Been thinking about heroes lately. I guess we all need heroes, eh?
We all need people we can look up to...right?
Actually, we’re pretty much wired to “look up” from the moment we’re born. Our parents are our first heroes. They’re our very gods & goddesses ... from Day 1! (I guess that’s why the mistakes they make & our resulting neuroses/psychoses are so stubborn & lifelong, usually. To transcend or transmute them takes work...a heck of a lot of effort & energy & determination & guts & work. No wonder not all of us are up to it!)
What I really want to muse on here is men & their (apparent) need to be heroic.
I do believe men want to be seen as (at least somewhat) heroic to their womenfolk. And that this is utterly natural.
We human beings evolved for a very different world than this one, hmmm? In the old, old, really old days (from today’s vantage point, although not so very long ago, in geological terms), men were the brave hunters, in our tribal gathering/hunting days. (Maybe women have always been considered somewhat ... heroic or special? ... for our life-giving & nurturing qualities?? Perhaps. Except, of course, when we haven’t been. But I digress.)
Okay. So, I think our men want/need to be heroes.
It doesn’t always work out so well...does it?
I muse on my own relationships with men – & the kind of relationship I still aspire to. The men I’ve loved have been heroic to me – in one major, pivotal way or another. I’ve witnessed the disaster that can result when someone goes crashing off his (or presumably her) pedestal. I’ve also seen how even continued & sincere love, admiration & respect can only take you so far. When they run smack dab into a man’s deep & persistent self-loathing (or a woman’s, as the case may be), it might as well be a lead barrier. Some things even love can’t penetrate...apparently.
No one ever said life was simple, did they??
(& btw, I believe men do have a need to be perceived as heroes, & if we women who love our men treat them with cavalier disregard, or even contempt – as I see some women doing – we can hardly be surprised if their spirits more or less shrivel up. Patriarchy has damaged women for thousands of years. Fact. Turning it around & behaving as though two wrongs are suddenly, miraculously going to make a right, is not going to paint any prettier a picture…hmmm?)
Well. So. Men need to be heroes.
What do women need?
To be beautiful? Rich? Brilliant? Accomplished? Admired?
Well, maybe. Maybe those are some of the things some women need (or think they need).
Mostly, I think what women REALLY want & need, is...
To talk (& be heard).
Talk & talk & talk & talk & then, talk some more.
Since a lot of men seem to be wired to ACT – & even somewhat frequently, perhaps, to act without thoughtfully considering the consequences of their actions (what I refer to as the Ready- FIRE!!-Aim syndrome) you’d think that the marriage of women & men (or female & male qualities) would be one made in heaven, wouldn’t you?
An idea dawns.
People start talking about it.
Discussing it. Weighing the pros & cons.
Conversation… & lots of it.
Then, when lots of good thinking & discussion have taken place... Action!
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we humans had always properly valued the unique strengths & contributions of both sexes??
And given simple conversation its rightful due?
p.s. on Oct. 26th, so, 4 months later... I keep musing on things, & the other day I came up with this little addition. Dunno if it's true or not...you decide! Men want to be heroes. Women want to serve. Hmmm. Maybe what we want is not so very very different...
p.p.s. For an utterly hilarious poke at the way women & men think & talk to one another (& utterly, utterly, utterly fail to communicate), DO read the brilliant Dave Barry essay here
p.p.p.s. Odd coincidence, if you want to call it that. I wrote down these thoughts about heroism early in the day, & then later in the day watched the documentary film ‘The Battle of Chernobyl.’ Although I’d heard of the Chernobyl “liquidators,” I’d had no idea how many of them there were, or where they came from, or the scope of the work they did, post-Chernobyl accident 25 years ago (April 26, 1986). Now, speaking of heroism... those men were heroes. (You can watch the film on-line here. And I highly recommend that you do, in this post-Fukushima world we now inhabit. I won’t lie & tell you it’s an easy film to watch. It isn’t. But I’d consider watching it anyway. If it does nothing else for us, & does not motivate us into taking any kind of action, at the very least it will surely make those of us who live where there has not been a nuclear accident (yet) feel actively grateful for that fact. And the more gratitude we feel, the better – in my books, anyway!)
‘Quote of the Day’ with this post: “What we need now is heroes – millions of them. Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.” – Paul Watson
Runners-up: “Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other, so that the world may come into being. Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves.” – P. Teilhard de Chardin (1881 – 1955)
“It is not genius, nor glory, nor love that reflects the greatness of the human soul; it is kindness.” – Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
“A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back – but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you.” ~ Marian Wright Edelman