Out of the mist of time and imagination have stepped great heroes, whose stories have graced the silver screen to become an integral part of our cultural consciousness: Moses, King Arthur, Joan of Arc, Abraham Lincoln, Indiana Jones, Nelson Mandela, Rocky Balboa, Erin Brokovich, Batman, and Luke Skywalker, just to name a few.
The main function of heroes is to exemplify a society’s ideals, morals and values. Their virtues transcend time and place to become universal values worthy of emulation, such as, honor, duty, courage, loyalty, compassion, and self-sacrifice.
Throughout history, each generation has produced great heroes, who have left their mark on the world. One notable constant among these fictional or historic characters is that they were born out of conflict. By boldly rising to the challenges before them, they have taken their places among our constellation of heroes. It is why we are drawn to their stories. They represent the best of what it means to be human.
The 20th century has given birth to numerous American heroes, who have fought valiantly to make the United States first among nations. Not so long ago, America was a symbol of the Promised Land, where anyone could achieve his or her wildest dreams. Then something went terribly wrong… The nation became bankrupt – financially and morally. It was like a spell had been cast across the land. The old heroes no longer spoke to us and any new ones failed to make an appearance.
The 21st century is the time when our science fiction writers envisioned us living in a futuristic society. Instead, we are facing many complex challenges that threaten our well-being and progress: climate change, government surveillance, erosion of women’s and workers’ rights, terrorist attacks, cyber-warfare, GMOs in our food, rising student debt, a growing prison industrial complex, partisan gridlock in Congress, and the widening gap between rich and poor.
This begs the question: Who will be the new heroes of our Digital Age? Ironically, we have invented great heroes to fight our battles against the most evil villains, vampires, wizards and aliens, but for some odd reason we have fallen short when it comes to creating a modern day pantheon of new heroes to show us the way.
It’s no wonder that we are seeing a rise in the popularity of Superheroes. Will it take a Superman to solve our problems? The truth be told, these heroes are actually a projection of ourselves. We identify with them only to the extent that their stories reflect our struggles, fears and anxieties.
If we cannot create the perfect hero out of our collective unconscious to match these challenging times, then does the fault lie with us? Is that why we have grown cynical of our institutions and elected leaders? Do they truly represent who we have become as a people? Is that why celebrities have taken the place of our heroes and are viewed as the new role models? What happens when our storytelling becomes devoid of meaning and no longer serves its proper function?
These are some of the questions that have given rise to this documentary film project. It is why we are desperately seeking Hero X, a new Prometheus for this millennium. He or she will be the ultimate twenty-first century hero, a man or woman of steel and science, who can stop this runaway train before it derails.
He or she must embody the best qualities of a fierce warrior, great thinker, inspirational leader, and live by the highest ideals. In addition, he or she may exhibit otherworldly skills and prowess that will set him or her apart from mere mortals. He or she can be real or fictional, but must be able to capture the imagination and jolt us from our current dream state.
Time magazine has chosen the “Ebola Fighters” as their person of the year. I could not agree more for these unsung heroes have been placing their lives on the line to help victims of Ebola in Africa. They did it without a lot of fanfare and were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. They are what I consider to be the definition of true heroes.
(To Read CHAPTER 1 of My Book “Spun: 101 Movies to Recreate Your Reality” Click Link).
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