Questions About Heroes

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Yesterday (Aug. 31) was National Heroes’ Day in the Philippines. Coincidentally, I also finished the novella I’ve been working on since October 2014 on the same day. Hooray!

Being high off the triumph and unable to keep my brain from running on ideas, I’ve begun to brainstorm what the next work I set in the same world–namely, an alternate 15th-16th-century Philippines–will be about. One plot thread is definitely about heroes and heroism.

So, related to both National Heroes’ Day and these future works, I have to ask:

  • What makes an ordinary person a hero?
  • Who decides who becomes a hero, and how?
  • What sets heroes apart from ordinary people?
  • Related to the above, what are the differences between mythic heroes and folk heroes? Between National Heroes and modern-day ones?
  • If a hero were in trouble, how much would risk to help them out, if at all?

If anybody, especially someone from the Philippines, has answers to some or all of these questions, I’d love to know in the comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

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4 responses »

  1. 1) When they do something extraordinary. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2) Two answers. One, on a personal and subjective level, people do. Itโ€™s why our parents could be a hero to us. Or a teacher. Or a peer. What matters is the impact theyโ€™ve made in our lives, no matter how insignificant it might seem to someone else.

    The second, on a larger scale, are institutions, be it the government or institutes or some influential group (or person!). The appoint/anoint someone according to their own metrics/agenda (i.e. how the Catholic Church might qualify someone for sainthood).

    3) Heroes are ordinary people we mystify with the telling and narration. But what sets them apart is that during a specific point in time, they went against the grain or did something extraordinary, and got recognition for it.

    4) We forget that heroes are human too, with flaws and foibles. But it is easier to โ€œdeifyโ€ and praise people from a distance as opposed to those whom we might know or have a history with. National Heroes are institutionalized heroes who can do no wrong, while modern-day heroes are very much vulnerable to critic. Mythical heroes tend to have a perceived larger impact compared to folk heroes, who work on a personal level rather than on a macro-scale.

    5) It would depend on the relationship of the hero to us, and what their cause was. Heroism and villainy arenโ€™t mutually exclusive. For some people, Marcos was a hero for example.

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  2. What makes an ordinary person a hero? If he/she can sacrifice his life.

    Who decides who becomes a hero, and how? No one does. It’s something that should be innate with us humans. How? If someone wants to become a hero, he/she should use his heart.

    What sets heroes apart from ordinary people? Heroes are selfless. Ordinary people will always make a way to be selfish.

    Related to the above, what are the differences between mythic heroes and folk heroes? Between National Heroes and modern-day ones? Mythic is brought by imagination while modern day heroes should be beyond our imagination or maybe, exceed what we expect them to be.

    If a hero were in trouble, how much would risk to help them out, if at all? Would I risk? I would risk as much as he would also risk his life for us. That’s what belonging in the world should be. ๐Ÿ™‚ Helping out each other ๐Ÿ™‚

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