Discouraging the Rise of Heroes

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Discouraging the Rise of Heroes

We live in an age of self-interest where each looks after his own pleasure and gratification. Ours is a culture that glorifies comfort, safety and health. It exudes carefree optimism, giving us the mistaken impression that we can somehow have perfect material happiness in this valley of tears. In such a climate, the hero seems to reproach society by engaging in risky adventures which most “sensible” people avoid.

Indeed, modernity does much to discourage such heroes from gaining too much influence. Robert Nisbet writes that, “The acids of modernity, which include equalitarianism, skepticism, and institutionalized ridicule in the popular arts, have eaten away much of the base on which heroism flourished.”

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Yet another factor in the decline of heroes is what he calls “technology’s reorganization of the world has brought with it a certain built-in disenchantment.” (Robert Nisbet, Twilight of Authority, Indianapolis, Liberty Fund, 2000, p. 98.)

That is to say that there must be a degree of enchantment and admiration for heroes and their feats to flourish. When technology dominates a culture, it turns the focus of fascination towards itself and away from the feats of men.