Monday 30 June 2014

Loving Truth and Peace--3

LTP Heroes--Then and Now

D-Day--Remembering the 70th anniversary, 6 June 1944

See also short video with brief accounts from American vets and film footage:

See also a 10 minute overview of D-Day:

"Over the last century, we have witnessed the subtle diminution of the word “hero.” This title was once reserved only for those who did great things at great personal risk…In prior generations, words like bravery, fortitude, gallantry, and valor stirred our souls…But we spend little time thinking about the deep meanings these words once carried, and focus less on trying to encourage ourselves to consider how we might engage in bravery in the social sphere, where most of us will have an opportunity to be heroic at one time or another. As our society dumbs down heroism, we fail to foster heroic imagination.

There are several concrete steps we can take to foster the heroic imagination. We can start by remaining mindful, carefully and critically evaluating each situation we encounter so that we don’t gloss over an emergency requiring our action. We should try to develop our “discontinuity detector”—an awareness of things that don’t fit, are out of place, or don’t make sense in a setting. This means asking questions to get the information we need to take responsible action.

Second, it is important not to fear interpersonal conflict, and to develop the personal hardiness necessary to stand firm for principles we cherish. In fact, we shouldn’t think of difficult interactions as conflicts but rather as attempts to challenge other people to support their own principles and ideology.

Third, we must remain aware of an extended time-horizon, not just the present moment. We should be engaged in the current situation, yet also be able to detach part of our analytical focus to imagine alternative future scenarios that might play out, depending on different actions or failures to act that we take in the present. In addition, we should keep part of our minds on the past, as that may help us recall values and teachings instilled in us long ago, which may inform our actions in the current situation.

Fourth, we have to resist the urge to rationalize inaction and to develop justifications that recast evil deeds as acceptable means to supposedly righteous ends.

Finally, we must try to transcend anticipating negative consequence associated with some forms of heroism, such as being socially ostracized. If our course is just, we must trust that others will eventually recognize the value of our heroic actions."

Excerpt from “The Banality of Heroism” by Zeno Franco and Philip Zimbardo, 1 September 2006

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