Introduction to the course, Types: Hero and saint

Posted: October 17th, 2013




Introduction to the course, Types: Hero and saint


In professor Ambrosio’s view, a hero is a metaphor in the secular view to life where their world is impersonal. It is led according to chance or fate with each having an indifferent devotion to human kind. Under the hero’s view, one tries to achieve his or her own will as well as encroachment in life through obtaining essential or necessary tools and equipments needed in achievement of their desires.

On the other hand, the saint is the other metaphor with an opposite view where one is more concerned about others and religious virtues. The saint approach to life focuses on the relation of oneself with others through nurturing, loving and caring with a focus on religion. Thus, the saint approach looks at the inward side of a person and their concern for human life and its religious meaning. Heroic side is associated with secular views while the saint is associated with religious vies to life. One does not need to choose between living life from a heroic and saint view. However, one can attain a balance between the two.

Comparison of the metaphors

The difference between the two approaches or metaphors exist in the “ideal types” that are suggest the ways we ought to live life. Although the two approaches are different, none of them is distinct or ideal on its own. A person needs to consider all side of life to live a fulfilling life. Therefore, both are equally essential and none is better or superior to the other. Both pose ideals on different sides of life.

After the lectures with professor Ambrosio, I feel that the meaning of a hero is a person who pursues self-interests but has to sacrifice in for others. For instance, police officers enter the force as their careers in order to pursue their desires. However, in their quest for fulfilling their desires, they have to put their lives in line of dangers. Thus, the hero is a person who does something that is of great value to others that requires sacrificing. However, the main intention is of individual achievement. In the meaning of life, this typology focuses on the individual journey that one undertakes to fulfill their desires. Therefore, those living according to the hero view do things out of their own interest and achievements they stand to attain.

On the other hand, the saint way of life focuses on living a life with an aim of achieving life after death, which is more religious. This is the believe in divine purposes, where the proponents or those living according to the saint approach believe they are put on earth for a particular purpose, which upon fulfilling will grant them life after death. Thus, the actions of a saint are meant for securing life after death. Therefore, their actions focus on love for others, care, concern and obedience as well among other religious virtues.

Professor Ambrosio suggests that heroes are shaped by needs and desires of life, doing according to one’s desires. This is where a person will act for the sole purpose of what they stand to gain such as recognition, winning and rescuing among other actions. Heroes do what people like doing, things that give them some satisfaction to feel good. Contrary to this is the saint’s life, where saints do what people do not want to do or against the natural and worldly desires. Saints live by denying themselves pleasures of life. They do not exploit their natural desires and all their actions are based on what the religions demands of them. They are hardly recognized since they do not seek any recognition or personal gains. Their sole purpose is caring loving others and their action under any situation is judged according to religious will and never personal will.

This difference brings about a challenge to the heroic meaning of life where one has to use their desire and inner wisdom for making judgment on situations. On the other hand, the saint view does not require the person to make any judgment. Rather, one is supposed to judge every situation according to the religious virtues. Thus, in a situation where one has to choose over killing one person, the bad person in order to spare the good person, a hero would not contemplate. For instance, a police officer will not hesitate to kill a criminal in order to save an innocent person.

On the other hand, a saint would not kill any of them. Rather, he or she would try to show love for both. They would do no wrong. This brings about a moral challenge to the heroes since they have to make a judgment. On the other hand, saints need not make a judgment. In the case presented above, saints only need to execute the religious will in such a situation. If the religious will suggest that one shall not kill, they would not kill despite the situation. Therefore, the saints are left with no moral challenge that requires their judgment and use of wisdom or self will.


After looking at both approaches to meaning of life, it is clear that none of the two is distinct. Therefore, one does not have to choose between the two. Each of the approaches has its ideal types that one could borrow. A person can balance between the two where one exploits their desires as the heroic approach suggests while at the same time considering caring for others and loving them as well. Additionally, situations can change one’s view towards these approaches. For instance, if one was living according to the heroic meaning of life, something could happen to make them consider becoming a saint. However, the heroic approach is considered genetic and everybody is born with it. This is to mean that everybody has desires to exploit and fulfill. Difference comes in when one believes in life after death. As such, one would consider ignoring their genome of individual desires to exploit saint ones while still exploiting heroic type desires. Therefore, one can live according to both approaches since none is distinct.



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