No Heroes



We yearn for heroes, for larger-than-life, superhuman beings who are always good, almighty, victorious. Heroes are reliable; we can count on them, trust them to save the maiden and the victim of misfortune, to slay whatever dragons threaten. The old sagas of gods and titans titillate our expectations, which are further fed by comic book narratives and blockbuster movies. Our modern media toss the word “hero” around like confetti, celebrating all kinds of activities, christening the most unlikely of characters.

There are no heroes. Human beings are capable of heroic acts, but they cannot help but remain human beings. Our favorite comic book characters – Superman, Batman – have their human alter-egos who remain vulnerable to the emotional upheavals of love, sorrow, anger. Yet it is only when they don their hero’s garb that we recognize them as heroic.

I long for the day when we can celebrate humanity rather than heroism, when we can honor the deeds of simple kindness and reason, when altruism doesn’t have to be spectacular to merit our admiration. Human beings are remarkable creatures. For me, they are enough.


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