Oscar Pistorius: A Fallen Hero. Really? | Response Ability Project

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The Power Button Introduction: An insightful and timely message from Mike Dilbeck of the Response Ability Project. As Mike and I have discussed through our work, the word "hero" is indeed one of those that we ought to strive to reclaim from the media, pop culture, and any number of stereotypes, if for no other reason that "heroism" is one of the greatest heights to which we can aspire. The word deserves to be held in the highest regard.

I found Mike's discussion of altruism vs. heroism interesting, so I returned to the article he referenced, "The banality of heroism" In the article, it says, "Heroism is different than altruism. Where altruism emphasizes selfless acts that assist others, heroism entails the potential for deeper personal sacrifice. The core of heroism revolves around the individual’s commitment to a noble purpose and the willingness to accept the consequences of fighting for that purpose." They go on to identify four components of heroism:

  • Quest, or a deep commitment to a cause;
  • Risk, or some form of actual or anticipated sacrifice or risk;
  • Active/Passive, either an active intervention or a passive resistance; and
  • One Time/Over Time, a sudden, one time act, or something that persists over a longer period of time.

These four components are embedded into everything we do through the Power Button (and in fact, the very first Building Heroes presentation in 2010 was designed exclusively on the research and writings of Zeno Franco and Phil Zimbardo). You can find more information about the core principles of Building Heroes by clicking the Heroic Arts (which are those ideas grounded in Franco and Zimbardo's heroism work) or Hero's Journey sections.