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The Modern Hero

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posted on May, 26 2018 @ 10:28 AM
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While the demise of chivalry is casually bemoaned from time to time, few bother to mention that, along with knighly actions, the knights themselves have all but disappeared. Does The Hero even exist anymore? In the wake of the cynicism and horror of the 20th century, the apathy and self interest of the 21st, the notion and the appeal of the ideal man has all but been washed from our collective psyche. Our art, music, and literature reflects the abandonment of the ideal in favor of a blemished and faulty figure. And, after all, is this not the more realistic version of man: the mostly flawed hero who, despite and maybe because of his flaws, displays tremendous strength and beauty?

On the other hand, I would also posit that we have so degraded humanity in our psyche that we no longer strive to build cathedrals, compose symphonies, pen masterpieces; rather contenting ourselves with posting pictures on Snapchat, keeping abreast of and debating politics, measuring our success according to commodities accrued or debts paid. We have our modern day equivalent of the Greek Tragedy play itself out on our nightly news, but lacking in depth and catharsis. Greek tragedy imitated life, made it bigger and more beautiful in some ways, but also captured something of the awful beauty of life; our nightly programming is so horrific in that it trivializes real life tragedy through the screen, degrading it and emptying it of meaning. Then we further degrade the tragedy through thoughtless and casual discussion-- using other people’s deaths as fodder for our political stance.

Although our modern vision of man is, in a sense, absolutely a realistic vision of mankind, and although human frailty, error, and even the brutish nature of man is an indisputable aspect of our nature, without the Renaissance first, art like Francis Bacon’s, which depicts the everyday horror of the human condition,


Left: Study for a portrait, 1952
Tate, London
Center: Study after Veláquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1953)
Right: Three Studies of George Dyer'(detail)| Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark

would be impossible-to-stomach. We need this

to fall back on.

I think it’s time to bring back the hero, to remind each of us that humanity has and continues to achieve excellence and beauty through actions, words, and deeds. What are your thoughts on the subject of the modern hero?


edit on 26-5-2018 by zosimov because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 26 2018 @ 10:35 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

This is an extremely well written post. It's these collections of insight, historical knowledge, intellectual coherence and societal understanding like this that make me wish I could flag and star more than once.
edit on 26-5-2018 by pfishy because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 26 2018 @ 10:36 AM
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edit on 26-5-2018 by pfishy because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 26 2018 @ 10:41 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

One name comes to mind when anyone mentions the word, "Hero".


Don Quixote.



Tilting at windmills is always a heroic endeavor.



posted on May, 26 2018 @ 10:42 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

This sounds like fiction but during the Philippine American War (a horrific war where Americans murdered Filipinos while conquering the Philippines), there was a man who defected from the US forces to be with his beloved and fought alongside the Filipinos.




“We will call him Jackson. Jackson was silent, morose man, who had few friends in the battery. He was evidently of good education, and he spoke Spanish fluently. Ordinarily, he was a first class soldier, doing his duties efficiently. He had one failing, however, that made him unpopular. Occasionally he would break out in a wild spree, always ending in the guard-house. When drunk, he was a fighting lunatic, quarreling with everyone.

“Jackson fell in love with a pretty mestiza girl who, with her mother, conducted a cantina in the plaza. In time they were married in church by the native padre. After that wedding, Jackson was shunned by his comrades. There is an unwritten law among soldiers that a white man must not wed a native.

“The artilleryman resented the scorn of his fellow-soldiers, become more sullen, and spent more time than was good for him in the company of the Filipinos. One pay-day he went on one of his mad sprees. While fighting madness was on him he attacked a young lieutenant, striking him in the face.

“To attack an officer is a grave crime in the army. Jackson was court-martialed and sentenced to six years in military prison. While he was confined in the guard-house awaiting transportation to the United States to serve his sentence, a member of the guard permitted him to escape. It is a hard duty to mount guard over a friend and treat him like a caged animal.


While he was supposed to flee into hiding, he instead went back to his wife and his mother in law and defected to the Filipinos.




“A few weeks later we began to hear stories of the white renegade. He was in command of a company of insurrectos. He moved like a ghost about the country, appearing in the most unexpected places. Again and again his command attacked American outposts. On one occasion he captured two army wagons loaded with supplies, killing several members of the guard. “For months we were kept busy chasing Jackson. The natives protected him, and he was always warned of our approach. One night the main army of insurgents surrounded the town of Imus and made a general attack. The fight continued for several hours in the darkness. “As I lay in the trenches, I could distinctly hear the voice of Jackson swearing and calling to his troops to advance. The insurrectos were driven off, and by daylight they had disappeared.

“Months later, when I was with the native scouts, I witnessed the tragic end of Jackson's career. A column under General Swan attacked the Filipino trenches near Noveleta, west of Imus. The scouts were in the advance guard. “When we went over the trenches, we found Jackson lying by the roadside. He was twice wounded, - through the lungs and abdomen. Although it may read like a fiction, it is a fact that his native wife was crouched in the mud of the road, holding his head in her lap. He refused to speak to us and died defiant, fighting against the flag he had sworn to uphold.

“A few months later his wife became the mother of a blue-eyed boy. She always seemed to hate the Americans, and would never afterward speak to an American soldier.


Source:

quod.lib.umich.edu...

While yes he committed treason, when the US invaded the Philippines, they committed war crimes against the people which caused a few Americans to defect out of disgust.

In my personal opinion, he's one of the closest thing to a real hero because very few will do stand what for what's right.

If I were the President, I would have pardoned him.
edit on 5/26/2018 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 26 2018 @ 10:43 AM
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a reply to: zosimov




I think it’s time to bring back the hero, to remind each of us that humanity has and continues to achieve excellence and beauty through actions, words, and deeds. What are your thoughts on the subject of the modern hero?


I agree and it would be wonderful to have a new American Cultural Renaissance but....

Is is possible in an atmosphere where the profit motive is paramount and everything's "FOR SALE" ala capitalism and the hero's are violent media personalities. It would be a Herculean task to reverse that, to where true intellectuals and poets could be Heros, instead of wimps.

I'm guilty, as someone in the media biz, lowering the bar and not raising it.


edit on 26-5-2018 by olaru12 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 26 2018 @ 10:44 AM
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a reply to: pfishy

Thank you for the kind response
A few days ago I read this question:

Discuss the belief that great literature of the twentieth century lacks protagonists who qualify as heroes. (Among the works you discuss, include at least two by the following authors: Anton Chekhov, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Amy Tan, Chinua Achebe.)

atc4.bentley.edu...
which set me thinking about the subject, but also happened to watch this documentary about Francis Bacon last night and got the idea that the beauty in Bacon's work is too horrible without the just as realistic representations of the Italian (for example) masters.
Here's the doc in case you're interested:




posted on May, 26 2018 @ 10:47 AM
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a reply to: olaru12

I agree, but please be careful to guard the line between Cultural Renaissance and Cultural Revolution. One come with nostalgia and possibly beneficial enlightenment. The other arrives on the back of a Great Leap Forward.



posted on May, 26 2018 @ 10:48 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

And that really is an excellent exercise. Wow.



posted on May, 26 2018 @ 11:04 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

I love your post. I have nothing to add that hasn’t been said.



posted on May, 26 2018 @ 11:07 AM
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a reply to: DBCowboy

Ha, super relevant to this discussion also, Quixote is full of beautiful ideals in a world entrenched in the profane.






posted on May, 26 2018 @ 11:10 AM
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I think the modern hero is a quiet giant. Going unnoticed most of the time through the crowd. He’s the man with tire plugs and an air compressor in his truck who can fix your flat in five minutes by the side of the road. Or the guy who steps forward from the crowd and lays his palm gently in front of of a strangers child’s forehead right before it crashes into the sidewalk..

The hero today is someone who lives their lives with intent. Someone who is prepared for the subtle catastrophes of every day life. Someone without an ego and doesn’t see themselves as a hero but has quick reflexes and confidence to step forward and save the day for anyone who might need it.

Maybe it’s always been that way. After all, most story’s about hero’s are not told by the hero themselves.



posted on May, 26 2018 @ 11:19 AM
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a reply to: Quauhtli

The tales of Knights were told by Bards. Thus they usually had to embellish the fact to some degree or another in order to capture the imaginations of their audiences, and thus secure their own living.
I suspect that the same heroic vane runs through members of modern society, but they are never called upon to slay Dragons or tilt at the giants, as the bards take ended up claiming.
So heroes still exist, but they no mostly unnoticed because they are never called upon for the same types of fantastical deeds of heroism that the old heroes were famous for. But largely never actually performed, themselves.



posted on May, 26 2018 @ 11:27 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

As we stand upon the shoulders of giants...

Modern heroes still exist and I personally think that a lot of myth befalling the man obscures the truth about some of the greatest men (and women!) In history. That's to be expected.

But we still have heroes, it's just so much easier for people to pick at their flaws. Celebrities are often heroes these days, I guess this extends to the likes of politicians too... You ain't nobody if your not a TV personality. In yesteryear the story was mainly an oral one so naturally in this giant game of Chinese whispers all lot of myth was to be involved.

We're all only human, my heroes I've always viewed within that light, we do the best with the hands we are dealt. It's what we do with those cards that inevitably attract scorn or praise. The moral compass behind our actions, whether good are bad. They define us.

Chivalry isn't dead, it's just seldom ever noticed or celebrated these days. I have the utmost respect for those who insist on decency despite a poor hand. My heroes have always been very real people who'd give a mile if you asked for an inch. These people still exist. Reputation is easily marred and we're only human.

That's my opinion anyways.



posted on May, 26 2018 @ 11:36 AM
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One person's hero is another person's terror. For those gallant Knights fighting for the church, where there perhaps people they killed that wouldn't view them as a hero? Are their actions excused because of holy affiliation or government affiliation that told them to go 'conquer'?

I run into heroes every once in a while. They would never be acknowledged as such by the majority of the population. They do not accumulate vast sums of wealth or notoriety. They lead simple and fulfilling lives. They are all about self and honor. They do not care to elevate humanity or become a symbol but instead try to help those they are close to.

I wonder, were the acclaimed heroes of history real heroes? Are we as a society looking for a superhero to save us all? Isn't that very dangerous?

If you had to describe a hero, what would it be?


edit on 26-5-2018 by ClovenSky because: what? who...who is there? hello?



posted on May, 26 2018 @ 11:44 AM
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If we can resist the progressive mindset that masculinity it toxic, we may still be able to keep heroes employed. I suspect that those who exemplify those traits will always do so, regardless of social pressure, but to see it somewhat demonized is troubling.

Heroes show up when they are needed, and I agree that it's about time for a cultural shift. The pendulum always swings back, gravity gives it no choice.

deep thinking on a Saturday morning. Nice post.



posted on May, 26 2018 @ 11:44 AM
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a reply to: ClovenSky

I ought to have qualified my post by explaining I'm speaking only of the hero archetype, just the idea of a wholly excellent man. This is more a philisophical question than a historical one-- how the hero depicted in art has changed and actually now all but disappeared.

I agree that a hero would be hard to define. One man I'd definitely say is a local hero (albeit long deceased) is Silas Soule-- check his story out, it is hard to believe one young man could have achieved so much for justice and truth.
www.westword.com...

Real heroes come in many, many forms-- most of them very quiet and hardly visible.

Thanks for your post!



posted on May, 26 2018 @ 11:47 AM
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originally posted by: ClovenSky


If you had to describe a hero, what would it be?



the one person who stops to help the homeless woman gather her things as others pass by with disgust on their faces.



posted on May, 26 2018 @ 11:49 AM
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a reply to: ClovenSky

A person who responds unwaveringly to the call of duty when it comes. Whether it's helping someone fend off a mugger without thought toward their personal safety, or the person who tightens their budget and makes sacrifices in their own household so they can buy a few bags of groceries for the family down the street who has fallen upon hard times.
But what a hero isn't, is someone who records a Facebook video of them giving that family the groceries, or seeks public acclaim for helping to stop a mugging.



posted on May, 26 2018 @ 11:54 AM
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a reply to: pfishy

Amen to that. A true hero will only be known to those he helps.




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