Hope is a wonderful thing – every morning, I tell myself today is the day, today will be my chance to shine.
A life time of media portraying the good and evil of our world (Be it the true stories or the fiction with real world parallels) imprints a strong message on the mind. I frequently find myself daydreaming, wondering what it would be like to be one of the heroes, whether Pug from Raymond E Feist’s Riftwar Saga, who rises from a 13 year old indentured servant to be the most powerful magician in the universe, or Halo’s Master Chief, a cybernetically-enhanced supersoldier for whom the word impossible has never been explained. Certainly there is a multitude of good examples and role models out there for us, with plenty of qualities to emulate, yet it seems there is no demand for an “Office Hero”. The world is not going to end just because those reports were not finished.
The life of a hero is not an easy one though, frequently surrounded by death and destruction, with pain and misery visited on them. Take Alastor “Mad Eye” Moody from the Harry Potter series. He lost an eye, a leg, part of his nose and finally his life, during his fight against the Dark Arts.
Yet each day he still found the energy to get out of bed, and summon the courage to fight the good fight with his stoic fortitude. I find myself waiting for a “dare to be great” situation. A chance to prove I am more than just a number in the machine, to be in the right place at the right time for once. Yet there are no monsters to vanquish, no demons to banish (apart from the personal ones. :P) and no evil plans to thwart. So what do you do? How do you prove yourself in a world lacking the fantastical?
Here are few things I believe would garner Hero status in today’s world:
- The Fusion Problem – Research has been underway since the 50’s to find a way to create a controllable and sustainable fusion chain reaction, which would provide the world with an almost inexhaustible source of clean energy. The starting materials (Usually deuterium and tritium) are obtainable from sea water and the direct product would just be Helium gas. Whilst this may not be an appealing development for any of the fossil fuel companies, a clean and abundant source of energy for the planet would be worthy of recognition, especially given the anticipated depletion of fossil fuels during this century.
- Cure for Cancer – A topic close to everyone’s hearts and last I heard on the radio it is said that 1 in 3 people will be effected by it at some point during their lives. One person who should be mentioned with this is seventeen-year-old Brittany Wenger of Sarasota, who wrote an artificially intelligent program that is able to diagnose breast cancer patients with 99% accuracy, see here for the article.
- Global Unified Economy – Even today the divides across the world are still vast – with so many differences in culture and creed it seems that a globally unified economy is a pipe dream. Yet what a world it would be. You only have to read or watch one of the multitude of fictional works about the future of the Earth (Star Trek to name but one of them.) to see the benefits that could be garnered from the world working in union rather than divided. I would buy a beer for anyone who managed to unite today’s divergent societies.
Mike Alsford makes a good point about heroes in his book Heroes and Villians:
“To be heroic does not have to mean possessing the ability to stand against the evils of the world, either well or successfully, but just that one is willing to stand.”
If we aren’t willing to help each other, then no-one benefits. If we are determined to help each other, then everyone benefits.
Now I must admit that the goals I listed above are out of my league but I hope one day that I will have contributed enough to the world to be worthy of the title “Hero”.