Who are your heroes? Three of mine are JFK, Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol. Heroes are important because they inspire us to realize our dreams. As a rugby mad boy in Lancashire, I found heroes in the All Blacks. Waka Nathan, the “Black Panther.” Brian Lochore. Mac Herewini. Earle Kirton.
I was drawn to my heroes for the same reasons we all are. “Our heroes are symbols for us of all the qualities we would like to possess and all the ambitions we would like to satisfy,” wrote Scott LaBarge, Associate Professor of Classics and Philosophy at Santa Clara University.
Heroes bring hope that we can better our lives, and not just our own personal world, the world that we all share through upholding common ideals.
There are our everyday heroes, ordinary people doing the extraordinary, the most important heroes.
There’s also a recent study of the heroes and villains in history, as assessed by young people (average age 23, drawn from 37 countries) across cultures. One thing of interest in the study is that there is fairly clear agreement on who world history’s heroes are, and a much bigger discrepancy on who the villains are. If disparate outlooks can agree on what is inspirational, they can agree on anything.
Here are the study’s top 10, in order: Albert Einstein, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Isaac Newton, Jesus Christ, Nelson Mandela, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Buddha.