I was thinking about the term 'hero' today and started wondering why humans so readily create them. Obviously heros have existed (been created) pretty much forever so its likely that the need stems from human nature. In thinking what the lack of heros might look like, one is forced to imagine (relatively) more collective efforts. It feels odd that equality in society is such a recent and even (still) limited phenomenon, and again, this seems to reinforce the notion that heroism and maybe conceptual relations to it, ie hierarchical societal divisions (castes, classes, etc) are somehow the natural state for the human psyche.
I also wonder whether the need for heros and/or leaders (are they the same thing, conceptually?) changes with the structure and goals of society (leaders are much more critical in warfare--or at least we say that--and may be more critical for a roving band of hunter-gatherers than for a metropolis of millions). What is freedom's role here?
Oddly enough, I've never really bought into the hero concept and perhaps this explains my tendency toward collective responsibility instead. Are heros more a function of personality, culture or human nature?
Maybe I should drink less coffee... or perhaps read more Joseph Campbell books..