Back to the Old Heroism

by The Deep Water Breaks

We don’t talk about the epics much any more. In modern society, heroism seems to require a certain amount of introspection. We prefer the anti-hero. The guy who reluctantly slugs through the muck of crisis and comes out alive, out of bullets, and wanting to retire. Or else he is a good man, but deeply flawed, and his heroism is a psychological crisis that occurs and gets resolved in the space between his ears. The hero’s journey is a microcosm.

While the Homeric heroes were not simple, they played out their demons on the scale of the universe. We listened to these stories because they were exciting. Because they were grandiose. Impossible. We gathered around story-tellers and listened in disbelief to the legends of Odysseus and Heracles. What was even death for these men?

To paraphrase Kennedy, these heroes did the hard things often for no less reason than because they were hard. And in much the same way, a crowd on a beach in Hawaii, and then the rest of the world, watched Kirk Passmore stand on the face of a giant, and disappear into the depths of the ocean. The wave collapsed on itself, an exhausted Goliath forever gone, and Kirk “Red” Passmore was subsumed into the sea. Tragedy and Heroism intertwined.