From Harry Potter to Katniss and all Marvel and DC heroes, it seems that our society is attracted to the idea of a hero helping us defeat the forces of evil and leading us into victory, oftentimes at great personal cost. While sacrifice is an important element in overcoming adversity, I question the concept of a normal human being acting as the single hero, “the one” we are all dependent on to step into the light.
Could it be a reflection of our attachment to solutions in the form of simple formulas? Despite the fact that our world is becoming increasingly complex, we seem to think that a simple (a + b) formula is going to solve it all. This translates, in the medical field, as a search for a magic pill, whereas it has been proven time and again that health is dependent on appropriate lifestyle choices which can vary from one individual to another. With regards to governance, this translates into an obsession with finding the one politician or political party that is going to fix all of our community’s problems and challenges, rather than seeking to establish a better consultative process. When it comes to the environment, this translates into a search for the magical technological feat that will help us maintain our current patterns of life in a sustainable way. And so on, so forth.
But is it possible for one person/pill/politician/invention to save us all?
We are not in a feudal system anymore. Everyone has to participate. The analogy of the human body is very useful in understanding this concept. It might seem that the white blood cell is the one that saves us from a bad infection; but where does this white blood cell come from? How does the white blood cell get to where it is needed, and what happens if it cannot do so? What if the white blood cell does not get the support that is needed? And, even worse, what if we have completely annihilated our ability to create white blood cells in the first place?
Everyone has an active part to play in building communities in which each member is happy and fulfilled. Excitingly enough, this is an area where we have much to learn—which means that we could each end up doing something quite heroic really easily, without having to face Voldemort or being a tribute in the Hunger Games.
Image credit: Marvel Comics.
First published on 18 February 2015 on Sahar’s Blog.