Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category





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I’ve been thinking about what makes a hero.

Many of the men on the Titanic were heroes of the first order. Many of the men and women in war, especially wars in the past, it seems, were heroes of the first order. The first responders at 9/11 were heroes of the first order.

What makes a hero of the “first order”? When the stakes are the highest, potential loss of ones’ own life, the hero of the first order chooses to risk their own life or safety for another person’s life or safety.

When the men on the Titanic had the most to gain by being self-protecting, they chose to lose their own lives in order to spare that fate to others. When men and women are willing to go to war, to protect others at the risk of their own lives, they are heroes of the first order. When the first responders raced in, it was without thought for self, but with single-focused thought for the rescue of others.

There are heroes of a lesser order, men or women who have not had their mettle tested with the ultimate test. But they live their lives daily putting others before themselves in smaller ways. Essentially they are not narcissists, but are principally other-focused. But these folks are just one catastrophic event away from being a first order hero, and they will make that hero’s choice, even then. Because one cannot become a first order hero in the crucible. If it’s not there in the second and third and fourth order difficulties of life, it won’t suddenly appear in the first order crush.

And it won’t suddenly disappear in the moment of greatest heat.

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