to customers and the public are true heroes even though they are much maligned. The women who stood up to the juntas so that no others would be 'disappeared' are heroes.

    So in sum, it is the average unsung human being who decided that the evil that they encountered would not pass by themself unopposed who are the true heroes of history. They often pay with their own life because they believe life to be so precious for others.
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    Nov 18 2011: A hero is a person who takes their time to implement a constructive solution, from saying the right word at the right time, to the smallest deed of opening a door to ....
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    Nov 16 2011: A hero is someone who is someone who is simply willing to brighten up someones day. Putting away self desires in greater service of the masses.
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    Nov 16 2011: There are a few people who I refer to as heroes - my Father is one.

    I'm thinking about why I see them that way. They did not achieve great things by any worldly standards. [Well, that's not completely true, at least one of them has achieved global influence. But that is not why he is my hero.]

    I think for me a hero is anyone who, through personal effort or example, makes a positive contribution in the lives of others without compromising his or her own personal values. In my view, sacrifice is not a necessary component of heroism.
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      Nov 16 2011: Hi Thomas
      Good thoughts.
      Recently my 7 year old son tried to write a story of his own the caption is "My Father is My Hero". As you rightly said , I didn't do or achieve anything so far even in my community standard which can be termed as heroic.... but to my son, realized (after seeing that his writing effort) I am so.....

      Don't know what his standard for one being HERO. WIll definitely ask him ....why he thinks me to be his HERO :)
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        Nov 16 2011: Salim, that must have been a great feeling!
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    Nov 16 2011: A hero is someone who would rather be killed by an unjust society, than participate in it. There are very few heros left imho.
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      Nov 16 2011: QUOTE: "A hero is someone who would rather be killed by an unjust society, than participate in it. There are very few heros left imho."

      Well, if that is what it takes to be a hero, it makes sense there would not be too many of them around - they would have removed themselves (or society would have removed them) from the gene pool a long time ago.
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        Nov 16 2011: I consider this a pessimistic way of viewing society. I think that historically, especially in America, people like this are rarely removed from the gene pool, when they show their true colors. Being willing to be killed by an unjust society, shouldn't mean that you become a martyr. It should mean that your society is in a process of evolution.

        Many demonstrators in the Arab Spring are heroes, because they want a better life for their children, and they are willing to band together occasionally with risk to their life, to fight for it. Every generation, that does not have a revolution, is dooming its children to a worse quality of life than the one they had.

        We currently have many unjust laws in America, The Patriot Act being the most glaring example. The people who manage to publicly get prosecuted by the patriot act, while actually being of no threat to national security are hero's because they are trying to save your children from a world where a few crazy radical unamerican thoughts in your youth, get you submitted to torture and jail in this country, nonviolently.

        Bradley Manning is a hero. Because he distributed legitimate government information, to the world, for free, with enough of a time delay that no information was actionable for terrorists. He risked his life, was imprisoned, and tortured, for the right of the American people to know how it's government really conducts foreign policy. His story shouldn't end in tragedy, life in prison, or death... but if we let him die, that's our society's fault, and we don't have enough heroes.

        We shouldn't need many, and being a hero, should be rare. Most people however, want to live in a just society, so there shouldn't be many martyr's, simply many active citizens unwilling to submit to tyranny. I think your father is probably old enough to qualify. My generation deals with a lot of injustice however, and we are not creating the heroes necessary, to overcome tyranny... That's on us.
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          Nov 16 2011: QUOTE: " I consider this a pessimistic way of viewing society."

          I'm not sure I am following you. What do you see as pessimistic: That society might be so dysfunctional, that heroes must be willing to die rather than participate; or, that they will be removed from the gene pool if they are successful?

          I would agree with you that if heroics requires a willingness to die, their should be few. My view of heroics is much more humble, a father or mother working hard to provide a stable environment for their children, a business person placing integrity and "the greater good" ahead of excessive profits, and so on.

          Most people I know exhibit heroism at some time in their lives. Some demonstrate it constantly.
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        Nov 16 2011: I said that "A hero is someone who would rather be killed by an unjust society, then participate in it.". You responded that there would be very few heroes because they would remove themselves, or society would remove them.

        That is to suggest that if one was to rebel against a corrupt society, by refusing to participate, or risk their life in a demonstration. He or or she would, typically, be defeated, and have to die or leave. I think that's pessimistic. I think most societies governed by real injustice, don't want to be governed by injustice, and if they see heroes about to die, or leave, they will rally to prevent it. They will change their society.

        I think the definition of heroism changes based on the situation. Your father might have been from the WW 2 generation... If so, in 1940, it was heroic for him to do exactly as you said, provide for his family, and run a business well. In 45 the definition of heroic changed a bit... People needed to die killin Nazi's or we'd all speak German, lol. Desperate times call for greater heroes. By the late fifties, it would be nice if he saw civil rights as a cause worth donating to and supporting, but still it was heroic to go to work and be a good role model.

        During the Iraq war, and The Patriot Act... We needed some old school heroes. We needed groups of white people sitting in muslim temples pretending to be terrorists to show people how bad we were treating sympathizers. We needed investigative, risk taking journalists to be heroes... And we need people like Bradley Manning, who may have commited a crime that was worthy of jail time, but didn't deserve to be tortured, and have his basic human rights taken away.

        If in 10 years the average working person worldwide can support a family and own a home, and we're not still constantly at war, and the patriot act has been erased... it will once again be heroic, to just go to work, and do what you need to be a good person. Right now we need a great generation
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    Nov 16 2011: Genuine confidence in what is right and wrong.
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      Nov 16 2011: coupled with objective accuracy : p. Hitler had genuine confidence... not a hero.
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        Nov 16 2011: why wasn't Hitler a hero? Can't one be a dumb evil hero?

        And what is objective accuracy?
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          Nov 16 2011: In the words of Socrates, or possibly Plato if Socrates was a fictional character... "There is only one good, knowledge. And, one evil, ignorance". You can't be a stupid hero.
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        Nov 16 2011: I wasn't acquainted with such a definition of a hero.
        I thought war heroes were praised on both sides, for instance. I thought heroism was absolutely subjective to a culture and its values.
        Surely a jewish bomber is a hero to jewish fanatics. What other name do you think they have for it? A brave ignorant?
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          Nov 16 2011: I consider German soldiers in World War 2 cowards. They were willing to die for Hitler's right to take over the world and kill everyone different... They knew better. They didn't really believe it was a final solution. They didn't think they were the good guys... They knew they were the villains and instead of killing Hitler they followed him to their countries destruction.

          I actually have issues with calling Iraq war veterans heroes... I wouldn't call them villains, but I think it would have been more heroic for our army of volunteers to refuse to go into Iraq. In some ways our society seems to becoming one of "everybody is a hero", "everyone deserves a trophy".

          It's difficult to call people who follow orders heroes. I don't think it's difficult to call American soldiers heroes in World War 2, because they literally left a perfectly safe homeland, to fight an enemy for the good of others. We should have done things much differently leading up to the war, but the degree of sacrifice required to go save French people is pretty impressive... We don't even like the French, or the British for that matter. Heroism involves taking enormous risk for the greater good... If your philosophy is proven wrong, ie everyone should die except blonde haired blue eyed white people... You shouldn't be considered a hero for dying for it.
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    Nov 17 2011: Heroes are made in Hollywood.
    Real great people you seldom see and if they are exposed they don't like it because they just did what felt right.
    So heroes are people that are doing the right thing without questioning and think this is normal.
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    Nov 17 2011: It must be very contributions,greatness...
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    Nov 17 2011: Courage.
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      Nov 17 2011: yeah,it very important . but could you guesse what the scene of it really happen?
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    Nov 16 2011: A hero is willing to transgress anything standing between his ideals and himself.
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      Nov 16 2011: QUOTE: "A hero is willing to transgress anything standing between his ideals and himself."

      This sounds suspiciously like a fanatic to me.