Hero

Modern Hero Manifesto

I choose to believe this project ultimately helps people. And it might make me a good person, but it does not make me a better person.

These are times of superlatives. Thinner, prettier, smarter, richer and better are modern standards of superiority – creating eventual inferiority complexes. Long were the days of equality (if such days ever existed). And in this realm of superficiality, heroes have broken into a profitable spectrum of representation and reshaped basic values into sellable commodities. Thus, creating a lineage of modern faux heroes.

After the advent of cinema, television and later the Internet, communication mediums became crucial components in the creation of a hero. In cinema, the male protagonist projected the ideals of a hero. In television, Superman added an extra “super” layer to the word hero. And the Internet permitted individuals to entitle themselves idols.

In such context, modern heroes are rather scarce commodities – at least, from a paradoxical perspective. The likes of Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela indeed embody the connotation of the word hero: these are true heroes.  Yet, even the word hero itself has taken an entire different connotation amidst representational mediums. Thesaurus’s synonyms range from star to leading actor – bringing heroes a step closer to modern capitalist ideologies.

Ideologies are the basis of modern society and capitalism undertones the very foundations of ideologies’ assertion: media. American Idol, Superheroes, Movie Star, and Champions League: these heroes sell; yet, only the better ones. Upsetting reality but faux heroes are immediate reflections of consumerism.

Capitalism needs profit. Food stocks would drastically reduce if our heroes were the people that spend days without essential provisions. Medical research would not be encouraged if our heroes cured themselves with the use of ancient medical techniques. Technology would not develop if our heroes used person-to-person communication over tweets. Profit would be endangered if our heroes did not have options, opportunities and preferences.

The recent solution was the creation of a hybrid hero: hero during the day, star during the night. Madonna, Bill Gates and Angelina Jolie are just a few of these good-hearted Samaritans. Even though their deeds are indeed focused on the betterment of our global community, the major difference between a hybrid hero and a true hero are the choices; or rather, the lack of choices.

Economical and personal aid is undeniably necessary and certainly makes a change. Hence, these hybrid heroes can easily fund projects, endorse organizations and raise needed children because companies provide the necessary tools. After all, associating a brand with a hero powerhouse can generate profit. Good deeds are no longer simple actions; there are spreadsheets, pie charts and stock markets behind their thrusts. True heroes are just too tiresome for profit.

Bill Gates, for example, became notoriously known for donating his entire fortune for charity – and so modern media claims. Bill Gates had the opportunity of an education, successful economical choices and personal strength (by no means Bill Gates isn’t worthy of recognition for all his accomplishments). Yet, Bill Gates had options – and still does. After checking one of his recent tweets, which proudly described a recent visit to Uganda, a sudden realization transpired. Bill Gates had the option to leave and return to his “normal” life. The others stayed – not by choice; but rather, the lack of.

While some struggle to make ends meet, the great majority struggles to survive: these are my modern heroes. Unknown faces, blistery hands, honest smiles, and most importantly, endless effort. And yet, western society tends to place these individuals in a lower (and worse) position. After all, our faux heroes are richer, prettier, smarter and simply better.

Who cares about that toothless individual who barely survives with a $10 dollar monthly income? Or maybe that orphan currently living on the streets who dreams about becoming an artist? What about that lady who had her genitalia mutilated and still finds joy to go on? No, these could not be our heroes because faux heroes can choose; real heroes cannot. Faux heroes are reflections of ideals; real heroes embrace the ideals. Faux heroes are constructed by society; real heroes are society.

Perhaps a solution would be the implementation of an ideology that promotes indifference over superiority; after all, human beings are just beings. Yet, power assertion would be entirely menaced if such idealism ever became reality; and our current political and economical global system would collapse. Not a bright future for those too fond of their superiority complexes.

Another alternative would be an inversion of values: real over artificial, intellect over image. Then again, television shows would just be too predictable, films would become rather tedious and magazines’ sales would certainly drop. Sounds like a mind-numbing world.

Although certain choices are endemic to specific parts of the globe, the world population still shares one common battle: good versus evil. Good does not have a shape, size, color and does not necessarily signify better. Better is a modern media construction, whereas good still remains an important value.

In this world of heroes, primadonnas, martyrs and divas, I choose to be a good version of myself. Fortunately, such option is available worldwide. Free of any charges.