Reading about the man of the moment, Edward Snowden, I found myself thinking about these modern heroes. I’ll started by quoting him quoting Benjamin Franklin: “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” I don’t doubt this for a minute.
“Sometimes, this meant Swartz’s standards were impossibly high. “He genuinely held other people as equally important as himself,” says Wikler. “When he heard about injustice happening to someone else, it would be hugely taxing for him. He would feel a deep sense of obligation.”
This obligation extended to a horror of imposing himself. Sometimes, this meant he acted strangely, as if he were lacking a necessary layer of protective skin. He felt uneasy dealing with taxi drivers or waiters, for instance, because he disliked the iniquitous distribution of power. He hated to feel a burden, even to his closest friends. When Wikler and his wife first invited Swartz to dinner, he didn’t mention he suffered from ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, because he didn’t want to bother anyone. “The bread was the only thing he could eat,” Wikler recalls.”
“I want people to see the truth … regardless of who they are … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”
Julian Assange (b.1971), photo by Seamus Murphy
Modern heroes lack supernatural powers.
Modern heroes are flawed individuals.
Modern heroes rise above the circumstances of their times to accomplish great things.
Modern heroes usually do not undertake a physical quest.
Modern heroes may not accomplish their goal, yet they never cease striving toward it.
Eddie Vedder (b.1964), photo by Danny Clinch