30 Days of Gratitude, Day 28: Heroes

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28-heroThe definition of hero often changes from generation to generation, or even week to week lately. I’m not going to argue anyone’s definition here, but instead simply present my own and perhaps a handful of significant examples.

I hero has done something hugely significant, really awesome, or just plain cool in such a way or time or place so as to inspire or help other people, to push individuals for our whole species to new heights, or to push themselves to be better than they were.

My heroes are not rock stars or famous actors more professional athletes. Or if they happen to be, the fact that they are a rockstar, famous actor, or professional athlete is incidental, and basically irrelevant.

Some examples are clearly in order.

Albert Einstein, who more or less created an entire branch of physics merely because he was curious about how things actually work.

Rosa Parks, who, at the right time and place, gave a giant middle finger to racists across the world, and particularly in the United States, simply by refusing to give up her seat.

Chris Hadfield, perhaps Canada’s most famous astronaut, campaigns tirelessly for innovation and exploration and space sciences, and who really should get into a major public office to help build some real change, because I’m not always sure we can wait for all the people he’s inspiring to grow up.

Neil Degrasse Tyson, was done more for science education and popularization van pretty much anyone in the history of science, except maybe Carl Sagan, who also belongs on this list.

Bill Nye, for similar reasons, but also because he’s not afraid to stand up and debate for rationalism in the face of ultra-right-wing religious dogma. In fact, he’s doing it so well doing so that a recent high-profile ultra-religious opponent had to later publish a book explaining why he won.

Rebecca Vitsmun who, after surviving a tornado that ripped apart her home and neighborhood, told Wolf Blitzer live on CNN that she did not in fact thank God for her good fortune, because she was in fact an atheist, and then went on to help build Foundation Beyond Belief, a humanist disaster relief and recovery organization.

Remember what I said about famous actors, rockstars, and so on? Ricky Gervais, who is a famous actor, is also incredibly outspoken and unafraid on the subject of animal rights, and damn whatever the consequences might be to his career.

It’s not hard to go on, but maybe this is a good place to end the post. Heroes are people actually do stuff, good stuff, and inspire anyone paying attention to be better.

Who are your heroes?

Be well, everyone.

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