How can a young person become a hero/ine?
“Not in that he leaves something behind him, but in that he works and enjoys and stirs others to work and enjoyment, does man’s importance lie.” Goethe
A hero (heroine in female), “in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion. Later, hero (male) and heroine (female) came to refer to characters who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self sacrifice – that is, heroism – for some greater good, originally of martial courage or excellence but extended to more general moral excellence.”—Quickie from Wiki [with minor modification].
My parents accomplished a heroic task that is often not available to today’s young people because many young people start out with so much more to begin with. It seems to me that in a more comfortable standard of living (America) available today that people so fortunate must develop other means for heroic action. However, we are rapidly approaching a time that may change this situation dramatically and thus challenge the new generation greatly on a more basic level of needs.
I was born in 1934 during the Great Depression. Dad drove a city bus in Amarillo Texas. My family moved to a very small town in Oklahoma before my first birthday; I had four siblings at the time we moved from Texas to Oklahoma to manage a small café and hotel that was then being managed by my uncle who wished to return to farming.
During the next 15 years my family managed that café and hotel. This operation allowed my parents to raise a large family in reasonably comfortable conditions throughout the depression and war years of World War II.
The psychologist Alfred Adler said: “The supreme law [of life] is this: the sense of worth of the self shall not be allowed to be diminished.”
For humanity, and especially for young people, this “supreme law” presents a paradox.
“The key to the creative type is that he is separated out of the common pool of shared meaning”. The creative type finds that for some reason, perhaps it is an unconscious reason, the world as others see it presents a problem. When the creative type perceives the collective solution to the problem is inadequate s/he attempts to fashion an individual solution. In doing so the creative type becomes “a painfully separate person with nothing shared to lean on.”
I claim that our (American) culture is anti-intellectual consumerism. It is anti-intellectual in that any intellectual energy expended on non-money making ventures is considered as a foolish waste of time and energy. Our culture discourages the egg-head, the pointed-head intellectual, and the wonk. Why else would it have such labels?
I claim that the young person can solve this paradox by developing a dual personality. S/he can learn to lead two lives. One life is shown to his or her peers under normal situations and the other life becomes a self-actualizing self-learning experience that is shared only with those few like-minded peers or perhaps adults who are capable of appreciating the distinction.