In Search of Heroes

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”

~ Joseph Campbell ~

In the future, when we look back, we may call it the COVID Collapse, a cliff really, that the human experiment fell off of. Marked by a massive failure in leadership, nationwide disunity and division and an urgent, persistent demand for racial justice and police reform, America appears to be reeling out of control. We are now in freefall, clutching at air, looking but not finding mature, secure leaders who grasp the enormity of the moment and understand the need to stabilize and unify the nation. We are desperate for solid authorities worthy of our trust who we can turn to for reassurance, comfort and healing; a Moses or two who will lead us to a new promised land of redemption and hope; clear-eyed guides in whom we can rely to rise above the lunacy and lies and carefully lead us home. Heroes with muscular minds, warm hearts and kind eyes who can gather up our broken pieces, all our disparate parts and lovingly weave them into a new and glorious quilt of our deepest hope and longing. Uncompromised and unconflicted warriors of peace and justice who respect medical science and detest the poison of racism that infects the American soul and are able to rise above the fear and rage to soothe our spirits, validate our values, and act with clarity and courage while calling us to fully embody our better angels of generosity, compassion, unity, empathy and love. Broken and flawed humans like each of us; battered a bit but resilient and fit; fighters, dreamers, well-meaning schemers, prepared and ready to reflect our sacred, collective purpose and truth. The heroes we wait for, the good and gentle gods; the special ones possessing the power and peace we seek ARE IN EACH OF US, of course, but until we realize that, we need a few champions of our choosing and a little help from our friends and families, communities and tribes. We are in need of a few humble heroes. Just a few will do. Look in the mirror. How about you?

~

What is a Hero?

“One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of
our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that.”

~ Joseph Campbell ~

One author suggested a true hero exceeds what is expected of them, makes a positive impact on the lives of others and rises above and beyond the ordinary. These heroes tend to be “caring, compassionate individuals who want to save and improve people’s lives independent of external rewards.” Heroism, from this perspective, merely requires “a willingness to selflessly serve others.”

According to Scott Allison, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Richmond, the author of 15 books on heroism and heroic leadership and over 100 academic articles, “Heroism is defined by researchers as extreme prosocial behavior (service to others) that is performed voluntarily, involves significant risk (or cost to the individual), requires sacrifice, and is done without anticipation of personal gain.”

A true hero, Allison argues, possesses a sincere desire to “unify people” and make them whole. He writes that heroism “always involves bringing people together” and promotes “wholeness, the mark of health and well-being.”

For example, he writes, “We can see that all heroic actions during this COVID-19 pandemic are aimed at reducing suffering and promoting the health and well-being of individuals and society. Heroes strive to promote the wholeness of all people, not just some of them. Heroism is always all-inclusive.”

We Can All Be Heroes

“By conceiving of heroism as a universal attribute of human nature, not as a rare feature of the few ‘heroic elect,’ heroism becomes something that seems in the range of possibilities for every person, perhaps inspiring more of us to answer that call.”

~ Zeno Franco and Philip Zimbardo ~

What if we were all meant to be heroes, in the same way that caterpillars are destined to become butterflies? What if deep within each of us lies the seeds of our individual and collective transformation? What if even now, if we pay attention, we can feel something shifting in us, calling us to become better versions of ourselves?

Each of us is our own unique and mysterious mixture of dark and light; one part crawls and clings while visions of bright wings and flight fill our minds at night; if we are alive, we are still in the process of becoming; our pre-heroic consciousness shedding itself in the fog and friction of our daily life as we come into a deeper awareness of what is possible. Can we truly fly? Is there something vivid and bold in each of us ready to unfold?

Before we attain heroic consciousness, Allison explains, we are defined by “nescient and maladaptive thinking, dualism, separation, mono-rationality and a naïve sense of empowerment.” Heroic consciousness, however, is quite different from this and “is exemplified by non-dualism, unity, transrationality and the wisdom of tempered empowerment.”

What does this mean? Just as an infant becomes a child before she becomes an adolescent and then an adult, our consciousness can likewise, mature, develop and evolve into its highest state, which some have called heroic consciousness. Allison claims we “are naturally equipped with a transformative drive toward realizing heroic consciousness.”

To become more heroic is to become less egocentric and more sociocentric. As our consciousness shifts, we focus less on the differences among people and social groups and begin noticing their unity and commonality. We see ourselves in others, and others in ourselves and begin sensing the unitive nature of the human experience.

How many of us, regardless of the color of our skin, saw ourselves in George Floyd? We can imagine what that knee felt like pressing on our neck, cutting off our airway, forcing our face into the hot, hard pavement as we beg to breathe, cry out to our mama and feel the sweetness of life slipping away. With Floyd’s senseless death, and the ensuing outrage, something marvelous and beautiful has emerged; a collective, heroic decision has been made to move the world toward a greater sense of unity, justice, equality and peace.

As we become more heroic, we can learn to communicate, cooperate and collaborate more effectively with others, helping to build social unity, advance society’s development and further “people’s spiritual and cosmic understanding of the world.” All of this “is ultimately aimed at promoting individual and societal well-being, equilibrium and wholeness.”

This evolution is happening now. You are part of this, just as I am. Scientists who study heroism “have recently argued that the ultimate goal of heroic transformation is the attainment of a higher, or deeper, level of consciousness,” within individuals and society.

Some will recognize similarities between heroic consciousness and spiritual awakening. Allison agrees and writes, “The goal of spirituality shares the same goal as heroism – to see our inner, truer, and best self, and to discern that this new truer self is deeply connected to everyone and to everything.”

Time to Wake Up to What We Are

“We can be heroes, forever and ever.”

~ David Bowie ~

While a caterpillar’s vision is quite poor, once it becomes a butterfly, its eyes never close and they develop excellent vision. They are able to “see many different things in many directions all at the same time while their brains collect all of that information and make one whole picture from all those tiny parts.” Some butterflies can even see colors we can’t see.

Likewise, as we become more heroic, we learn to see ourselves and others in a new way. This new view, “Dares to deviate from our Western culture’s emphasis on individualism, hyper-rationalism, and materialism.” With these new eyes, the hero is “able to sense through division and experience the unity inherent in all, and will be able to unify perceptions and self.”

Susan Ross has scientifically studied the process by which ordinary humans become heroic, “by transforming into entirely new, resplendent individuals that demonstrate valuable capacities whiles still being mortal.”

Ross describes this growth process as a movement toward becoming more awake or more conscious of who we are and what we are capable of. This is an evolutionary process, the same system of growth that drives acorns to become oak trees and caterpillars to become butterflies. Evolution leads an individual to “grow, learn, and encounter life-changing experiences—albeit unconsciously at first—and to eventually become a master herself, a hero…a healthier, happier, more triumphant self.”

Signs of a Hero

“Nobody wins unless everybody wins.”

~ Bruce Springsteen ~

In one of the recent public protests in Redding, over 400 people gathered in front of the Shasta County Administration Center before a phalanx of helmeted, baton-carrying police officers who had “formed a skirmish line to confront the crowd.” Suddenly something unexpected happened, when “a woman walked from the group of protesters to the line of police and gave two of them hugs.” Soon after, “Redding police Sgt. Mark Montgomery stepped from the line of about 20 officers and walked into the crowd of protesters” to the cheers of many of the protesters.

What followed was equally remarkable when Montgomery and several other officers linked arms with protesters and walked peacefully together to the courthouse. Montgomery later said, “I’ve never seen an intense situation like that turn on its head on a dime. It was kind of a surreal, magical moment.”

This was an example of heroic consciousness, nondual awareness, transrational or third-force thinking, or what Steven Covey calls “win-win.” Everyone won. No one lost. Sides disappeared and melded into one. Protesters were able to voice their outrage over the needless death of George Floyd and so many other black men and women and the police were able to clear the streets and prevent vandalism. Everyone respected each other. This was heroic consciousness on display for all to see. It only took one person to act heroically, triggering an energetic shift within hundreds of people.

What is this magic that turns a tense moment full of fear and anger into something peaceful and kind? As Montgomery said, “It came down to trust between law enforcement and trust between the demonstrators that allowed that to happen.”

Something similar happened recently in Nevada when Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters and armed “all lives matter” counter-protesters set their differences aside and, just like in Redding, hugged one another. It started with BLM members approaching the counter-protesters with an offer of “peace” to which Max Ryan, one of the armed “peacekeepers” said, “If you come in peace, then give me a hug.” This led to “a civilized conversation…for over an hour, sharing our opinions and beliefs.” Ryan said, “We actually found we agree on more than we disagree on.” This is heroism and mutual trust in action.

Where does this level of trust come from? Allison cites Joseph Campbell, the author of The Power of Myth, who described an incident where two police officers were willing to die to save a stranger from committing suicide. Campbell described their heroic response as “a metaphysical realization which is that you and that other are one, that you are two aspects of the one life.”

Allison writes, “Heroic consciousness is the awareness of this truth” and explains that Campbell “taught us that the classic, mythic initiation journey ends with the hero discovering that ‘our true reality is in our identity and unity with all life.’”

Larry Dossey states as much in his book, One Mind, “that all individual minds are part of an infinite, collective dimension of consciousness.”

What’s Next?

“Treat everyone you meet as if they were you.”

Doug Dillon

Allison writes, “As we move deeper into the 21st century, it becomes more and more evident that our world can best undergo heroic transformation when our individual heroic consciousness joins forces with the heroic consciousnesses of others.”

Called “collaborative heroism” and marked by “greater inclusivity,” it is clear the world is crying out for each of us to come into a greater awareness of “the interdependence and unity of the human race.” As we collectively emerge from our illusory cocoon of unconscious separation, “It is incumbent on us all to evolve into heroically conscious individuals who can work together locally and globally to help a troubled world so desperately in need of the consciousness of heroes.”

In the future, when we look back, we may call it the COVID Collapse,
a cliff really, that the human experiment fell off of.
Who will catch us as we’re falling? Who will answer the heroes’ calling?
We are in need of a few humble heroes.
Just a few will do. Look in the mirror.
How about you?

 

Douglas Craig
Doug Craig graduated from college in Ohio with a journalism degree and got married during the Carter administration. He graduated from graduate school with a doctorate in Psychology, got divorced, moved to Redding, re-married and started his private practice during the Reagan administration. He had his kids during the first Bush administration. Since then he has done nothing noteworthy besides write a little poetry, survive a motorcycle crash, buy and sell an electric car, raise his kids, manage to stay married and maintain his practice for almost 30 years. He believes in magic and is a Dawes fan.
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55 Responses

  1. Doug, thank you for this deep and hopeful piece. I especially liked when you talked about Lt. Mark Montgomery’s actions during the June 2 protest. For me, he was among the heroes that night.

    I like this part, too: “To become more heroic is to become less egocentric and more sociocentric. As our consciousness shifts, we focus less on the differences among people and social groups and begin noticing their unity and commonality. We see ourselves in others, and others in ourselves and begin sensing the unitive nature of the human experience.”

    Such great wisdom here. Much appreciated, Doug.

  2. Avatar David Boone says:

    A beautiful, beautifully-written, inspiring article. I don’t disagree in the slightest. However…

    Heroism might be all-inclusive, but capital still creates stark classes segregated by ironclad concentrations of power determining who can do what with the power and resources available to them. The failure is not in the lack of people who have heroic potential, but in the sad fact that the gatekeepers will never let them use that potential to change things. Millions of us work in various industries that we know need overhauled from the ground up (healthcare, education, government, etc.); but will the vast majority of us ever be allotted any real power or clout to change things on the deep systemic level at which they need changed? Not on your life. Hell would sooner freeze over before the people benefitting monetarily from the current late-capitalist travesty would willingly let any heroic idealists anywhere near the root machinations of power in this world. Cynical, yes, but I haven’t seen any evidence to the contrary thus far.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      David – Good observations. American history is filled with examples of our corporate-capitalist government obliterating incremental advances made by heroic people.

      This is a nice, well-intentioned article. However, it seems a bit Pollyanna-ish to me. I think we need to recognize that there are forces attempting to destroy the country, and that the people involved have no desire to change their self-serving (or actually corporate-serving) perspective. No “common ground” will be found, since they apparently aren’t capable of understanding anything beyond their own prejudices and fears, and misguided expectations for personal power.

      The most troubling thing I see at present is the fascist take-over of our federal government. Fascism can’t exist without fundamentalist religion to keep the masses in line, and to dumb down the population. Nearly every federal agency and commission is now headed by Trump-appointed Christian Nationalists, whose admitted goal is to replace our Constitution with a fundamentalist theocracy that will give their followers easily-recongizable scapegoats they can blame all their problems on. There are some things you just don’t pointlessly compromise with.

      • Avatar David Boone says:

        Patricia you are spot-on. It’s the paradox of tolerance. The antifa tendency, as I see it, is a healthy social immune-response to the very real threat of forces which would destroy any semblance of a free society if left unchecked. It’s no accident that the Big Baddies in practically every sci-fi movie ever are bent on control and domination, and are willing to sacrifice entire cultures, ecosystems, and planets in the name of their own power. Slavery and Nazi Germany (&c.) are far too recent for us to think, as a species, that we’ve grown past those violent and hateful tendencies.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

    • Douglas Craig Douglas Craig says:

      Thanks David. I can’t say I disagree with your sentiments here. It is up to each individual to determine how conscious, awake or heroic she/he becomes. Our principle failing is that most of us view ourselves as disconnected pieces of a larger reality instead of co-equal participants in one seamless whole. If enough of us were awake to who and what we really are, everything would change. Unworkable systems would collapse and be replaced by systems that work for everyone. We are spiritually immature but that is changing. The human world is literally a product of our collective dream. If we want a better world, we need a better dream. My question for myself and everyone is what are we waiting for? If we believe it can change, it will. If we don’t believe it can change, it won’t. Our minds created all this. If we can change our minds we can change our world.

      • Avatar David Boone says:

        As long as the changing of minds is correlated with changes in actions and structure (both inside and outside the cranium), then yes, I agree. Conditioning runs deep, and is not easily undone – we change our core programming – personally and socially – with behavioral changes, and the mind falls in line eventually. As someone on the materialist end of nondualism, I prefer putting the emphasis on the more physical, tangible, and tractable vectors. I’m not even convinced that “mind” is much of a real thing beyond the brain’s logical exhaust and waste-energy. But the laws of conditioning and behavior, environmental antecedents, etc., those are 100% reliable and trustworthy. Some more mentally-oriented air types can make use of the mind-belief route, but I’ve only ever found it frustrating. It still gives me inspiration, though; and I usually find myself internally translating pieces like yours into my own terminology to grok the truth of it.

  3. Wow — what an insightful piece of writing! “Likewise, as we become more heroic, we learn to see ourselves and others in a new way.”
    Here I was praying for Jesus to come back and save us, or Dr. King’s words to inspire us, and now you point out so well that we, ourselves, can be the heroes. Thank you.

  4. Avatar Sue Keller says:

    Whew!!! I was wondering when we would hear from you. You have responded – Thank God!!!!!
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
    Let us all look deep within and respond from clarity and truth. As you say – heroism begins with each of us.
    I will add a quote by Rumi:
    “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I’m changing myself.”

  5. Avatar Pamela Robinson McCurdy says:

    Thank you so much for your perspective and optimistic outlook. It gives me hope and courage. Time to read The Hero with a Thousand Faces again. I particularly liked the quote from Larry Dossey “that all individual minds are part of an infinite, collective dimension of consciousness.” If we believe that and put it together with the scientific proof of collective DNA that binds us all together physically, what is it that keeps us apart? Ego. Fear. Oh for a perfect world where our sameness holds us all together.

  6. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    Heroes have become as extinct as dinosaurs. How is that possible, you ask?

    America has so vastly undervalued heroic behavior as to create a generation that can’t change a flat tire, balance a checkbook, or even feel comfortable with their birthright gender identity unless they first consult YouTube, check for MyLife updates, add a branch to their family tree at Ancestry, and search for a soulmate at OneandOnly.

    If you’re looking for a hero out of GenerationX, he’s sure to arrive prepared for any catastrophe that can be resolved in flip-flops, ass-crack baggies, and $200 Maui Jim Sunglasses – carrying a laptop, an IPod, and a current Facebook account.

    That leaves the rest of us, you say. Why aren’t we stepping up to the plate?

    In a nutshell, we’ve become a nation of sedentary, internet-addicted, unabashed and unashamed obeseatarians – comfortably ass-planted to a couch somewhere in the vicinity of flat screen access to heroic endeavors such as “Hoarders”, “Extreme RVs”, “My 600 lb Life”, and “Finding Bigfoot with Bobo”. We’ve traded Indiana Jones for Giorgio Tsoukalas. We’ve traded a bull whip for a man purse. We’ve given up our search for the Holy Grail.

    “Hand me that box of Twinkies, wouldjya? If I get up, I’ll spill my beer…”

    America has fallen into a deadfall of the worst kind, the timing of which couldn’t be worse. We need heroes, don’t have heroes, and can’t find heroes – and perhaps that is because we’ve forgotten the basic skills a hero must possess to entertain the minimum requirements of basic heroics.

    Despite being an informed nation of higher education, it’s painfully apparent we don’t recognize heroic values. We continue to elect inappropriately skilled leaders whose values we don’t need and can’t trust. Leaders we can’t believe because they don’t value truth. In choosing leaders, we ignore compelling, competent virtues of statesmanship, constitutional literacy, and sociopolitical expertise in favor of those most possessed of political quackery, pseudoscience, moral failure, and sociopathic, deceitful personal agenda.

    Why is this? My opinion is that those that choose to run for public office are frighteningly far from the “cream of the crop” – low in intelligence quotient, strikingly high in moral turpitude. Those that are actually in possession of electable skills couldn’t be induced to enjoin the shit show of American politics, at any price. Those best suited couldn’t care less, regardless of the inducement. We’ve traded Abe Lincoln for a Donald Trump, two Mitt Romney’s, and three Les Baughs when we really needed Babe Ruth.

    Why? We have nothing but poor draft picks because don’t support our major league with a mandate for basic minor league skill set requirements. All those aforementioned politicians deserve to sent back to the farm leagues till they learn how to hit the curve. Except, of course, Honest Abe.

    Failure to recognize and appropriately value heroic behavior comes with a price tag, and the free fall of America that you describe, Doug, depends on our ability to revive and resurrect a wholesome recognition of the skill sets necessary for basic heroics. I’ll agree, Superman resides within all of us.

    But, before he can emerge, ya gotta get him to cut back on the Hohos and get a real job – and it’s especially important he feel comfortable with his gender, get along well with others, and learn to hit a fast breaking pitch.

    If you want something done right, do it yourself.
    If you’re looking for a hero, be that hero.

    • Avatar David Boone says:

      X here. Might want to upgrade your stereotypes a bit.

      So, heroic values = gender conformity, acceptable body size, and good literal + metaphorical baseball skillz. Got it. We’ll be sure to remember that when we’re the old undying bitter assholes attempting to rebuild once the whole lame prosperity-and-planned-obsolescence shitshow is over – that is, if the bloated and tech-addicted generations on either side of us leave anything to work with. I was raised by my grandparents who grew up in the first Great Depression, so I’ve been in depression mode my whole life. And not surprisingly, it works a *lot* better than any sort of “boom” mentality of illusory abundance we can come up with. But by all means, keep limiting the discourse to conventional superficialities. :/

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        Suggestion: Change your name to “David Boom!”

        • Avatar David Boone says:

          LOL I actually did used to go by “David X” back when I was doing fanzines in the 90’s. If anyone encapsulated the Best of Boom it was John Lennon imo, and we see what happened to him.

      • Avatar Candace says:

        Bill V,
        THERE you are!
        “Might want to upgrade your stereotypes a bit.
        So, heroic values = gender conformity, acceptable body size, and good literal + metaphorical baseball skillz. Got it. We’ll be sure to remember that when we’re the old undying bitter assholes…”
        Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

        X,
        I like your blip above wrt heroic idealism, and you are right. Those in power – particularly those in the corporate setting (Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big PACs across the board) will white knuckle wield their embrace of power if permitted.

        The not answer there is to hit their wallet. Disincentifize their lust for power. It’s high time Big Corporate commodity went the way of public utility, cuz it would certainly give the consumer a break, and possibly alleviate our outsourced reliance on China. Recapturing an independent America should be on everyone’s priority list. We have tools in the existing toolbox to Make America Great Again, and Trump’s penchant for EO can only bite him in the ass. The last Civil War was fought over State’s rights, as well might be the next one. Be watchful of the precedent of inaction being established in Seattle. It’ll be the focus of discussion for years to come.

    • Avatar Pamela Robinson McCurdy says:

      Wow! I’m new to this forum, but Bill Vercammen you are rapidly rising to the top as someone with writer’s cramp. Beside the point that all your quasi-heroes are men, I’ll trade you one Audrey Denney or Elizabeth Betancourt any day for a drunken, crotch-scratching Babe Ruth. These women are intelligent, leaders, and driven to make the world a better place. Play ball, Bill.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        When I saw “Babe Ruth” my thought was: “The fly has been cast. It drifts upon the flat water of the river’s deep pool. Will a trout will rise to the fly?”

        Or in other words: Nice troll, Bill.

        • Avatar Candace says:

          Nice troll? Nah. Predictable troll. There’s nothing inspiring about Puppet Master dialogue.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          Alternatively (after reading Bill’s response to PRM)—Bill is a New Englander, and The Babe rose to stardom as a member fo the BoSox. Maybe Bill’s admiration for the supremely talented, drunken, bloated Sultan of Swat and Godhead of Gluttony is genuine.

          • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

            Former New Englander. Been gone from NE nearly 50 years.
            Actually, my first choice was Mickey Mantle, but Mickey didn’t quite fit into my correlate for controversy.

            You got me painted. I admit, The Babe was a strategically casted bait.

      • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

        Sorry, PRM. I think I got it right this time.

      • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

        PRM – you say potAto, I say potAHto…
        The genderphohia argument is moot, provided you get the point at issue.
        I see those gals are actively passing around their collection plates. I’ll look at them.
        Thanks for the heads-up.

      • Avatar Candace says:

        PRM, Elizabeth Betancourt and Audrey Denny continue to have my VOTE. Hope springs eternal!

        • Avatar Candace says:

          *Audrey Denney

          • Avatar Linda Cooper says:

            Candace, yes. We must have hope in this area! Living now in Chico, I just embrace the signs up for Audrey Denney. Actually, I will always remember moving in to the house I made a decision on in under three hours, and the neighbors had her signs up. From Redding area to Chico, well, it felt like I was no longer in Kansas!

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Bill — I was gonna respond, “I don’t know where to start, so maybe for once, I won’t.”

      But that’s not me.

      I think you’re half wrong. There are plenty of would-be heroes out there. They’re working feverishly on solutions to The Pandemic, global warming, racism, police militarization, food security, geopolitical conflicts, education reform, and creating and nurturing works of art (did you seen “Hamilton” before everything stopped? Oh my God!). All those things, and more—a few would-even working in the political realm.

      But I think you’re half right. We’re now Reality TV America. Our heroes are the Kardashians and Instagram influencers. We elected the “You’re fired” gasbag President of the United States. In spite of the string of unmitigated disasters that have fallen upon us since then, it’s possible a plurality of us still support the corrosive, unprincipled, unqualified, and spectacularly disastrous mofo.

      Okay….time to go heroically tend to my vegetable garden. If you want something done right…

      • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

        I gotta be brief here, but I’ll attempt to cover all the bases of dispute.

        First, PRC – I’m NOT gender-phobic. One of my favorite chick flicks is:
        “A League of their Own”. I just won’t subscribe to the he/she style of writing.
        Too lengthy. Feel free to rewrite the whole piece, maybe referencing the entire cast of the above mentioned chick flick. My fave quote:
        “May’s not just a name, it’s an attitude.

        GenX, you gotta learn the value of a metaphor, man.

        Steve, it doesn’t surprise me at all that you garden.
        You strike me as a useful sort.

        Doug, thanks for the great read. You’ve got me in deep shit once again.
        That makes you my hero, I really appreciate the inspiration!

        • Avatar David Boone says:

          “GenX, you gotta learn the value…”

          Little-known fact: If you say that 500 times in a mirror, the ghost of Kurt Cobain will appear and drag your soul down to the seemingly-endless hell of a better birth-year.

  7. Avatar Paula Kahler says:

    Thank you so much, Doug! Doni’s comments express my appreciation
    precisely.

  8. Avatar Randy says:

    Leave it to Doug to seize points of enlightenment out of the jaws of dysfunctional chaos. I too thought we should have heard more(from both sides) about what sparked the ‘crossover’ event between the protesters and LE and the individuals responsible for that transformation. Will be keeping my eyes and ears open for the woman and the officers for a chance give them each an honorary bow. Great job neighbors.

  9. Avatar Candace says:

    Doug, love the Bowie and Springsteen quotes; love your thoughtful and poignant writing as well.

  10. Douglas Craig Douglas Craig says:

    Thanks to all of you who have read and commented especially to an old and dear friend named Carl Bott, one of my heroes, who just called and invited me to come on his radio show tomorrow from 8 to 9 am! Tune into https://www.kcnr1460.com/ or listen on the AM radio at 1460. For those who don’t know, I once hosted a radio show on KCNR called Wake-Up Call in 2010 and 2011 with another friend and hero, the late Pamela Spoto. Our show ran just before Doni’s show. Listen in if you can. It should be fun.

  11. Avatar carl bott says:

    Doug will be a guest on our show to discuss this article Thursday morning (6/18) at 8 am. KCNR 96.5 FM or kcnr1460.com

    • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

      Thanks, Carl.

      I’m actually considering putting on my rouge, garters, and fishnet stockings…
      And running against Candace for the position of Queen Bee…
      Can you provide a campaign platform?
      I sing a mean show tune…

      • Avatar Candace says:

        Bill V, you’ll need some ovaries to go with your outfit. They may need some dusting off but I’m happy to lend you the extra pair I keep on hand for occasions such as these. Might I suggest that you open with “I feel pretty”?

        • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

          “Might I suggest that you open with “I feel pretty”?

          One of my faves. Drives the wife bonkers.
          I was a bit put out when Nicholson and Sandler repopularized it…
          Wrt ovaries: If I go full furnishings, I always open with:
          “If I only had a brain” It’s a perennial crowd pleaser.

          • Avatar Candace says:

            Yes, one could see why that would render a rousing standing ovation; nothing funnier than
            an un-closeted misogynist dressed in drag belting out a full-throated rendition of “If I only had a brain”. Too bad the crowds have dwindled at Boys-R-Us; social distancing’s a bitch when all one wants to do is perform.

  12. Avatar Annelise says:

    Doug, your writing about heroism captured my heart. For as long as I can remember the driving force within me has been to make the world a better place for myself
    and others. I thought until recently that everyone felt that way. Perhaps they do and it’s simply buried more deeply. The first paragraph in italics is especially beautiful.

    I find myself concerned, though, that the individual who has risen into focus as the hero of the recent protest against police brutality, is a police officer. That night, entirely peaceful protestors were met by police in riot gear. Why? Then these same police who had just escalated the protest by appearing in riot gear and forming a wall, became the heroes of the moment by “de-escalating” the situation through friendly interactions with the peaceful protestors . In reality these officers should have been friendly all along. There was no need for riot gear. There was no need for a wall of officers. There was no need for armed militia.

    In my mind the real heroes of that night and others like it are black men and women like Demetrius Dumdum, Tevin Seeley and Gloria Kimbwala, who at the risk of violence from armed militia members As well as the police, spoke loudly and clearly on behalf of justice not only for George Floyd but for humankind.

    • Avatar Randy says:

      Thanks for bringing attention back to the ‘heroric’ efforts of Demetrius Dumdum, Tevin Seeley and Gloria Kimbwala.

  13. Avatar Linda Cooper says:

    Annelise –
    Uh, I’m not Doug obviously. And since you never respond to my comments anyway…
    For me, the important aspect of the article is that the hero is within us. And I think, to Doug’s point, the officers on board that night found the hero within themselves.
    I further think it’s important to claim and recognize when “good” things go down. It was a moment indeed, from what I gather as one who was not present.

    • Avatar Annelise says:

      Linda, I’m sorry I haven’t responded to your comments. Certainly an oversight. I’m glad if officer Montgomery found the hero within himself. I just wonder if we should be centering the story of heroism during the protest around him. Doesn’t negate the rest of Doug’s article at all. And I found it beautiful. Thanks for your response.

      • Avatar Linda Cooper says:

        Annelise, thank you so much for the kind reply. Also, thank you for your contributions to ANC. I read every piece you write. I’m just going to leave it at that for now!

  14. Douglas Craig Douglas Craig says:

    I’ve seen clients all day so wasn’t able to respond to all the interesting comments as they were posted. I thought about posting individual responses to each comment but I am so OCD that could take me all night. So again thanks to all the commenters. This piece actually was supposed to be about Bruce Springsteen and how he is my hero for me for many reasons including his brave honesty about his own struggles with depression and his decades-long commitment to psychotherapy. But as I looked into the heroism piece I discovered Scott Allison and his work and decided to save Bruce for another day. I appreciate you all. Thank you and please be my HERO and do all you can to support A News Cafe with your financial support. Doni will always be my hero for what she has done with her heart and her mind and her words. She is a blessing to all of us.

  15. Avatar CHRISTIAN Gardinier says:

    Doug, nice work lots to think about. Seems like it’s going to be difficult to come to a collective concences agreement of hero. If we asked everyone who their alter ego was there would be some commonalities, Mother Teresa, Buddha, perhaps a parent or a grandparent, Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi and Christ all come to mind. Maybe it’s because most of these folks endure throughout time, and people like Hitler, indeed a hero to a lot of people in his time, did not endure. Getting to an understanding where collectively we agree that the hero is existentially within us is really going to be a tough sell.

    I say sell, because all cultures and societies seem to want to influence and or control heroism, so things like politics and economics come into play, and there are lots of examples of religions doing so proclaiming variance from the dogma means a sentence to hell! If you’re Christian, the argument is was Christ a devine hero, or as some have postulated, all that is Christ is actually within each one of us. And if we are a Christ type being is true, it’s going to be hard for a Pope or anyone for that mater to make money or power off that unless you are a popular new age writer, cult leader or something.

    Perhaps we indeed would reach enlightenment or nirvana, if as a species we all were able to come to consensus that a hero is indeed an entity that puts the Good of the collective over the individual, and somehow all got woke at the same time to tip this into reality. But more than likely, it’s strong emotional events at collective levels like war and George Floyd tipping points that might woke some of us most of the time, and personal experiences that will woke us some of us some of the time. But that collective Nirvana is going to be a tough but to crack.

    In the meantime the good old Id continues to rattle around, fight and argue about what is good, make a lot of noise doing so, and seep in to our collective and individual behavioral existence, causing lots of issues in the name of survival.

  16. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyder says:

    I believe the hero in us starts in small but important ways…shopping for people who can’t drive….keeping our word…. risking our job by standing up for coworkers, friends and family being slandered by others….not standing silently by when anyone is being verbally or physically abused. Great article Doug. Some of my heroes are people I don’t know but I met at Cash and Carry and Costco as they bought lots and lots of food to feed the displaced Carr Fire people they had opened their doors to. And they were smiling.

    • Douglas Craig Douglas Craig says:

      Actually you are more right than you may have realized. Studies show that we are more likely to behave in heroic ways by starting small and looking for little ways every day to care for others. This trains our brains to respond heroically when the opportunity presents itself. We can all be heroes if we choose to be as your comment suggests.

  17. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    Interesting precedent for future pandemic behavior being set in Tulsa, as appeal to mandate CDC pandemic guidelines at Saturday’s GOP rally go to OK State Supreme Court.

    https://www.tulsaworld.com/news/legal-challenge-seeking-to-stop-trump-rally-sent-to-state-supreme-court/article_a6d3b319-2a3e-50b4-a4c5-680dca764da6.html

    Gonna be interesting to see if there’s a hero in Oklahoma willing to say no to Trump. The GOP occupation of Tulsa has the potential of being compared to CHOP occupancy in Seattle. Entertaining times ahead…

    Any lawyers out there? Certainly there is a legal precedent by which Tulsa can protect itself from this “Wild Bunch” of Republican pandemic pushers.

  18. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    I grew up a science geek, so it kind of pains me to say this, because the dude is a giant douche.

    Elon Musk is pretty damned heroic. More in the classic sense of the hero changing the world for the better (or at least a corner of it), rather than self-actualization of the individual—which is healthy and good, of course, but I just can’t bring myself to call it heroic.

    SpaceX, Tesla, SolarCity, OpenAI, FutureOfLife, NeuralLink, The Boring Company, StarLink, Hyperloop, and a bunch of subsidiaries of the above. It’s an amazing suite of innovative and ambitious programs, most of which are aimed at improving the lot of humanity.

    I say that with the deepest respect for David Boone’s neo-Luddite perspective posted up above, where he posits that all of this technological and economic progress is ultimately doomed to plunge back to Earth and crater hard. That’s the theme of pretty much every apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie I’ve ever enjoyed, from “A Boy and His Dog” to “Blade Runner” to “Max Max: Fury Road.”

  19. Hi Douglas,
    Great article on heroes and heroism. I have been studying the topic for over 50 years and conducted many interviews. My research resulted in the discovery of the greatest number of unsung heroes…the moms and grandmas. I have posted the videos of many heroes interviews on my https://www.youtube.com/user/biomans youtube channel. You will enjoy over 50 interviews of cartoon and real life heroes at the San Diego Comic Con by one of my cub reporters back in 2009. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLX8kGhBbtWKc12uhVyVao08C2nxxJV1fv

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