Uh, What Do You Mean By “Great Responsibility” ?

Art & Literature, Film, Picturing the Word — By on March 17, 2010 at 1:00 am

Welcome back! We hope you enjoyed last week’s podcast. Danielle and I are thrilled to continue our discussion of heroes and saviors in our fourth podcast.

The theme for class was “You Are Here for A Reason.”

We watched:

Batman Begins (2005)

“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” (Pilot)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

“Doctor Who” (The Christmas Invasion 2.X, The Girl in the Fireplace 2.04)

“Cataclysmo and the Time Boys” (Episodes 1 – 24 at WebSerials.com)

We also read the graphic novels Superman: Birthright and the “Summer” chapter of Superman for All Seasons. Additionally, we read The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

In today’s podcast, we focus on the dreams and desires of heroes. Does a superhero need to give up his dream to be a hero? What then stands between average people and heroism? Is it as simple as giving up dreams for a greater good or are there other variables?

Danielle and I also wonder if you are morally obligated to be a hero if you have superhuman powers. What makes a hero different? Can a hero be anything other than a hero?

Personally, I would rather be a failed hero than someone who never tried.

As always, feel free to join in the conversation by commenting or contacting Danielle and I at picturingtheword@gmail.com

Enjoy the podcast! ‘


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  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Dustin R. Steeve

    In his book “Outliers,” Malcolmn Gladwell makes the argument that the traditional American story of success – that it is a result of hard work, determination, and rare genius – is called into question. Certainly each of these plays a role in success, but Gladwell believes that means and opportunity are two factors greatly downplayed in the story of success.

    Similarly, perhaps we ought to re-consider the story of heroism. Toward the middle of the podcast, while discussing batman, John said that it was possible for someone to “be a Batman” if they had the right genes, money, and opportunity. For those people who are not predestined to heroism like Harry Potter, it could be that means and opportunity are the things that separate today’s real-life heroes from people who were merely good. That’s not to downplay the significance of heroism, rather it is to say that a failure to achieve heroism should not be devastating for those of us called to be mere muggles.

    However, Gladwell also argues that 10,000 hours of practice in a thing is what separates those who are great from those who are merely good. In the hero stories you referenced in this podcast, it seems that “practice” was necessary for greatness as well. For example, Bruce Wayne left Gotham and spent years in isolation fighting crime in remote places. More obscurely but relevent none-the-less, Frodo cultivated good virtues such that he was, mostly, not tempted by the ring in ways that men were. Clark Kent, similarly, was raised by good Kentucky folk and marinated in virtue before taking on the great responsibility resulting from his super-powers.

    I’m wondering if people today, as they aspire to heroism, underestimate the significance of first being a good person, of “practicing” the cultivation of virtue and the cultivation of discipline, before going on to greatness and assuming the responsibilities thereof. Did you talk about this at all in class? What are your thoughts there?

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Danielle H.

    Dustin,

    I think you make a great point that those who fail to achieve heroism shouldn’t be devastated by the fact that they are called to muggledom but rather to remember that sometimes being a hero is just the luck of the draw–we discuss this more in next week’s podcast as well!

    Preparedness is essential for any hero wannabe. It is vital that those who aspire to heroism aren’t just sitting back and waiting for opportunity to knock, but are also cultivating the virtues and skills that are necessary to be a hero. It seems that people often delude themselves into thinking that, “If the time comes, I’ll be able to do what is right” but continue to live lives which lack the training of mind, heart, and body. Those who want to be heroes of the faith, for instance, should be studying the Word, attending church, and engaging both textually and in conversation issues of theological and cultural significance. That way, if/when the time comes for their moment of heroism, they are prepared. Bruce Wayne prepared himself to be Batman. Harry prepared himself to face dementors and the Triwizard tasks. Luke prepared himself to be a Jedi. Clark Kent, Peter Parker, and Frodo all cultivated virtue. Without this preparation of soul, none of these men could have gone on to become heroes.

    It seems like Gladwell is right in pointing out that in order to succeed (in an extraordinary fashion), people really do need to practice the things which are required by their intended craft and without this discipline, they will likely fail when their opportunity move beyond muggle-status arrives.