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Heroes and Victims

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Heroes and Victims-


As a self proclaimed Villain, I'm not a fan of heroics. Self sacrifice, whether it takes the form of death or discomfort, for a "greater cause" than one's own self serving priorities is not something that I find very admirable or smart. Granted, it can be useful when other people do it, but as a general principle, it's not something that I'd personally recommend.

By the same token, I don't like people who regularly take the stance of a victim either. It has been noted that playing the victim has become a pervasive pastime in our culture. It indicates a complete lack of personal power and responsibility and it is repulsive. But what I find even worse is when these two mentalities, heroics and victimization, are combined. Perhaps not surprisingly, this happens quite a lot.

If a person is willing to risk or sacrifice something of themselves for a cause or issue that they believe in, that is their choice. But it must be emphasized that it is their own decision to stand up and fight for something that they believe in and anything bad to that happens to them during their struggle is a result of that decision. In a way, this is a part of what being a hero means, enduring hardship and overcoming challenging obstacles in order to achieve righteous goals. Of course most people who pursue these types of endeavors don't actually call themselves "heroes", but that's not important. Their goals are the same as a hero; to push to change things in a positive way or to defend something that they feel is valuable, for the greater good. Even if they don't admit this themselves, they're still doing something that many people would consider "heroic" and they probably take a certain amount of pride in that.

However, a person that chooses to play the hero should not simultaneously be allowed to receive the benefits of being seen as a victim. It needs to be one or the other. A victim is someone who is to be pitied because they didn't have a choice in the matter. Their suffering comes as a result of chance or weakness. But someone who chooses to stand up and "do the right thing" is choosing to suffer and sacrifice for whatever cause they're fighting for. That's what it means to fight or stand for something greater than yourself. You're risking your own well being for a bunch of other people or a greater ideal.

When someone does choose to play the hero, we should not get outraged because they had to suffer for it. We should not rail against the obstacles that stand in their way, or suggest that the opposition that they were against should've made it easier for them. Trying to make a difference or make the world a better place comes with a price and that cost should be expected when pursuing something like that. It's nothing to lament or honor; it's just reality. An attitude of victimization just cheapens the value of being a hero and suggests that they weren't responsible for their own decisions. That adversity is the only thing that gives the word "hero" any value at all and stands to separate the real heroes from the wannabes.

Of course there is a whole other category of people who are even less sincere and who try to look like they're playing the hero in order to put themselves into a victim position later. These people are called attention hogs, masochists and martyrs; but that's an entirely different topic.

We must remember that many of the things that most people might consider "brave", "honorable" or "righteous" can also be seen as being incredibly stupid. And when someone deliberately does something that results in their detriment, it's still their own fault regardless of how "noble" the reasons were. Doing "what's right" is never an excuse for doing something stupid.

- False Prophet

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