Together We Are Heroes

March 29, 2024
Reading time: 3 minutes
Consciousness, Purpose, Self-Worth

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Throughout history—and very much today—we’ve been enamored with the idea of the lone hero. It’s impossible to even walk down the street without seeing massive billboards for the next Marvel movie, awash with images of a singularly powerful superhero who will save the world. These are individuals who, through sheer will and strength (and don’t forget those supernatural, radioactive powers), manage to overcome insurmountable odds and bring about significant change. Yes, these god-like heroes are meant to be metaphors for the power that we all have to overcome challenges… but “the world” they save is often as fantastical as they are.

For example, the very complex challenges of humanity are still there even after the supervillain has been vanquished, and Superman rarely goes toe-to-toe with things like famine, poverty, or social injustice.

Now, The Hero’s Journey exists for a reason. Joseph Campbell’s famous meditation on this subject in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces shows us that powerful stories of one special person succeeding against all odds have been inspiring us for centuries. Not only that, these stories are some of the most beloved and influential pieces of art in existence. They inspired great people to do great things. But they leave one thing out.

The world’s most pressing problems are far too vast and intertwined for any one person to solve.

Climate change, for example, is a global issue that affects and is affected by everyone living on this planet. Similarly, social and economic inequalities are systemic problems that have been built up over centuries. These are not puzzles to be solved by a single genius or supernatural hero but ongoing challenges that require collective action and sustained effort.

This is not meant to be defeatist—and I am certainly not suggesting we throw out superhero stories! In fact, I think this can be just as inspiring as any book about a magical young wizard or powerful young woman with arrows.

The beauty of acknowledging that no one person can save the world alone is the realization that we all can. Each individual’s actions, no matter how small they may seem, contribute to a larger movement of change. When we come together, pooling our resources, knowledge, and passion, we can initiate significant transformations. The way one person is called to serve is different than another, and together, our actions of service harmonize into a power greater than any one of us could ever wield.

Continuing with the example of helping to save the environment, individual decisions to reduce waste, conserve water, and support sustainable practices are shown to make incredible positive difference over time. They also contribute to a larger trend that pressures leaders to adopt more eco-friendly policies. Social change, too, follows a similar pattern. Movements for civil rights, gender equality, and LGBTQ+ rights have all advanced through the collective efforts of individuals united for a cause.

Accepting that we’re all responsible for the world’s evolution is a call to action. It’s an invitation to engage with the world in a more conscious and purposeful manner. This doesn’t mean that everyone must take up the same cause or contribute in the same way. Instead, it’s about finding where your passions, skills, and opportunities align with the world’s needs. And no interest is without its ability to create change!

Do you love to crochet? You can get to work crafting blankets for mothers and infants in need.

Are you endlessly fascinated with crafting? Start a TikTok account teaching people how to use common waste items to make pieces of art or handy household hacks.

Not sure where your talent could be useful? Think about what you currently do for work and see if you can volunteer that skill with a non-profit organization. Even an hour a week helps!

When we understand that no act of kindness, generosity, or service is ever too small, an entire world of opportunities to “help save the world” opens to us.

As individuals, we are drops in a vast ocean, but when we come together, we are the ocean itself—powerful beyond measure and capable of shaping the planet’s future. The responsibility to help guide the evolution of our world is both a profound burden and an incredible opportunity. It says in The Book of Ethics that, while we are not “obligated to complete the work….neither are [we] free to desist from it” (Pirkei Avot 20:21). It’s a call to action that requires not just optimism, but also determination, creativity, and a willingness to collaborate.

In embracing this shared responsibility, we acknowledge that while no one person can save the world, the collective power and will of humanity can indeed shape its destiny toward a brighter, more equitable, and sustainable future. And don’t worry, it will be a future with enough room for all of our favorite superheroes, too.


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Comments

  1. Jonathan Daniel Kruger Erbstein : April 3, 2024 at 7:34 pm

    Amazing!

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