The right stuff: What makes a hero?

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    In more modern times, the term came to describe mere mortals credited with exceptional qualities

    Umm... the author seems to believe that the Greek demi-gods and Gods were real, and so the modern definition has shifted. I'm sorry to inform them that the Greek demi-gods were most likely just exceptional people, "mere mortals", who's deeds and qualities were exaggerated over the millenia. Also, sorry author, but Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and Free Lunches don't exist either.

    Mandela, for his part, had emphasised willpower.

    I disagree. Like Christ, Mandela's most important quality was forgiveness and fairness. He not only forgave those who imprisoned, mistreated and persecuted him, but he also forgave himself for his own violent past. This forgiveness allowed him to treat everyone fairly, without any prejudices. He wasn't a sucker, and he didn't turn a blind eye to people who continued to misbehave or who tried to continue their old abusive practices, but he gave everyone a fresh slate, and treated everyone like an individual. In a lot of ways Mandela was the embodiment of what it means to live a Christian life. Mandela didn't shout about his good deeds, he was humble. He didn't abuse his position in society to preach about Christianity. He was a true Christian, keeping his charitable deeds as private as possible. A truly humble, reverent man.

    And the best thing? He rarely mentioned his religion, but one look at the way he lived his life told you all that you needed to know about it. "By your good deeds shall ye be known.".

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    The list includes courage, compassion, ambition, intelligence, humor, optimism and, perhaps surprisingly, being tall.

    Most of these can be crossed right off the list. Ambition? Sounds more like a selfish trait to me. Intelligence? Obviously helpful, but by no means central to being a hero. Humor? Height?

    The bottom line is a hero has a positive purpose and makes a real sacrifice because she (could also be a he) has put others before herself. Hence the reason why so many people say, "My mom is my hero" or "My dad is my hero." Normally, there should be an element of the dramatic as well.

    Mother Teresa was my hero. She did the hard things we would rather avoid. She didn't keep walking when she saw the destitute person. She didn't avoid the ugly and the dirty among us. She forcefully made people realize she wasn't going to budge until something was done. Who's your hero?

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    “Hero” is charged with mythology: it is rooted in the ancient Greek term for demi-gods like Achilles.

    The original heros had nothing to do with altruism, they would have laughed their socks off at the very idea. Achilles and his mates were all about self - pride, glory, honour.

    The modern-day hero (what we like to think of as) and the old-style hero are worlds apart. Neither would recognise the other.

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    For U.S. President Barack Obama and millions of people around the world, Nelson Mandela was a hero.

    I suppose the people that were killed on his orders, they might disagree.

    The whole, "terrorist" vs. "freedom fighter" argument...

  • 0


    A hero is a person who has the vision to see beyond himself and the courage to take on tasks that look too big to do.

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