Sunday, August 12, 2012

Brave Heroes

The word "hero" describes someone who behaves selflessly when the stakes are high.

It's an admirable quality, for sure, but to this we assign one of the most superlative words in the language, akin to terms like "genius" and "legend"? Shouldn't the proper word for a person who behaves selflessly when stakes are high be "non-shmuck"?

Another word sadly degraded from years of grading on a curve is "brave". These days, merely enduring something like cancer entitles you to "brave", as if you'd been given a choice and proclaimed "bring it on!".

Are we really so small a species that by merely enduring unavoidable adversity, or by not behaving selfishly under stress, we've risen as high as humans can go?

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