There is John Milton’s quintessential hero, Lucifer and his fall from grace. Lucifer eventually came to be known as Satan, signifying all that was evil. Everything that was pure and good was gone when Lucifer was banished from the Garden of Eden. 21st
century has had no heroes of Lucifer’s caliber but quite a few rogues in the financial and political world. However, some from the sports and film world have managed to achieve the status of a hero who according to definition is a man or woman able to withstand vicissitudes of life and come out with grit and honor especially those of character and extremely difficult circumstances. We do see a sprinkling of heroism in combat forces but that does not necessarily touch the level of fame reserved for modern heroes. It is even rarer to see heroes like Mother Teresa now a Saint, who lived and died like a destitute. While Mother Teresa was a true hero in terms of sacrifice and service for mankind, she herself remained steeped in doubt about her own faith and God’s love.
Oscar Pistorius or Blade Runner is modern days saga of fall from grace. There couldn’t have been a more endearing story of overcoming personal hardships than the one of Pistorius. Here was a man who had the misfortune of getting both his legs amputated at an early age. For most, this would have been the end of life but not for Pistorius. He pursued almost maniacally what he wanted he do, which is to prove to himself and the world that even without human legs, he was going to run in the Olympics. He did and achieved the best in Special Olympics. For Pistorius however the bar had to be set higher. He was not going to feel handicapped just because he didn’t have legs and so, he was going to run in Summer Olympics where able-bodied men ran. Pistorius flew with those prosthetic legs as the world stood in awe and watched him in 2012 Olympics. He was indeed a hero.
Now, Pistorius is being prosecuted for shooting his girlfriend dead. Pistorius says he thought it was an intruder; prosecution thinks otherwise. However, the drama plays out in courts, a young life has been snuffed and Pistorius is left to face the consequences. What is more tragic is this hero’s fall from grace. The world is left to grapple with the truth of Pistorius’ fall. It was the same drama that played out with Lance Armstrong’s 7 spectacular Tour de France wins and eventual stripping off all titles. Lance seemed to have defied human ability with his cancer-fight and spectacular wins in the grueling cycling races. Even with rumors swirling around him, Lance continued to deny all charges of doping. Then finally, Armstrong admitted to big time doping complete with blood infusions! The world gasped as it saw another of its hero fall into the abyss of disgrace.
One would question whether these heroes hadn’t achieved enough and wasn’t that achievement good enough for them? Do our modern day heroes suffer from an unusual guilt that will not allow them to relish what they have worked for or did the heroes think they did not deserve what they got? Apparently hubris played a big part in Lucifer’s fall from grace. Could the same defining pride be responsible for our modern day heroes? Or could it be the eternal human frailty that will not allow men to rest? They say we all have a destination for our journeys but could our journeys themselves be the destination regardless of the outcome?