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Luis Dantas


The Hero Myth and the Sin of Hubris;
or, On Why We Must Seek Balance


I have come in recent months to feel that much of humanity's drama comes from the conflict between the need for free expression of the individual's desires and the opposing need for security by way of belonging to a greater, stronger, safer group.

More recently I have also wondered whether moral responsibility isn't ultimately given by others, instead of being an inherent or inate property of the individual.

I have come to feel the reality of this world is such that there is no such thing as truly "having" moral rights; instead, we exist in such a way that allows us to give and enjoy moral gifts that can be given from one person to another, but not to oneself (at the least, not preferably, easily and safely).  Moral space is created by others so that we may enjoy it, and exist in it.

We do, of course, have moral duties.  Two main categories of such exist.  There are those related to the need (and a need it is) of properly showing acceptance for the moral gifts that are granted to us by those that love us and attaining joy from those gifts.  And then there are those that relate to the complementary and even more urgent need of express our gratitude and attempt to deserve those gifts by contributing to the flow of good will, by heartfully and freely give others moral gifts of our own.

To give a moral gift, one must find it in oneself to be caring enough to sincerely want to dedicate a bit of his or her time and attention while also feeling unhindered by that effort.  It takes love. Or perhaps rather, it takes the expression and nurture of the love one previously received.

It is definitely the case that such an effort is bound to eventually return to us - the more indirectly the better - but that can't be our conscious, main motivation.  Love must be freely given.

It has been said that the tragic flaw of our time is that it lacks heroes.  But maybe that is not quite the case.  Maybe, instead, what we truly resent is far less the lack of larger-than-life heroes (which, by the classic Greek definition, implies their eventual fall into disgrace and tragedy) than the lack of a silent, discreet, unsung and unnoticed multitude of "small heroes", people who simply choose to be respectful, loving, caring and constructive without even noticing it, on a continuous and consistent basis.  People who enable, love and encourage each other all the time, and end up emotionally solid enough to dare to care for others outside their immediate circle and keep expanding it.

Such, I have come to feel, is the way by which true communities are born.  And that is, as far as I can tell, the only functional way of making it so that communities can go beyond mere survival and actually live and thrive.  Most of all, it is how they can be worthwhile, because trusting and meaning well will come to them spontaneously, constantly, consistently and without effort.



Escrito por Luis Dantas às 17h00
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