Our society has a habit of using the term “hero” quite loosely in our modern discourse.  We tend to qualify all types of men and women from soldiers serving in foreign wars, to politicians and world leaders, to economists, academics, and scientists, to journalists, media personalities, celebrities, and athletes, to political activists and  as displaying the necessary human qualities we find somewhat admirable as our heroes.  We look for characteristics such as personal courage, perseverance in the face of adversity, eloquence of diction or mastery of the written word, individual charisma, and a strong list of competitive accomplishments and allow our imaginations to build a picture of the entire human being around them.  And then we sit back and wait for these heroes to show us the way forward, to lead us into the unknown and beyond, and to solve all the problems of our world with their inherently gifted natural superiority of skill…

When times are difficult, complex, and intellectually confusing we have a tendency to put even more of our blind faith in these self-created heroes.  We throw our time and energy behind one politician or another believing that they alone possess the skill and talent to work within and fix our painfully broken and outdated systems.  We attach false levels of expertise to our media personalities and commentators believing that they can see our world so much clearer than ourselves.  We place the trust of our future in the hands of any man or woman who can make us feel, if even for but a few fleeting moments, that everything is going to be alright.  And when even this method fails us, some of us simply  place our blind faith in our religious idols and gods in the hope that if this life may not grant us true peace and satisfaction perhaps the next can be better, or even that our gods will soon return to rescue their believers and fix all of humanities problems in one fell swoop…

In the end though, I am sad to say that no true heroes are coming, and the ones we create in our minds will only fall painfully short of our expectations.  There is no political savior waiting in the shadows to fix our corrupt and incompetent world governments.  There is not economist brilliant enough to take the present depression and turn in around based on the current system of order.  There is no intellectual with all the ideas and all the answers we need to plot the course ahead.  And there is no leader capable of bearing the weight of seven billion human souls on his back and carrying them into their promised future.  The heroes we create are simply men and men alone.  They are a collection of matter, molecules, and energy forged into the form of a human being no different from all of their fellow brothers and sisters.  They are nothing special.  They are nothing spectacular.  They are only human…

So if you are still looking for heroes, you ultimately need go no further than the closest mirror.  When you get there, take a long hard look at yourself and the human perfection that has become your body, mind, and heart.  Take the time, read a few books, learn to think more critically about every piece of information you receive, write down and discuss your ideas, examine your dreams and your realities, and figure out what you can do to save the world.  Stop waiting for someone else to show you the course.  Start walking it yourself.  Just remember the three most important rules: always check your sources; mind your feedback loops; and hold on to your patience and your humility, they are sometimes the only things that will keep you going.

Though we are quick to point out and cling to the heroic qualities we see in others, we seldom notice those same attributes within ourselves.  We downplay our talents, our insights, and our own capabilities.  And we find it easier to simply wait for someone else to do the dirty work of rebuilding our broken society.  In a time when our society is in such need of heroes and leaders, I just wish a few more people would take the time to look in the mirror.  Here’s to the journey ahead, my friends…stop trying to believe in others and start believing in yourselves.  I have no idea where we are going, but I’m sure we’ll eventually get there together…



24 AUG 12, 1810 (L) Grafenwoehr, Germany


About briangdonnelly

I'm pretty much a random traveler and free thinker. Right now I live and work with the Army in North Carolina. I grew up in Missouri but am from the northeast US and have traveled a lot with the Army and life in general so I can't say I really have a "home" except where I chose to catch a few hours or rack each day. Overall, life is pretty awesome and I'm looking forward to changing the world. Hit me up if you care... Peace, Brian
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