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Saturday, 7 February 2009

Heroes Or Zeroes...

I was prompted to this piece of writing by one of my beautiful and wise friend's blogs yesterday, where she described her emotional passion for a close friend who was demonstrating such bravery in her life, taking early steps to combat potentially debilitating genetic illness...

This set me thinking on the nature of heroism, and its meaning to us in this day and age.

Would you know a hero if you met one? SUPERMAN Pictures, Images and Photos

Do you have a hero in your life - Someone whose life and achievements you aspire to, or would even like to emulate?

Photobucket I am entering the Temple of the Goddess Wiki. Can you smell the swirling incense, and hear the chimes?! Photobucket

"A hero (from Greek ἥρως hērōs, in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, the offspring of a mortal and a deity, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion.

Later, hero (male) and heroine (female) came to refer to characters (fictional or historical) that, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self sacrifice – for some greater good, originally of martial courage or excellence but extended to more general moral excellence.

Perseus Pictures, Images and Photos

Stories of heroism may serve as moral examples. In classical antiquity, hero cults – veneration of deified heroes such as Heracles, Perseus, and Achilles – played an important role in Ancient Greek religion. Politicians, ancient and modern, have employed hero worship for their own apotheosis (i.e. cult of personality).

The literal meaning of the word is "protector", "defender" or "guardian", and etymologically it is thought to be cognate with the name of the goddess Hera, the guardian of marriage; the original forms of these words being *ἥρFως, hērwōs, and *ἭρFα, Hērwā, respectively. The Indo-European root is ser meaning "to protect". According to Eric Partridge in Origins, the Greek word Hērōs "is akin to" the Latin seruāre, meaning to safeguard. Partridge concludes, "The basic sense of both Hera and hero would therefore be 'protector'."

In your own mind, what place, if any, do heroes have in the world of today?

Who are your heroes?

Do we need heroes in this day and age?

When we think of heroes, we might imagine Grace Darling, Photobucket a young Northumbrian heroine, much lauded in Victorian times. Wordsworth even wrote a poem to commemorate her acts. Grace rowed out in her Longstone Lighthouse Keeper father's open boat, time and again, one atrociously stormy evening in 1838, to rescue the few surviving members of crew and a handful of passengers from the stricken Forfarshire, foundering off the Farne Islands, because it was too rough for even the lifeboat to venture out.
shipwreck Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket We might also think of Lord Collingwood or his colleague, Admiral Nelson as heroes. Spending much of his life in Morpeth, Northumberland, Collingwood's life was one of seagoing bravery, including at the Battle of Trafalgar, and political and diplomatic service.

He was said to be the equal of Lord Nelson in terms of seamanship, but is perhaps not viewed as romantically as Nelson is; Photobucket

Collingwood "was opposed to impressment and to flogging and was considered so kind and generous that he was called "father" by the the sailors who toiled under him. Between Nelson and Collingwood a close friendship existed, from their first acquaintance in early life until Nelson's death at Trafalgar; and they lie side by side in St Paul's Cathedral".

Into the modern era, and feminists might ascribe the tag 'heroine' to social critics and writers such as Photobucket Germaine Greer, Photobucket Camille Paglia or Naomi Wolf. Photobucket These women have tried to push the boundaries of modern feminist thinking. They have tried to place the female sex more to the forefront of society, with a variety of well-received publications and topical debates.

I wouldn't want to be in a room with all of them at the same time, and while it might be interesting to be a fly on the wall, violence might ensue as a result of their purple passions and distinct differences. And before them, of course, were the wonderful suffragettes! Photobucket

You yourself might have literary heroes and heroines that you wish you could emulate - Photobucket Emily Dickinson or Charlotte Bronte, Photobucket Photobucket Sartre, de Beauvoir or even J. K. Rowling! Photobucket

A hero is often thought of in terms of having extraordinary courage, they stand out from the crowd by dint of their superhuman actions or deeds of derring do.

Heroes are still to be found in this world, everywhere in fact. They surround us...

They have an important role to play in our lives, and perhaps we have never more been in need of them!

obama and spiderman Pictures, Images and Photos

Please feel free to comment and tell me about your heroes, and why? I am going to give some thought to my heroes over this weekend, including Don Mills Diva, and will look out some information about them...

I think this is long enough for you to be reading today, mes amis, don't you?!

Toodles Pictures, Images and Photos


French Fancy said...

Now this has got me thinking - just who do I think of as a hero? I have absolutely no idea and must go away and think about it properly.

I do think my idea of a minor sort of hell would be to be in a room with those three female writers though, although I do quite admire Ms Greer.

Protege said...

Very interesting post and it brings up a very thought provoking issue.

To me a hero is just a human being, a man or a woman, who can make it through each and every day and face the difficulties with an open mind and an endless optimism.;) Someone who never ever stops dreaming, never stops being kind and compassionate. No matter what they face.

Thank you for your always nice comments on my blog; I think you should change your nick to "Woman Of Great Importance":;))

Working mum said...

I have no idea who my heros are either. I did put forward the theme "Heroes and Heroines" as our book week at school this year, but was overruled with "China" (I felt we were a year too late with that theme, but heigh ho). Anyway, off to think about my heroes ...........

Chairman Bill said...

Naturally it would be my father.

However, from the wider world it would be Oliver Cromwell. A man not afraid to make unpopular decisions when they were necessary; a man who was not seduced by the great power he wielded; a man who laid the foundation for Britain's future greatness; a man who was not out to line his own pockets and a man who put his own interests last.

Artist Unplugged said...

Very interesting and thought provoking post. I would first say Jesus, but you were thinking more of the not so common, common person. My mother comes to mind. I would have to give more time and thought to others.

Cynthia said...

Argh...tough question...I'll get back to you! I love your selection here though...and the background you provided. I don't have a steady hero figure besides my mother...hum...still thinking...

jinksy said...

My vote goes to the unsung heroes who live their lives simply and quietly but still manage to inspire others by their example.

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

You really make you reader THINK Fhina, you have a talent for seemingly throwing a post together and the seams are just invisible. I wish I could write this inspiring girding the loins, fruit of the loom(?) prose. I bow in this company of writers of which you are one I would like to emulate. But alas not methinks. Fabulous post, pity though l'm reading this before I hit my pit...I wont sleep right away as you have gotten my grey matter flowing. I know not what it will spew forth in the morrow!!
Hee hee hee...note note

saz xx FFF

lakeviewer said...

This is thought provoking and informative as well.I shall spend some time ruminating before returning to post an answer.

Thanks for following my blog.

Braja said...

Yes, I have my heroines....and they're not the usual sort of people who the world is content to adopt as heroes...

Fifi Flowers said...

Speaking of hereos... my son took a high entrance exam last week and they had to pick a hero in their life to write about and he wrote about me! I was sooooo PROUD!
ENJOY your weekend!

Scriptor Senex said...

Anyone who can survive the death of their child and go on to lead a useful life. I've met a lot of such people and, sadly, new ones are born every day.

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

I'm going to have to go with Joan of Arc....she was willing to be burned at the stake to standup for her beliefs.

Chairman Bill said...

//I'm going to have to go with Joan of Arc....she was willing to be burned at the stake to standup for her beliefs.//

I think you'll find that was not the case. She was burned because it had already been decided by her English captors that she was to die. It was a fit-up, m'lud.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

French Fancy: It is an interesting concept - Can't wait to see your thoughts! Germaine Greer is my favourite, as she is yours, too!

Protege: " To me a hero is just a human being, a man or a woman, who can make it through each and every day and face the difficulties with an open mind and an endless optimism.;) Someone who never ever stops dreaming, never stops being kind and compassionate. No matter what they face".

Just beautiful, and I'm going to use this today, if that's okay with you? x

Working mum: I wholly agree that the ship has sailed about China, and I strongly feel it had, even before it became the 'knee-jerk' response du jour, just as you say WM!

Chairman Bill: It is wonderful if one's parents have been our heroes - As I am sure you are to your own sons, too... As for Cromwell - a strong contender, and as you say, not afraid to make unpopular decisions! Perhaps the true mark of a leader?

Artist Unplugged: Once again, I raise my cap to your mother...

Cynthia: Ditto, your mother was not afraid to live her life inimitably, and you must be very, very proud of her!

jinksy: Absolutely true - People don't have to be 'stand out' famous to be one's heroes! To inspire others is a wondrous thing!

Fat, frumpy and fifty...: You are making me go as pink as my page, your silver tongued Queen of Vintage, you! It's good to get the grey matter going, non? - We all have need of heroes - Coco Chanel was one in the fashion world, n'est-ce pas? And I do throw posts together, it's true! And you demonstrate effortlessly elegant writing, I mean that! I am really looking forward to hearing your slant on heroes, I would guess your mum and dad are first in the line! xox

lakeviewer: Great news - Can't wait! And I am very pleased to follow your blog - I do seem to read quite a lot at the minute, but I am discerning in what I choose!

Braja: I don't think the world needs to dictate who are heroes and heroines are - They are and ought to be very personal to us!

Fifi Flowers: Thanks for stopping by in the social and artistic whirl that makes up your lovely life, Fif! I am so pleased that your son chose to write about you, that must have been such a proud moment! I'm not certain mine would say the same!!!

Scriptor Senex: Very true, Scriptor - Tragic, but true...and you cannot imagine ever having to go through that...

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

I'm going to have to go with Joan of Arc: Joan of Arc is a good one - Possibly a strong female figure, and I wonder in terms of historical source material and data, what she was actually made up of...?

Chairman Bill: That's very interesting: Politics is power, eh? That's something Cromwell himself might have said!

Diane said...

I've had many heroes in my life... as you know, Cari is one. I found a new one yesterday... the 56 year old woman who swam across the Atlantic!! How amazing is she?! It made me realize that the 60-mile walk I'll be doing in October is NOTHING compared to what she did.

Something I wrote earlier...

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