February 14, 2014

Who Are The Real Tough Ones? Does It Really Matter? My View On Heroism, Truth, Etc.

Heroism & Sacrifice 4
Heroism & Sacrifice 4 (Photo credit: Universal Pops)
If a person were always healthy but suddenly got sick for 2 days, and kept whining for 2 full days, it's likely that not only his/her whining would be well accepted by friends or loved ones, but he/she would also receive tons of compassion from others. However, if a person who were chronic sick, only whined 30 days out of 300 days, not only he/she would not receive much compassion, but also would be taken as "weak", "annoying", whining only for attention, etc.

We often put the words such as "heroism" to those who are strong, those who can endure "unendurable", on the other hand, we put the label like "chicken" to those physically fragile individuals who could not resist a gust of wind. Why? because we adore "toughness" and despise the "weakness". But by my understanding, one cannot really endure unendurable. We were born with different genetic conditions and we all do our best to survive, to strive to success (of course the definitions of "success" can be different depends on persons). A person who climb a huge mountain because his physical condition allows him to do so, and a sick person who cannot climb a few flights of stairs because his/her condition doesn't permit him to accomplish such "achievement". But still, people applaud for those who climb mountain high even though they did it without much difficulty, pay no attention to those who finished the final step of stairway with tremendous perseverance. They call the former "heroes", "tough ones", call the latter "loser", "mentally weak". But by my view, I sincerely believe that very often the "weak ones" are tougher than the "strong ones".

However, I did not mean to say that those chronic sick or weak ones are always mentally tougher than those who climb up mountains. I only mean, that the toughness, the courage, are all relative terms, need to be measured according to ones given conditions. Like I once put: "It takes much more courage to a person who has vertigo standing on the second floor balcony than to a healthy person climbing a thousand foot high cliff."

But, is this distinction really important? I think not. Because through history, it is those "heroes" or "tough ones" who lead humans survived from rough conditions. They were survivors and victors. Wick or sick ones died through time. We venerate those who had "superior" physical or mental power, designate honorable words for them, such as "tough", "mentally strong", not necessarily because they were so, but because they made great contribution to human race. Those who really suffered great deal, no matter how hard they fought, died without merits. Their genes also vanished away.

Yes, this world belong to "strongs", who inherited "superior" genes, who can conquer difficult situations with "ease". And the weaker ones, who inherited "inferior" kind of genes, endured so much more with incredible toughness, but if they could not make their way out, they can only be forgotten. 

The point I've been trying to make is, truth is not always important to human beings. Our whole belief system is not built on truth, but "good", which (I think) means what's best for our lives. So we call those "heroes" "tough", not necessarily because they were truly tough, but because they are "tough" in our eyes, and they embody the ideal attributes of our race.

So again, what is true is not always good, what's good is not always true. Truth, in most cases is useless, only important to some playful minds.

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  1. Yun, this is a very thought-provoking post! You make valid points about society’s definition of heroism. Yes, toughness and courage are relative terms, and depend on the individual and the circumstance. I like your comment about how it takes more courage for a person with vertigo to stand on a second floor balcony than for a healthy person to climb a thousand foot high cliff. That’s so true and shows how everything is relative.

    While it does often seem that this world belongs to the strong, as you say, I don’t think that those who society might designate as weak are necessarily weak at all. In fact, many times, and depending on the circumstance, they are really the strong ones, even stronger because they had to survive under less favorable conditions. Interesting point about how our belief system is not built on truth but on what is perceived as “good,” and heroes are such because they embody the ideal attributes of a society. “What is true is not always good, what’s good is not always true." Well said, I agree!
    Well said, and I agree.

    1. Thanks Madilyn!
      "they are really the strong ones, even stronger because they had to survive under less favorable conditions. "
      --- Exactly! You put it in a even better way!

  2. I see toughness as a combination of resilience and adaptibility, courage, and making the most of what you've got to work with. Strength is a relative term, especially with regard to illness. Heroes are some of the biggest wimps around ;-)

  3. "Heroes are some of the biggest wimps around"
    --- So true! Thanks Kris!