Where have the heroes gone?
That's about something as certain as death, taxes, and some would say the Cubs winning the Pennant. Our world sucks, and it sucks a lot. If you look at the world with wide, seeing eyes, you'll see the corruption, filth, injustice, and general wrongness of just about everything out there. There is a story of corruption with your bottled water, there are testimonies against the fluoride in your toothpaste, your food will make you fat and obese, nothing is healthy anymore, the air you breathe is going to give you cancer, the clothes you wear were made in sweatshops by overworked and underpaid below-poverty-level workers, addictions are thought of as normal things to have in life, lies are told and spread as truth and the public never questions it, people who claim themselves to be leaders and bastions of good harbor deep-seated corruption, guns are sold legitimately and illicitly to people who will do and know nothing but mindless hate and violence, those guns are put into the hands of children and they are expected to fight a man's war not for an ideal but because they are told, people starve and die from their hunger every four seconds, a very large percentage of the world's population does not have clean water to drink, and even though there are more than enough resources to go around to the entire world, there are greedy and corrupt men who deny the population, signing papers and making deals out of the public's eye, who live lavishly and benefit off their millions upon millions upon millions of dollars they get from their deals, and the world does not know, and it continues to live in the festering stew of its own filth that humanity continues to perpetuate.
They say that in order for evil men to win, good men just need to do nothing. However, many evil men have not gone into the business of evil without having some kind of strategy, where the good men of the world are distracted by everything else, while those of evil go about their ways, unstopped and unpunished. Evil exists in the world and it's very real. I wish I could put a face on it, but it's so abundant, stealthy, and common, it can be genuinely hard to place. Yoda said the dark side isn't more powerful, just seductive, but I admit it's hard to believe that sometimes. Most of you reading this live in countries that have the wonderful gift of freedom and liberty, but with that freedom, we've become self-focused on ourselves, selfish, and we don't see the world around us. It's likely that within 1,500 miles of you, there are people living in paltry, third-world conditions and instead of getting frustrated by some internet site being slow, they are living from day to day to survive. Even among us, people live in absolutely abysmal conditions, but I don't have to go into that. I also don't have to go tell you about the hatred that exists in our society, usually deriving from ignorance or something petty. Human beings are thought of as less than human beings by other human beings, and they believe they don't deserve the same rights of respect that we feel we, ourselves, deserve, believing, "Oh, it's okay, because they're somebody else, not me, and I'm right." We're annoyed by people and focus irreconcilable anger and hatred towards them, when we don't know whose toes we might step on ourselves and receive the same treatment. Of course, you're in the right, because you are the good guy, right?
Nobody ever does wrong, at least in their eyes. When the day is done and the sun is setting, we never consider ourselves to be bad people. Everyone makes mistakes and people make bad decisions. There is not a single person reading this entry who considers themselves to have never committed any wrongdoing. However, people still classify others into the sides of Right and Wrong, the Good Guys and the Bad, like things are ever that simple. Every side in a war is fighting on behalf of "Right." No one willingly fights for what they consider wrong. Even as you read this entry now, there are people in the world who don't even know you or what you have done in your life, but still consider you Wrong and Bad, because of your heritage and the nation in which you were born.
I'm sure you've noticed, but I've been very disillusioned with our world lately. Our world has never been a kind place to live, but lately, with our country's political situation and each side crying that the other side is evil and each side genuinely believing themselves to be right, it's hard not to wonder how a circus of fools ever came to come to positions of power and rule over a billion people. Life isn't simple like it is in the movies or video games, where one person or a group of people come together, and armed with little more than a couple weapons, charge forward to slay a force of genuine evil, usually in the form of one person or group of people. Maybe a monster. After ninety-ish minutes of viewing or several levels of gameplay, the situation is resolved, ding-dong the witch is dead, and the world is made a better place in some small way. Instead of a sword with the power of darkness or an army of the dead, modern-day evil wields the power of Paper, which protects against any bullet, sword, or group of adventurers. Even more unfortunate, we live in a world of grays, very little is ever black or white, and we rarely ever have villains like Hitler or Dracula. Occasionally, we'll get somebody who wants to play an old-fashioned hero and busts into somewhere with his AK-47, but what he fails to realize is that he is only making things in the world even worse.
I had lunch with Nick yesterday and I shared my disappointment in...everything. I asked him where all the heroes nowadays are. It's like there aren't any left anymore -- Abraham Lincoln is gone, MLK Jr. is dead, and people who could be heroes, like Solid Snake, aren't even real. To my surprise, Nick answered, "You're it. You're the only one." In a way, I think he's right. No, I'm not saying I'm somebody great or special or that I'm some good guy or role model. I'm talking about that statement applying to everyone. Our world sucks, but what about the space around you right now? You might not be able to physically take that gun away from a "freedom fighter" in the Congo right now, but that mouse on your mousepad, can you pick it up? What about your chair, can you change its elevation? How about the family living with you right now, can you go over there and tell them you love them? Our world is a horrible place and there are members of humanity (in species only) that will sink to new lows, but each of us has some sort of sphere of influence. It is up to you reading this to act in that sphere and affect what you will. Public figures may fall and disappoint, but you're still the one responsible for your own actions, and you still have the ability to go out there and be something of a hero yourself. This world is made up of spheres, and if every sphere worked to make the world some place worth living in and would stop the hatred, greed, and lies, we could have a world that would be beyond great. It's a far-fetched dream, I know, but I would like it if it came true. There are some (you might be one of them) who might think me simple, silly, and naive for asking people to stop fighting, get along, and try to make the world around them better, but it really is what I want.
There are still heroes in the world. Sure, corruption has seeped into their ranks, but they still exist. There are charities, there are genuinely good causes, there are people going out into the world beyond their area of comfort to help. Some argue that some of the people they are trying to help don't deserve it. Some argue the causes these people fight for aren't worth it. But despite all that, they're trying, which is more than I can say for most of the world's population. So if you want to be a hero, get up and do something already. You have everything in your life to affect and make better.