throughout the history, heroes and heroines (famous for their good deeds) are characters that in the face of danger and adversity, and sometimes from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self-sacrifice for some greater good. On the other hand, villains and villainesses (infamous evil characters) are usually bad people who fight against the heroes and heroines. These dreadful figures are always involved in, or devoted to wickedness and crime.
What is important here, is the circumstances in which these bold characters (good or bad) are created. For example; how come a man like Hitler came to have such a huge power and could abused it, the way he did. And, how come an ordinary woman like Rosa Parks came to be the catalyst for the collapse of segregation and was able to start a new chapter in the civil rights movement in the USA.
All of the famous and infamous people in the history had a very distinct and usually a very strong characteristic of some sort. But the point that I consider as important, is the circumstances, the social environment or the moral climate that helped such individuals to flourish and create such extraordinary events.
Many other black Americans stood for their rights before Rosa Parks and were brutally silenced in obscurity, simply because the social environment and the moral climate were not yet ready and conducive to change. Nevertheless, their action was as heroic as was Rosa Parks’ and defiantly it was their act that gradually made the situation favourable for change.
In the same way, the rise of Hitler and the possibility of what he did was the result of a particular moral climate, a unique social situation that thousands and thousands of people around him contributed to it. Such contributions were possibly out of ignorance or unintentional. Nevertheless, they were accessory to his crime, they made him possible.
When we look at the historic events like these, and the social climate that led to them, we realise that at certain times in the history, moral standards were somehow twisted and were focused on certain artificial values blown-out to extraordinary proportions. These, usually sprout from extreme religious beliefs, intense patriotic nationalism, radical ideologies, unrestrained materialism, fear, prejudices, greed, foolish naivety, etc. Politicians and rulers of the time exploit such weaknesses, and senseless maniacs find a fertile ground to grow huge.
Sadly even now across the world injustice, exploitation and large-scale abuse of human rights are rife, and all in the name of religion, national security, and public interests. The infamous abusers of our time are not alone. They too, have the support of millions of others who simply buy their propaganda through naivety, short-sightedness or greed, and make the situation conducive to the wrong that the villains of our time are doing.
We do not need to have flying power like Superman. We do not need to get involved in militant actions, and get public recognition to be the hero of our time. Empathic understanding and astute awareness are what we need. We need to realise the influence, the impact and the importance of our choices. The job we select, the art we admire, the friend we choose, the programme we watch on TV, the website we visit, and other choices that we make affect the moral climate and the social conditions that consequently support or oppose what’s going on around us.
Particularly in the Western societies, our choices as consumers, followers and voters, strongly affect the social, economic, and political environment, and in turn the direction of the events in our society as well in the whole world.
Let’s be the unsung heroes of our time. Let’s be aware of what we choose, the trends we follow and the vote we cast.