What makes a Hero?

Each of us  has different heroes, my 89 year old mum’s are Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela and she has never been to South Africa or America. I am sure for most very young children it is their mum and dad. How do you get to be deigned hero status, is it through an act of immense bravery in battle, myself I believe the heroes are those who refuse to go and kill another human being in the name of some political cause or should we say even Oil.

There were many images showing soldiers in the background, I deliberately did not choose them, heroism is not killing another, heroism to me is stepping outside what your fears tell you you can do and going for it anyway. Here are the 15 quotes I have chosen to use to recognise the heroism that exists on our planet.


1. Maya Angelou is a heroine to many an activist, in an age when African Americans were  not recognised as people she strode through the civil rights movement, With the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou publicly discussed aspects of her personal life. She was respected as a spokesperson for black people and women, and her works have been considered a defence of Black culture. Attempts have been made to ban her books from some U.S. libraries, but her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide. here is Maya performing And Still I Rise.


2. In our country, we have a status in life called the tall poppy syndrome, don’t rise to high or you will be chopped down at the knees. This makes the above statement very poignant, Its up to us, because we can, its our time.


3. Joseph Campbell, American Mythologist who created The Heroes Journey and the quote “Follow your Bliss” covers the moments when we become bigger than ourselves and enter hero status.


4. As children we love our superheroes, their colourful capes and costumes and super powers, because they are special people. Later we realise we don’t have the same powers and learn to become our own hero or heroine.


5. Hard times, we all have them in our lives, some much worse than others and the time it takes to recover to the hero status within us is unique for each person, Gillian Welch wrote a beautiful song about them: Gillian’s Hard Times.


6. Talking about superheroes Christopher Reeve was the actor from the first Superman movies, everyones hero. On May 27, 1995, Reeve became a quadriplegic after being thrown from a horse during an equestrian competition in Culpeper, Virginia. He required a wheelchair and a portable ventilator for the rest of his life. He lobbied on behalf of people with spinal-cord injuries and for human embryonic stem cell research, founding the Christopher Reeve Foundation and co-founding the Reeve-Irvine Research Centre. He remained a hero to the day he died of a heart attack at the tender age of 52.


7. I can imagine most of us living the comfort of our lives today would imagine travelling on one of these vessels was a heroes journey. There is still the opportunity to take such journey these days, go out and discover them for yourselves.


8. The criminals were always trying to unmask Batman  in his movies and comics to discover his identity, true everyday heroes do not need masks, they just get the job done.


9. I/We can do this, enough said.


10 And Mum.


11. Mary McCarthy was an American author who parents died when she was 8 in the great flu plague of 1918, sent to abusive relatives she moved around until going to University.  During the 1940s and 1950s she became a liberal critic of both McCarthyism and Communism. She maintained her commitment to liberal critiques of culture and power to the end of her life, opposing the Vietnam War in the 1960s and covering the Watergate scandal hearings in the 1970s. She visited Vietnam a number of times during the Vietnam War. Interviewed after her first trip, she declared on British television that there was not a single documented case of the VietCong deliberately killing a South Vietnamese woman or child. She wrote favourably about the Vietcong.


12. Some people go as far as tattooing  their favourite quote on their body, often about heroism or their heroes.


13. Peter Alexander McWilliams (August 5, 1949 – June 14, 2000) was an American self-help author who advocated for the legalisation of marijuana. The condition he died of is now treated by marijuana in the states that have realised the medical qualities of Marijuana. It is often quoted he was murdered by the state. For the people now benefiting from his struggles he would be considered a hero.


14. The human story, the heroes path. if you think you have fallen off yours look for your passion and change direction, you are your own hero.


15. And I have chosen to finish with one of my musical Heroes : David Bowies Heroes

Are there more heroes than ordinary people, for the worlds sake I hope so.

Namaste until Monday my dear friends




3 thoughts on “What makes a Hero?

  1. Did you see Lissa Rankin’s piece on the heroine’s journey? I found it very interesting and a nice balance to Joseph Campbell’s writings on the hero’s journey. Trust Lissa to come up with a new way of viewing the whole hero/heroin’s journey!
    It’s a relief these days that it isn’t all about the hero being an aggressor, or someone who has to be admired by everyone. I like the behind the scenes people who get things done and never need to be patted on the back. A bit like our father. 😊


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