Does Hero / Heroine capture the meaning
Whistleblowers, conscientious objectors, rebels-with-a-cause, righteous rescuers, change-agents etc., all share something in common – a strong sense of decency.
The definition of Decency according to the Oxford English Online Dictionary is “behavior that conforms to accepted standards of morality or respectability.” But this definition is incomplete if you consider the behaviors and attitudes of decent people throughout history who have not only shown morality and respectability, they’ve shown respect for others regardless of whether or not they agreed with the other(s) or liked them; and in some cases who continued to show respect despite the risk of their own welfare
Decency is much more than the popular definition implies.
Kindness is at the heart of decency. It dissipates the violence within oneself, strengthens ones ability to think from ones heart instead of from their conditioning, and enables one to see the human being in the enemy.
But in today’s loud world with the constant push to be the best, the strongest, the winner (or on the winner’s side), it’s more and more difficult to protect this quality in oneself and others, let alone value it. If this weren’t the case, we’d see more leaders in business, in politics and in life that cared more about actually doing the right thing, than trying to be right or look good.
So the question is – what captures the meaning of decency and by extension, kindness, while also conveying the strength and courage intrinsic to both?
Hero or Heroine won’t do because they are too strongly associated with war and the attitude of winner-takes-all. And any kind of humanity-centric meaning that’s survived has been trampled by consumers running to purchase and watch Marvel Comics’ interpretation of heroes as super-humans with otherworldly strengths.
History shows that most true heroes fly under the radar – they are not the flashy, sexy, gun-toting, take-no-prisoners – kind of hero portrayed by the military or in movies. They are everyday people, from all over the world.
We need a new word or perhaps, a couple of words.
Why Conscientious Rebel?
The words Conscientious Rebel capture the essence of the characteristic of being driven to act even if doing so challenges the status quo. To be clear, Conscientious Rebel is not meant to add another label for us to smack onto peoples essence rather, it’s to provide a way to discuss the nature of the challenges of everyday heroes and heroines without being burdened by those overused and misunderstood terms. Also, because the word rebel is both a noun and a verb, it implies both an action oriented and object oriented meaning.
In other words, it expands and distinguishes at the same time the array of attitudes and behaviors associated with what’s been called right action or doing good when it matters most.
Here’s a deconstruction of the term:
Conscientious means to be perceptive, reliable, personally responsible and compassionate beyond tribalism.
- Perceptive – able to see the world as it is as opposed to how you want it to be
- Reliable – aims to do as they say and say as they do
- Personally responsible – takes responsibility for things done wrong; but has a hard time accepting praise for things done right
- Compassionate – able to empathize and act on behalf of others whether or not s/he likes, agrees with or identifies with that person or persons
Rebel means to be a freethinker, courageous and intentional.
- Freethinker – has a natural distrust of authority,convention and status quo. Able to have an inner conviction to challenge social, familial conditioning of any kind. Early on this started as rebellion just to rebel, but along the way you learned that authority, convention wasn’t necessarily synonymous with truth
- Courageous – Able to walk ones talk and have the courage and confidence to do so even when it’s difficult, inconvenient or carries some risk – and let’s be honest here; if it’s easy or convenient, then it probably isn’t that important that you take a stand. You understand this more than most
- Intentional – If you can’t do a thing, or have no experience, you have no shame admitting this because you know yourself well enough to know that you’ll do or learn whatever it takes to accomplish the goal. This is good because when you talk about your work to others they immediately sense your authenticity and passion
So if you’ve made it this far, you’re either intimidated or curious or both. Not so much because of what I’ve written but because you are one of those crazy wonderful individuals who not only has hope in humanity, but who actually lives that hope.
I’m not talking positive thinking; I’m talking, pragmatic idealism. The real deal. You see the world as it is and have hope anyway.
It doesn’t matter what age, ethnicity, background, etc. that you possess, IF you have this vision and also act on it, you, my friend, are a rockstar in the highest way. As you might know: The World Needs You Now. And to help more of you get out there and go for your dreams and aspirations, I’ve created a site dedicated to the idea of Conscientious Rebel. I hope you’ll check it out!