(Originally published 23rd May, 2007)
Is the world now bereft of heroes or do they still exist to show us the way? Are there people still out there who epitomise the essence of the hero archetype?
It seems that every time we turn on the news, we’re inundated with just how bad the world is at the moment. We’re constantly being bombarded with stories about death, war, famine, global warming and all sorts of other catastrophes that make life on Earth somewhat of a living hell.
Sometimes I wonder if all the doom and gloom is only causing us to nose dive into an endlessly self-fulfilling prophecy. The more we concentrate on the negative things in the world, the more likely we are to encounter them.
It seems to me that the world now is in need of some old-school heroes, people who can inspire the general populace and turn the world around again.
In the strictest sense, a hero is someone who goes on some sort of journey and learns some new ways of dealing with the world. The journey need not be a physical one, but can instead be an intellectual or spiritual one. The main criteria is that they learn to look at the world differently and in the end, they use their new knowledge to help their communities improve.
It seems to me that we’ve lost a lot of the community spirit that used to exist – or perhaps it’s just changed shape. Whereas before we used to have a lot of local community groups and neighbours used to spend a lot more time together, these days people spend to find like minded groups of people to spend their time with. It might be things like church or sporting groups, or increasingly, you’re seeing online communities form with people with similar interests all around the world joining together.
But the other thing you’re seeing a lot of these days is endless squabbling and flamewars. People argue and fight over the most ridiculous things. They often don’t even stop to think before they start typing and don’t bother to even consider what the other person is saying.
It seems to me that we need now, more than ever, a new breed of heroes to come and inspire people to make their lives better. I’m not talking necessarily about superheroes or pulp heroes – although perhaps they might work to some extent – but simply people who can find a way to start changing the mindset of the general populace.
Changing the way you look at the world is hard enough. Changing the way that other people look at it is even harder, particularly when people have trouble realising that their own thinking needs to change. I think most of us would normally believe that there’s nothing wrong with our current way of thinking and would react harshly to anyone who would suggest otherwise. I think that’s why we need some new heroes who lead by example, and just believe in what they are doing so much that people automatically want to emulate them and their way of thinking.
Now, it doesn’t matter if those heroes are real people or not. People can learn just as much from fictional examples as they do from real life ones. After all, the subconscious mind really can’t tell fantasy from reality anyway. But what we need are characters that people will want to emulate in their own lives, and in doing so, will make their own lives better.
Heroes don’t do what they do to change the world. They often just do it to make their own lives better and in the process, inspire other people to do the same. That just makes things better for everyone in the long term.
Maybe all the world needs right now is a big, healthy dose of positive inspiration. Something to think about anyway…