Re: Heroism
Tue, 3 Feb 1998 20:43:43 -0500

Lets try that again...

I am uncertain about the ancient origins of herosim. However, I think
analyzing heroism from a memetic perspective could prove fruitful. Heroism
appears to be respected most lavishly when the individual who sacrifices or
risks a great deal does so in the name of an ideology or broad ideal. Heroism
in the form of protecting one's family does not seem as spectacular. Actually,
protecting one's family might appear more of a duty than a selfless act of

Memes that reward heroism might have an edge over those that do not. Images of
heroes inspire others to cling more vitally to a particular meme. Memes may
use heroes as a focus point to anchor their "hold" on a society. The general
idea is "If this guy, who we will idealize, saw fit to risk so much for this
idea then the least we can do is continue to promote it." The fact that
heroism appears in virtually all social systems supports the idea that heroism
was a very successful "adaptation" in memetic evolution.

Perhaps with the rise of transfamily metaorganisms which in turn needed memes
to maintain cohesion, the concept of heroism was created.

Doug Bailey