The Trap of the Hero

You are a hero, and that’s your problem.

That probably needs a bit more exposition, so this article will have to be longer than 8 words.

You’re not the Man of Steel. You aren’t more powerful than a locomotive, or faster than a speeding bullet. You don’t have super hearing, or super strength, and you’ve never leaped over a tall building in a single bound. You also can’t fly, except in a straight line towards the ground – once.

Nonetheless, you’re a hero and that’s why you’re screwed.

Your heroism isn’t the capital letter insignia of a cape wearing man in red and blue tights, your heroics are written lowercase. You might sit in a car in grid locked traffic for hours each day just to get to the job you work to pay for her house, groceries and lifestyle. And don’t let your name on the mortgage confuse you, that’s her house. This is part of what makes you a hero. And that commute of yours is heroic too, in case you wondered.

Despite your modest heroism, you have all the super qualities of that capital S emblazoned comic book myth. You weather abuse and indifference to your own pain with almost the noble silence of a Kryptonian. You routinely put your own needs after the needs of those you serve. And if you imagine that deal is reciprocal, you are in error. But your service and self sacrifice does have one benefit, you get the provisional public identity as a “real man”. So long as you don’t rock the boat. Superman doesn’t complain about the burdens of being a super man.

Of course, Superman is an imaginary character from a comic book. By contrast, you are a real person. The fact that you are an actual man living in the real world is of course why your day to day heroic qualities are small. A real man can’t compete with an imaginary fellow who flies and deflects bullets.

Superman doesn’t exist. He only exists as an imaginary heroic figure to put your small-H heroism into his shadow. And your sacrifices of comfort, of your health, of your own needs behind the needs of those you serve, comprise your real world modeling of the hero archetype.

Why are so many men driven from their own homes to a basement or a garage? If modern transportation still used horses you’d be sleeping in the stable, rather than the main house. It is not that you are banished, rather you have banished yourself in a bizarre gesture of self sacrifice. How stoic of you, it’s only too bad a cape is not in modern fashion. After your important bills are paid, what fraction of your disposable income do you spend on yourself, and what fraction on those you serve?

The sacrifices made daily by men on behalf of others, viewed only as “positive masculinity,” are small scale heroism. Compared to the idealized hero, your heroic character is small and unimpressive.

Next to Superman, or Hercules, or some other legendary figure, you will always be inadequate. You are not Friedrich Nietzsche’s Ubermench or a member of the DC comics Justice League.

He is the pure, idealized image of what you cannot be. You are not an indestructible strong man from outer space. He doesn’t need his basic humanity, his pain, or his fatigue recognized. He doesn’t feel fatigue, he doesn’t have human needs, and he will never fail in being a hero – because he is imaginary. You are not imaginary.

But you’ve been conned. You bought into the hero identity. You work hard to maintain your conferred identity as a good man which is small scale writing of the word hero. That’s what keeps you in your service role. It’s what keeps you working for somebody else’s dreams rather than your own. It’s what makes you believe somebody else’s goals are your own.

Superman lives a life of never ending errands. But they’re not for him, he runs from urgent task to urgent task for others. Imagine your own job and the tasks your boss puts on your desk. Now imagine each one comes with priority: urgent. All tasks are top priority urgent. You cant prioritize tasks because your just an employee taking orders.

To be superman is to be a slave.

So why do you still esteem the conferred identity of “good man” or “real man”? Are you so foolish and weak minded that you see no other possibility for yourself?

It’s obviously not quite so simple. Departure from the assigned role of hero comes at a great cost in pain.

When Dr. Warren Farrell spoke in Toronto in 2012 about problems facing boys in the education system, conformists and authoritarians chanted “Shame!” Dare you consider men or boys as anything except service automatons who have un-addressed needs? Shame! Shame!

When a crowd of sixty shouts that at you it is withering, even if you are following your conscience. No coherent reason is offered other than that you have deviated from your assigned service role.

The word shame is the revocation of your good-man dues-paid card. And it works to put you back into your harness because, in your life, you have unconsciously modeled the hero archetype.

But what are you going to do with this knowledge? The concept, possibly new to your consideration that you have modeled the hero archetype for your entire life? Heroism is a mental trap, making your human worth dependent on conformity to a destructive ethos of self abasement.

It is not enough to recognize our own modeling of the hero archetype and the blockage it creates for self determination. Human beings are social animals and we live in a world of created meaning. We don’t live in a world of concrete survival challenges on which to focus, we live in the context of a human created social reality. So how does a man exist without a model for himself in that world of symbolic meaning?

He doesn’t. Having value within a world of meaning, which is to say, having social value is a basic human need. The most obvious answer for men is to reject the hero archetype and to select an alternative. One possibility is to replace the super hero with the super villain. The super villain is not affected by a consensus of public opinion on his status as a good man. He is not controlled by disapproval. Whatever model we choose, it should be based on the recognition of heroism as a scam and a tool of control to be dumped by anyone who seeks self determination.

3 thoughts on “The Trap of the Hero”

  1. John you’ve hit on the results of our upbringing (i.e. being a hero).

    Just recently (in the last year or so) I left another site that was a red-pill sight. Or, so I thought.

    Two of the main writers started pushing “purple-pill” wisdom. I pushed back. And, they countered. And, it centered on our training of son’s to fill the slave / hero roll with glee.

    It start’s with us educating the future young men and boys to embrace the red-pill / anti-hero roll with glee.

    I know I was raised to be a mule for the plow and during my youth an older retired gentlemen / mentor introduced me to red-pill knowledge. It worked. He was married and had grand-kids but what he told me was radically different than what everyone else was pushing. He told me to never get married .. and why. I took his advice under advisement since it was so radically different than my previous training. I watched and looked (i.e. observed) things differently due to his mentoring. I saw things for what they were. That was thirty plus years ago now.

    Today, it would be much easier to mentor our youngster’s. Ladies hold onto your “little blue bonnets”. No matter how hard the social tug to return to the “blue-pill” traditions you long for .. more and more men are walking off the plantation and not worrying about your shaming of us when we walk off. The shaming language only solidifies our resolve.

    Going Ghost since 2008
    MGHOW since 1984
    Time as a Slave … 6 years in the US Navy
    Time on the plantation (e.g. married and pulling the wagon) … ZERO
    Door’s held open since 2008 … ZERO

    You’re welcome ladies.

  2. “He told me to never get married .. and why. ”

    @honeycomb: What exactly did he tell you? I’m intrigued by by why so many married men refuse to tell younger, single men the truth and the problems with being married. I believe the social programming to get married is so intense that men know of no other way to go on in life, a kind of Stockholm Syndrome.

    Many young married men, especially religious men, boast with pride that they have to support a stay-at-home wife and children. It’s like their whole reason for being and existence. Christian women use shame and guilt to trap men in marriage.

  3. @ Yapoopoo ..

    What exactly did he tell you?

    Well, it wasn’t in just one talk. I was an airport rat. My dad and his both were pilot’s. I grew up to do the same. I lived at the airport doing all types of jobs.

    The older gentlemen owned an airplane at the airport and took an interest in passing along his engineering skills and his views on marriage and women.

    He wrote a man’u’script on “The Domesticification of Men”.

    His reasoning would make a good full length book in addition to his never published book. He said it wasn’t finished. I disagreed and gave it my stamp of approval by the time I had finished College. Which was a great place to observe women in the 80’s.

    I next went to the Navy and watched lots of Divorce(s)™ happen to smart men. Men who thought they’d found the one™ found out how wrong they really were. They didn’t learn their lesson thinking they just hadn’t really found the one. Wrong again I would tell them. There is no such thing as “the one”™. I witnessed the same in the Professional Flying jobs and Nuclear Power jobs I’ve had over the years.

    Anyway, in my dad’s day if you were not married you would have trouble finding work or being offered work. Married men made better worker’s and most owner’s expected it. It supposedly signified maturity / stability. The spin-down from this past precedent is in its final stages.

    Those day’s are gone (re: needing to be married to be employable).

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