Perception V. Reality

by Katie from New London

Questioning the Rise and Inevitable Fall of Heroes

Heroes exhibit characteristics of greatness, selfless sacrifice, and courage superior to that of any individual. We know and comprehend these assertions to be true, reinforced by centuries of novels and fairy tales depicting heroes in all their prominence, but does this broad and generic definition find itself actually applicable in today’s society? Children need heroes to promote high moral and ethical values, but adults, especially in the current era, are corrupt and selfish and find themselves superior to the dictations and lessons of storybooks. The world today feels itself above the codes of justice and morality, consequently depriving it of the need, want, or privilege of heroes.

It is an undeniable fact that the business leaders of the world’s most prominent countries who attain colossal success exhibit poor examples of civility and respect, leading others to believe it is an acceptable way of conducting affairs in one’s personal life. There is no honor or heart left in big business today, just the echoing sounds of every last penny jingling together in the pockets of corporate business tycoons. When times are good and profits high, industrialists find themselves in need of no one but their lawyers and accountants, but when times are rough, they look for idealistic heroes to rescue them from isolation and poverty. Our selfish society is undeserving of heroes, and those who believe we are still worthy of them today will find themselves surrounded by bitter disappointment and or ruthless dictatorial powers as their reward.

It is a childhood tendency to idolize those of heroic stature. As advertisers have taught us for decades, we cannot fully appreciate or revere heroes unless we buy merchandise depicting or condoning their valiant efforts. Therefore, as the good law-abiding citizens that we are, we purchase the products that make us feel subservient to the cause, further enrapturing our minds and beliefs that all hope lies with our one true champion. Nevertheless, our noble conqueror will ultimately fail at one time or another, giving in to human nature and the needs and wants of the mortal man. And what will society do as a favor to our tragic champion? The public will shun the man who has descended from their grace and favor, exiling him to the collection of other fallen stars who “failed” to lead society to distinction. Culture will blame him for the mistakes and hardships they have endured, once again justifying their vanity that their way of life is still proper and true, and was only mislead by this brutal heretic. The hero loses, and society walks away clean, even after murdering all that was true and fine in the life of a man. Idolizing leads to hero worship, and hero worship always results in the biased bitter disappointment of the masses at the expense of a human being.

Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Fidel Castro. These names bring negative connotations of leaders to mind. They are and were evil men who tormented their people for the sake of power and glory. They were dictators, rulers of men, although born of men. These cruel brutes would have never risen to power if it were not the idolization of their radical ideals and distorted values. Every so often, the people of the world require change and whoever is the bringer of change is worshiped and revered as the savior of the human race. Give the world a scapegoat, you will find yourself commanding a mob obedient to your every wish and desire, despite its prejudice or sinister origins. That is just what those men accomplished; they provided their people with an out, an escape, and explanation to all their trials and tribulations. We know the conclusion of the stories of these men, their exponential rise to power and their faster demise. The overwhelming conformity they achieved from the masses aided their barbaric paths and fostered the creation of equally unjust viewpoints.

Whether it is the destroying powers of the people who feel failed by their hero, or the dictatorial powers it can create, idolization promotes the worst characteristics within men. Our world, despite what we believe, is undeserving of heroes. We always look out for our own personal welfare, beyond that of normal limits. We idolize those for improper and radical reasons. We tear down those who fail to perform to ever-increasing standards. With such a ruthless need to fill, and the great unlikelihood that someone actually will, are we waiting for a hero that will never come?

Page created on 11/28/2007 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 1/20/2019 5:47:38 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

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How Do We Choose Our Heroes? - MY HERO essay by Charles F. Harper
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