The World Needs More Heroes

October 25, 2007
Matt Hazzard

The World Needs More Heroes

In older times people were inspired by stories of great heroes who performed death defying feats and braved things that others thought unimaginable. But the problem is that the heroes of old… are old. Often the language of the stories is much different from that of modern English that people become disinterested in what they’re reading and give up. Stories such as Beowulf or Oedipus Rex are written in such old English that it can often be difficult to read. So, what the world needs is a modern Beowulf. A story of a person, or an actual person, who can do near, if not actual, superhuman feats.

Beowulf didn’t have any super powers that gave him an advantage over others. He didn’t have heat vision to melt people’s weapons or super speed to out run anyone. All he had was near-superhuman strength. The only weapon that he used against Grendel was his strength. And using his strength he managed to tear off Grendel’s arm dooming him to death. That is a trait of a true Hero. Beowulf also had courage. When Grendel’s mother returned to avenge Grendel Beowulf’s courage is what allowed him to dive into the lake to find the she-wolf’s lair and slay her as well.

The heroes we have fighting over in Iraq, while they are heroes, are not the great heroes that we need to fully inspire others. These heroes may have done remarkable things, but I have not heard of one that could do something such as single-handedly take an important Iraqi base. It may seem like something near-impossible, but that’s the point. We need someone who can do something like that. Who is willing to do the near-impossible despite the chance that they may die. If we had even just one person who could do something like this, the impact that it would have on the rest of the troops would be titanic. There would be a greatly improved morale, knowing that such a thing was possible by one man, and might even inspire others to challenge themselves in a similar manner.

A highly publicized video game demonstrates such an effect. The series is called Halo. In the game you are a soldier who has been genetically enchanced so that you have superhuman strength and reflexes. You are the last of a group of such soldiers called Spartans (named after the original Spartan soldiers who would perform such suicidal feats) fighting against an alien civilization called the covenant who are much more technologically advanced than humans are. When playing the game, any time that you approach other normal soldiers, they will make comments approving of your arrival and generally are more cheerful while you’re around. This is the kind of effect that such a hero in Iraq could have. He may not be genetically enhanced to have superhuman strength but you would still find a similar effect.

Our soldiers are still great and can achieve many great things. But having someone for the rest of the world to focus on would have a massive effect. Our own people would be encouraged knowing that we have soldiers such as this on our side. While our enemies might possibly be intimidated by such a great foe and knowing that eventually they would have to face him.

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