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James Sawers
05-26-2013, 05:04 PM
I've noticed the past few years that the word "hero" is thrown about rather cavalierly (to me, anyway), so I was wondering, especially this Memorial Day, what other people out there think the definition of "heroism" or "hero" is? To start us off, I've come across a couple that caught my attention:

Heroism is the brilliant triumph of the soul over the flesh. - Henri Frederic Amiel

Heroism: To put yourself in harm's way for someone else, while, at the same time attempting to accomplish some worthy goal or objective, which is not personally self-serving. James Darwin

Thoughts?

Thanks, Jim....

graham christian
05-26-2013, 05:16 PM
Mmmm, lately or modern day......"the glorifying of a persons acts or deeds". About sums it up for me.

Peace.G.

James Sawers
05-26-2013, 05:42 PM
Is this "glorifying" good or bad, or...??

graham christian
05-26-2013, 07:33 PM
Is this "glorifying" good or bad, or...??

Mmmm, depends where it's used and thus for what purpose. Can be very manipulative.

Some brave acts are very stupid. So stupidity can be glorified to suit some agenda in essence.

Good philosophical question though.;)

Peace.G.

Aikibu
05-27-2013, 01:48 AM
A Hero is born in the eyes of those they serve.

William Hazen

James Sawers
05-27-2013, 02:02 AM
So, "hero" is just a subjective opinion, then, with no objective reality??

bkedelen
05-27-2013, 03:01 AM
A hero is anyone who heeds the call to adventure and follows the thread of the hero path.

bkedelen
05-27-2013, 03:11 AM
So, "hero" is just a subjective opinion, then, with no objective reality??

Things which are objectively real can be measured, and almost always by a device available at your local hardware store. Asking for the herometer aisle at your local Home Depot will yield unsatisfying results. That is because being a hero lives in language, is part of the human experience, and is fundamentally subjective.

PeterR
05-27-2013, 04:47 AM
The lady that stood up to the madman in London. I mean like Wow.

But I agree the term is really useless in its current application. It should be applied to individual action (could be part of a group) rather than a membership of that group.

phitruong
05-27-2013, 10:48 AM
Things which are objectively real can be measured, and almost always by a device available at your local hardware store. Asking for the herometer aisle at your local Home Depot will yield unsatisfying results.

it called the Stud Finder, for less than $70. got two. damn things keep beeping when it near me. :D

Aikibu
05-27-2013, 12:16 PM
So, "hero" is just a subjective opinion, then, with no objective reality??

Yes. :)

William Hazen

James Sawers
05-27-2013, 01:16 PM
it called the Stud Finder, for less than $70. got two. damn things keep beeping when it near me. :D

Yes, I can hear it from here......

Sometimes when someone gets a medal, "above and beyond the call of duty" is a phrase that is mentioned; but, I agree that that lady that stood up to that hacker in London is someone special.

lbb
05-28-2013, 08:06 AM
You say that the term "hero" is currently overused, but what's new? The word "hero" has connotations not of intrinsic character, but of the opinion and esteem of others. A "hero" is always in other people's opinion, and being a "hero" has always owed more to one's public profile than to one's character and deeds. You do a worthy deed that no one hears about? Then you're not a hero. Simple as that.

James Sawers
05-28-2013, 11:50 AM
You say that the term "hero" is currently overused, but what's new? The word "hero" has connotations not of intrinsic character, but of the opinion and esteem of others. A "hero" is always in other people's opinion, and being a "hero" has always owed more to one's public profile than to one's character and deeds. You do a worthy deed that no one hears about? Then you're not a hero. Simple as that.

So, if a hero farts in the woods and there is no one there to hear it, then there is no fart - or, hero?

jonreading
05-28-2013, 12:20 PM
Bravery is possessing knowledge and skills to accomplish a task and the willingness to do so.
Courage is undertaking a task with knowledge of the consequences.
A hero is an individual who demonstrates bravery and courage in accomplishing a task of altruistism.

The task of altruism is, of course, not self-defined and subject to the opinion of others. As Mary points out, I think the term is used more as a compliment of opinion, rather than a qualification based upon criteria. This gives the term more flexibility.

James Sawers
05-28-2013, 12:40 PM
So, is heroism the act or the perception of the act??

I also think that the "hero" does have connotations of intrinsic character. The hero is supposed to be someone to model behavior after - not just because of what the hero did, but because of who the hero is (implied by the "heroic" behavior, granted).

Take Benjamin's "heroic quest", for instance. The hero undertakes this because of who (s)he is.......no?

graham christian
05-28-2013, 02:18 PM
So, is heroism the act or the perception of the act??

I also think that the "hero" does have connotations of intrinsic character. The hero is supposed to be someone to model behavior after - not just because of what the hero did, but because of who the hero is (implied by the "heroic" behavior, granted).

Take Benjamin's "heroic quest", for instance. The hero undertakes this because of who (s)he is.......no?

Basically I would say to look at it as a word used like a superlative ie: 'an heroic act or deed' etc.

So the implication in all definitions is one of beyond the norm. In a military sense then that would be colloquially above and beyond the call of duty type action.

When it comes to subjective then if for you someone did something beyond the norm you could consider it heroic from your viewpoint. So we have the real and the perceived both.

That's my two pence again;)

Peace.G.

Carsten Möllering
05-29-2013, 05:24 AM
So, "hero" is just a subjective opinion, then, with no objective reality??
I would go even one step further:

"Hero" is not only an individual opinion but a deliberate interpretation used by opinion leaders.

Here in Germany the word "hero" is rarely used and has a flavour, because of it's utilisation during the two dictatorships in the last century.

There has been a parallel to the US Memorial Day here in Germany during the Third Reich. It was invented by the Nazis and was called "Day of Commemoration of our Heroes". After WWII was over this practice endet. Until now the usage of the word "hero" refering to soldieriship is only found in extrem right-winged circles called "Neo-Nazis".

In the communist part of Germany, the GDR the word "hero" was used for workers who overfullfilled their given target of work or who displayed a deep enthusiasm for the political system in their sayings or writings. Both for to show that the systems works and that the time when capitalism will have to surrender is near.

So in my ears - and not only mine - a "hero" is someone who is (mis)used by a certain regime, political system or group. And the hero of one group may be a criminal in the eyes of another.

lbb
05-29-2013, 09:25 AM
So, if a hero farts in the woods and there is no one there to hear it, then there is no fart - or, hero?

Pretty much, yeah. It's a necessary but not (always) sufficient condition that a hero be celebrated as such. It's sort of like a prodigy. Know what a prodigy is? That's a bright kid with plenty of opportunity and a big cheering section. Take those two things away, and all you've got is another kid that nobody cares about.

James Sawers
05-29-2013, 10:53 AM
I would go even one step further:

"Hero" is not only an individual opinion but a deliberate interpretation used by opinion leaders.

Here in Germany the word "hero" is rarely used and has a flavour, because of it's utilisation during the two dictatorships in the last century.

There has been a parallel to the US Memorial Day here in Germany during the Third Reich. It was invented by the Nazis and was called "Day of Commemoration of our Heroes". After WWII was over this practice endet. Until now the usage of the word "hero" refering to soldieriship is only found in extrem right-winged circles called "Neo-Nazis".

In the communist part of Germany, the GDR the word "hero" was used for workers who overfullfilled their given target of work or who displayed a deep enthusiasm for the political system in their sayings or writings. Both for to show that the systems works and that the time when capitalism will have to surrender is near.

So in my ears - and not only mine - a "hero" is someone who is (mis)used by a certain regime, political system or group. And the hero of one group may be a criminal in the eyes of another.

Thanks for this posting, Carsten.......So, it seems that "hero" can have different connotations/interpretations in different countries/cultures, not all of them positive.

dps
05-31-2013, 02:26 AM
I've noticed the past few years that the word "hero" is thrown about rather cavalierly (to me, anyway), so I was wondering, especially this Memorial Day, what other people out there think the definition of "heroism" or "hero" is?

Chuck Norris

dps

SeiserL
05-31-2013, 06:46 AM
IMHO, it doesn't matter what its called, hero or warrior, just show up and do the right thing.

Joe Bowen
05-31-2013, 07:25 AM
Read Joseph Cambell. He has written extensively on comparative mythology and talks quite a bit about the mythological "heroes" and the cultural significance of the "Hero's Journey". Two books to recommend, The Power of Myth and A Hero with a Thousand Faces. May not be quite the story of the hero you are looking for but will give you another perspective.

lbb
05-31-2013, 09:33 AM
Or get a copy of "The Heroic Age" by Stratis Haviaras. It's a brilliant book about a boy surviving "the heroic age" during the Greek civil war.

sakumeikan
06-01-2013, 05:28 PM
Or get a copy of "The Heroic Age" by Stratis Haviaras. It's a brilliant book about a boy surviving "the heroic age" during the Greek civil war.

Dear Mary,
Read 'No name on the Bullet' the biography of Audie Murphy.Audie made Rambo, Chuck Norris, Arnie look like big girls blouses.He is buried in Arlington Cemetery.A true hero, not the crap you get nowadays [like overpaid footballers etc ], Cheers, Joe.

hughrbeyer
06-02-2013, 10:40 AM
I appreciate Carsten's contribution very much. I have worked closely enough with Germans of my generation to have a great deal of respect for the way Germany has managed the post-war reconstruction of their culture, and in that context this suspicion of the hero label is, I think, very healthy.

But I'm unwilling to lose the concept. There's too much cynicism in the world as it is... I think we do well to remember the best examples of humanity we have. No, you can't measure heroism with a tape measure. But not one of the most important aspects of life can be measured that way.

As for definitions, I think James Darwin's at the top is as good as any and better than most. Doesn't require recognition. Just requires the willingness to do the right thing at a difficult moment.

lbb
06-03-2013, 09:13 AM
Dear Mary,
Read 'No name on the Bullet' the biography of Audie Murphy.Audie made Rambo, Chuck Norris, Arnie look like big girls blouses.He is buried in Arlington Cemetery.A true hero, not the crap you get nowadays [like overpaid footballers etc ], Cheers, Joe.

Everyone's heard of Audie Murphy. Haviaras' character is very different.

James Sawers
06-03-2013, 03:29 PM
Let me add one thing to James Darwin's definition of "heroism", and that is the feeling of fear, so:

Heroism: To put yourself in harm's way for someone else, while, at the same time attempting to accomplish some worthy goal or objective, which is not personally self-serving, all while overcoming fear for one's own safety and life. James Darwin

This addition seems to bring in Amiel's mention of the soul overcoming the flesh to perform a "heroic" act.