The Philosophical Foundations


OF HEROISM
Every rational person, growing up, had his favorite childhood heroes. Maybe it was a John Wayne character in a Western action movie, leading the cavalry over the hill in a last charge against vicious bandits or marauding Indians. Maybe it was a swashbuckling swordsman who, ever loyal to his King, saves the Queen from a nefarious plot, like d'Artagnan in Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers. Maybe, as one grew older, one's taste ran to more intellectual heroes, such as an uncompromising young architect who stands by his own judgment against an entire society in a book stressing the virtue of independence. Or maybe one found one's heroes not in fiction but in the great men and ...

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tastes in heroes, one fact is abundantly clear: the great men and women whose achievements provide inspiration for millions come with an assortment of specific characteristics. Some are predominantly physicalistic heroes, some primarily intellectual, some are excellent examples of the principle of mind-body integration; some are grand-scale characters towering through a work of fiction, whether on the printed page, stage or screen--while some perform their great and notable deeds in actual existence. More prosaically, some are male, some are female; some are white, some black, some Oriental; many are Americans, many are not; some lived in the 20th century, many lived in the past, hopefully many are yet to come.
And yet, through the teeming multiplicity of individualized differences, there runs a recurrent thread, a distinguishing essence that unites them all into a common classification, as differentiated from their antipode, from the mundane, the trivial, the everyday, the ...

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this definition, one might conclude that an Arnold Schwarzenegger character is a hero but that Howard Roark or Ayn Rand are not. Sadly, this is a common perception in our culture.
The philosophical causes are instructive. The Platonic-Christian tradition in philosophy trumpets two claims: 1) that man is a being severed into two parts, that his body belongs to this dimension of reality and his consciousness to a higher, spiritual realm--and 2) the logical consequence of this mind-body split, the belief that this world is utterly material and carnal, that brute, bodily means are effectual, but that the intellect, since it belongs to another world, is helpless to deal with this one, that ...

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Added: 10/24/2006 07:22:14 PM
Category: Miscellaneous
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 4125
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