The ideals of the hero and heroism in ancient times embodied and reproduced various forms of folk art: in fairy tales, myths, heroic epic. A characteristic feature of heroes in ancient myths and epos is the insoluble contradiction of thoughts and activities, manifested in the fact that the life of heroes is suffering as their inevitable fate, which generates with finality, physical limitation of life and the need to fulfill the outline of the gods. Thus, already in one of the most ancient sources — the epic of Gilgamesh (the Sumerian and Akkadian hero of the XXVII — XXVI centuries. BC) the idea of failure, the futility of human attempts to obtain the immortality peculiar to the gods. And the only possible immortality for the hero is the memory preserved by the descendants.
The ancient Greeks — the hero is usually the son or descendant of a deity and mortal man. As a human being, a hero is mortal, divinely immortal, perhaps through feats and glory, a grateful memory among descendants. Hence the drama, collisions and even the tragedy of the hero's life.
The understanding of the essence of heroism and the hero is modified in different historical epochs. So, if in the ancient legends and the heroic epic, the hero represents himself primarily and mainly in combat operations or in the struggle against various threats to the interests of the tribe or people, then in the new time other characteristics appear. For example, J. Bruno in his work “On the Heroic Enthusiast” highlights the hero’s quality as compared with previous historical periods: It is the desire to comprehend the truth of being the essence of things and make them the achievement of all people. In addition, the hero is not only a god who defeats external enemies, but one who defeats his fears, passions and inclinations. Bruno draws attention, perhaps one of the first, to the hero’s loneliness due to the fact that his activities are far from always understood by his contemporaries. Another Italian philosopher, J. Vico (XVIII century), believing that heroism is a characteristic of a special phase of the historical cyclical developed about the essence in general. He put forward the idea that humanity is going through three stages of development: “the age of the gods”, “the age of heroes”, “the age of people”. Vico believed that in a civil society, i.e. «A century of people», heroism is impossible. He wrote, “Heroism is now impossible by the very nature of citizenship... Therefore, we must come to the conclusion that oppressed people are craving for a hero in our sense of the word, philosophers study, poets imagine, but civil nature... does not know this kind of beneficence”
According to the teachings of Hegel G. V., which developed the idea of Vico, the activities of the hero — this is the coincidence of the individual initiative of the individual with its universal value.
The well-known English historian of the 19th century, Thomas Carlyle, believes that every person has the makings and inclinations to become a hero, but their realization depends on their upbringing, time, and social and historical background. Here we see a shift in emphasis in considering the problem of the hero in the socio — culturological plane. The meaning and significance of the hero's activity is to make the knowledge of truth available to all people, and that the heroes play the role of leader, leader and prophet. In this regard, it is characteristic that his work “Heroes, reverence for heroes and reverence in history,” he begins with a chapter about the founder of Islam, the prophet Muhammad. Although Carlyle assumes that everyone has the makings of a hero, he believes that the most likely areas of heroism are politics and art. It is important to note that according to the concept of Carlyle, «the history of the world is the life story of great people». Those. for him the engine of history is heroes. Note: This idea received its extreme expression in the teachings of F. Nietzsche about the «superman», and the practical embodiment — in fascism.
Marxism in this issue comes from the idea that the true heroes are generated by great historical epochs, often transitional ones. From this point of view, Marx’s statement that “... no matter how heroic a bourgeois society is, is typical, for it came into being, heroism, self-sacrifice, terror, civil war and the battles of nations” were needed . The essence of the characters in the history of aphoristically expressed G. V. Plekhanov: «A great man is one who sees farther than others and wants more than others».
So who is such a hero?
The ancient Greeks, the hero has such utmost power, courage, strength, courage, which do not fit into the ordinary human dimension. Hence, the hero is of semi-divine origin. The word hero means «demigod». Homer has heroes for the strength and significance of actions, courage (Achilles, Hector, and others. Iliad), and heroes, so to speak, by origin, i.e. a noble man who has glorious ancestors (Odyssey. «Odyssey»). In the Dictionary of Alexandria (6th century), the hero is a person “powerful, strong, noble, significant”. In the French author’s Philosophical Dictionary, “a hero is a man whose will to overcome obstacles elevates him above other people.
...A hero is one who embodies a national or revolutionary cause, who... forms a genuine historical force (all great national or political figures are heroes in this sense of the word). Finally, the hero can be the creator of important cultural values" .
The generalization of the above and a number of other definitions or interpretations washed away the terms «hero», «heroism», «heroic» leads to such an important concept as the ethos of the hero.
The concept of «ethos» emerges in its originates from ancient Greek philosophy and denotes habits, customs, temperament, customs. Aristotle distinguished the concept of «ethos» as a combination of some moral and imperative principles that guide people in their activities, and the opposite term «pathos» (from «pathos»), meaning meaningful restless, chaotic, affective. Ethos is intelligent; Patos is irrational; the ethos creates and develops society, destroys the pathos, it is destructive in value, leads to moral damage. By the way, our social existence in recent decades, especially in the 90s, Aristotle would certainly call not ethos, but pathos, in other words, pathological due to the fact that the activity of significant forces, groups of people is characterized not by ethos... From this point of view, I think the great German poet Heinrich Heine was right when he wrote that “when heroes leave, clowns come into the arena.” In modern relevant philosophical literature, the ethos is interpreted as a whole as a set of basic principles that serve as ideal reference points in the activities of certain social groups. So, for example, a well-developed ethos of science.
Let us now single out the main features of the hero ethos.
The hero is a bright, concentrated manifestation of such human qualities as courage, courage, readiness for self-sacrifice in the name of an idea, in the interests of that community (clan, tribe, people, country, state) to which it belongs.
The hero is the carrier of the highest values of his society in a given historical period.
The actions of the hero become the subject of admiration and imitation for many people, and there appears such a phenomenon as collective, mass heroism, when heroism becomes a feature not of individuals, but of a considerable mass of people, and even of a whole people. This was noticed by the ancient Greeks, from whom such an expression came to us: “Who said that the Greeks fought like heroes? These heroes fought like the Greeks!” In this regard, if you take the not so long history of the Soviet Union, you can clearly see the effectiveness of such an element of the“ ethos ”(habits, manners, customs) of the hero as the hero’s ability to mobilize thousands and millions people. Even considering the hyperbolicity that is understandable in such cases, it must be admitted that such expressions as “heroic Soviet people”, “hero cities”, etc., had a deep objective meaning.
Hero's exploits play a huge role in educating the younger generation, they are guidelines for activity and activity, especially in critical, or, as philosophers say, borderline situations that arise in society. What do we have now?
In the period of the so-called. perestroika, then in the 90s for well-known reasons, there was a sharp shift, a drift in the values of society, the axiological frame of a huge country collapsed, an unprecedented motivational vacuum was formed in the spiritual sphere, which immediately led to motivational chaos. The corruption of values also began in the area of problems, namely, the frantic, hysterical campaign of the whole of Soviet history with the help of slander, profanation, and vulgarization, meaninglessness, most often through blatant lies, great accomplishments and feats of war heroes, labor and the entire Soviet people. As a result, the social and cultural, moral and value space of the heroes was filled with antiheroes. Examples of darkness, it suffices to recall what kind of «heroes» the media broadcast around the clock.
In conclusion, I will quote a quote from the work of Thomas Carlyle mentioned above: “I think that respect for heroes,” he wrote, “manifests itself in different ways in different eras, is the soul of social relations between people, and that way of expressing this respect is the true scale of normality or abnormality dominant in the world of relations. "
The relevance of the education of modern youth, we see precisely in fully revealing the role of the hero (batyr) as a socio-cultural phenomenon on the example of ancient heroes and our illustrious heroes, in the historical and spiritual formation of the people. For, “an unhappy country that has no heroes” (Pierre Bouast. French lexicographer and aphorist of the XVIII-XIX centuries).
- Foundations of a new science, L., 1940, p. 205
- K. Marx and F. Engels, Op. v. 8, s. 120
- Great Soviet Encyclopedia, M., 1971, T. 6, p.422
- Didier Julia. Philosophical dictionary. M., 2000, p.85.