What is heroism?

What is heroism?

Public Opinion Foundation recently conducted a surveyamong passers-by on the streets of Moscow on the topic: "Who do you know from the heroes of Russia?" It turned out that 40% of respondents find it difficult to name at least one name, and 20% feel that there are no real heroes in real life.

What is heroism?



Heroism is called a definite formhuman behavior, which can be called a feat from a moral point of view. A hero can become a separate person, a group of people, a certain class or a whole nation. Representatives of this category of humanity take on themselves particularly difficult and important tasks and solve large-scale problems. They are much more responsible approach to performing their duties than other people in a similar situation.


In the history of ethical thought has repeatedly been raisedquestion of the problem of heroes. Many theorists of the past (Hegel, J. Vico, etc.) associate heroism only with the heroic period of Ancient Greece. This period is fully described in the texts of ancient mythology. The mythical hero is always endowed with supernatural power and enjoys divine protection, thanks to which he performs feats for the sake of mankind. The ancient heroes believe in destiny and providence, but bear responsibility for their actions.


Hegel and Wick claimed that in the modern worldthere is no more heroism, and in its place came clearly formed concepts of morality and morality, which imply a balance between duties and human rights. Virtually every bourgeois society excludes from its life the manifestations of heroism, it is replaced by cold practical calculation, caution, dogmatism and strict laws. At the same time in the Renaissance, the heroes themselves needed to create such a society: revolutionaries with comprehensively developed thinking. This time was particularly in need of brilliant scientists, strong leaders and simply extraordinary personalities.


Bourgeois Romantics (T. Carlyle, F. Schlegel, etc.) picked up and tried to develop further the idea of ​​heroes, but their interpretation changes this idea and presents it as something exceptionally individual. In their understanding, the hero is a specific person, not a group of people that stands out among the rest of the population and denies the existing notions of morality. The Russian populists interpreted the concept of "hero" in a slightly different way, in their view, national and group heroism is impossible without an illustrative example of an outstanding personality.


Existentialists interpret the concept of "heroism"contrary to the bourgeoisie. They do not distinguish between the hero as an individual and the heroism of a group of people or a whole people. In the Marxist-Leninist theory, heroism is the sacrifice of one's own comfort for the sake of the common good.