Sunday, May 07, 2006

Heroes?

Not all Americans think the passengers on United 93 were heroes. My friend Charlie writes in an email to me:

I don't agree with the Flight 93 people being "heroes." I am not sure what a hero is, but even if you believe as I do that we are all equally selfish, at least heroism should be something extraordinary, going far out of your way to help somebody with no obvious benefit to yourself (the benefit being mostly an obscure psychological one). I'm thinking of a person jumping into a fast river to save a kid they don't even know, or something like that.

Attacking the terrorists who are trying to kill you seems like pretty basic self-preservation to me, but maybe that is not patriotic of me to say that? Also, the same people seem to reject any notion of the hijackers being labeled "brave." But they killed themselves in support of their ideas. We just don't like their ideas. If they were American troops, we would call them brave. What do you think about that?

I still want to see Flight 93, though
.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed. I saved a girl's life once when she'd fallen through the ice at a local pond. Didn't give a thought to anything other than getting her out of the water and when she was safe, her father came up, thanked me and we went our seperate ways. If this made me a hero, that's fine. If not, then that's fine too. When I told my wife about it later that day she said that I was indeed a hero despite the fact that the girl I saved never thanked me. I'm okay with that too. I guess a hero just does what needs to be done without regard to self preservation. The Flight 93 people can only be considered heros if they intended to stop the plane from hitting it's target in an effort to save the would-be victims of that target and not themselves. Me? I'd have rushed those terrorist fucks for no other reason than my refusing to be a victim. When someone attempts to exert their will and/or beliefs on me unsolicited, I say Fuck 'em! They're gonna die right along with me.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Charlie said...

Anonymous,

It makes the world a better place to have people like you who help other people even when it does not appear to be in your own interest.

But I guess what I would say is that at some level you saved that girl because you could not have lived with yourself if you didn't. The guilt would have been too great. Saving her was, in a sense, self-preservation of your own emotional well being.

I am comfortable saying you're a hero for purposes of everyday conversation. I only bring this up to ask the more general question: is anything we do truly selfless? In other words, if we knew that doing xyz would actually make us less happy, would we do it?

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But I guess what I would say is that at some level you saved that girl because you could not have lived with yourself if you didn't. The guilt would have been too great. Saving her was, in a sense, self-preservation of your own emotional well being."

Charlie, I'm sure you believe that most people would feel guilty if they didn't save the girl. If that's the case, why would most people NOT save the girl? If self-interest is so powerful, "heroic" acts shouldn't be as rare as they in fact are.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, i was looking over your blog and didn't
quite find what I was looking for. I'm looking for
different ways to earn money... I did find this though...
a place where you can make some nice extra cash secret shopping. Just go to the site below
and put in your zip to see what's available in your area.
I made over $900 last month having fun!
make extra money

1:22 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home