what does this mean?

There’s this idea going around the past week or so of “living heroically.” As someone with extensive training in the Classics, I have to chuckle because I’m not sure folks realize what that technically means, but ok. I’ll go with it. But in our culture, as polytheists, exactly what does it mean for us to aspire to ‘live heroically?’ 

I mean, i’m guessing we’re not all going to be playing Achilles and going off to join Kurdish rebels fighting Daesh, right? Or sacrificing ourselves in a bold military loss that proved the best morale booster for the homefront in history (Go, Leonidas!). And few of us go on majestic quests, conquer mythical beasts and ascend to the heights of Gods. (Herakles). So what does it mean for us to ‘live heroically.’ 

I love the sound of it i really do and I don’t, despite my jesting here, think it a foolish  notion but it’s something I’d like to discuss. It sounds good to see it in print, but what exactly does it mean (with the caveat it’s likely one of those things that mean different things to different people based on what their Gods want of them). 

So what are your thoughts, folks? What does ‘living heroically’ mean to you? 

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Posted on August 11, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. For me, living heroically means striving ahead no matter the obstacles in your way. These obstacles might be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or material. It’s when any or all of these manifest in such a way that they tell you to “Stop” and you say “No”. This work can be done for the betterment of yourself or your community. It can range from throwing yourself onto a hand grenade to save the guys in your squad to just having the will to get out of bed in the morning despite feeling like nothing but pain or despair awaits.
    This description may be a bit simplistic, but I’m a simple guy.

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  2. Edward P. Butler

    If we’re going to be technical about it, and not merely going along with popular usage, I would say that “living heroically” is best glossed as living an *uncanny* (unheimlich) life.

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  3. Embodying and living the virtues found in heroic cultures, such as honor, hospitality, courage, fulfilling duty, etc.

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  4. Something like Nietzsche’s “tragic pessimism”? (Or “pessimists of strength”) I read that as you keep on keeping on, despite the corrosive nature of time and the burdens of history. (Do I have that right?)

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  5. Because of my brain injury, people often tell me that I am living heroically. I don’t see it that way. What I do see is making a choice to be well (well as well as I can be (don’t ask me to repeat that)). When I was in treatment for my mental illness, I met a lot of people who remained ill. In conversations, it came out that it was easier for them to be ill than to be well. They remained in a known place, rather than to venture into an unknown place. To be well was frightening since it meant you were responsible for yourself. You couldn’t blame your disease, you couldn’t blame others, you lived as an adult, caring for yourself.

    So I get living heroically means making the choice to be an adult, with all of the responsibilities and independence it brings.

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  6. Heroes become focal points that we use to inspire us to more and better actions. They encourage ambition. If you are willing to be such a focal point (with all of the responsibility that that entails) then you could probably say that you are living heroically.

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  7. What does living heroically mean to me? Never bending when people would have me belittle or deny the Gods, never backing down when I see our traditions being attacked, and taking at least one step forward in our restoration every day.

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  8. honorthegodsblog

    I think “living heroically” means doing your duty, no matter what, at any given moment. Going to war and killing a few of the enemy isn’t necessarily heroic. Some consider it a day’s work, some consider it fun, some consider it administering justice. Was Odysseus as heroic as Penelope, who cleverly fended off the suitors to preserve her freedom, her son’s safety, and her kingdom for all those long years? Or Welles Crowther, the equities trader at the World Trade center on 9/11 who helped the wounded, extinguished fires, and escorted survivors to the ground floor, over and over again – and who died when the South Tower collapsed? Doing your duty isn’t glamorous – but it can win kleos as enduring as that of any warrior.

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  9. ganglerisgrove

    I”ve been enjoying this conversation, folks. Thanks for sharing!

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