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Hero Expiation: The Power of Giving Power Away

“We don’t need another Forbes Five Hundred List of the wealthiest people in the world; we need a Forbes Five Hundred List of those who give away the most money.” ~Ted Turner

Isn’t it fascinating that the larger a society grows the more it kotows to the whims of arbitrary power?

In a healthy tribe, if anyone hoarded all the wealth (power), they would be shamed and they would not hold onto to it for very long. In a large society, however, like the profoundly sick societies that surround us today, anyone who hoards all the wealth is somehow revered by the rest of society, even cheered on, to hoard more and more wealth. Why is this?

A tell-tell sign of a sick society is a lack of checks and balances. Without checks and balances, or social leveling mechanism, power tends to corrupt. Once power corrupts, it must prevent any checks and balancing mechanisms, or it loses its power. It prevents such mechanisms by means of cultural conditioning, brainwashing, propaganda, and indoctrination.

Over a long enough timeline, a society loses track of where and when the corruption began. At this point, it is almost too late for the sick society to ever recover and become healthy again. That is, unless individual people (cultural heroes) wake up to the corruption and attempt to awaken others.

Now enter hero expiation. Where a typical hero acquires their wealth (power) through hard work, esteem, and merit, and then hoards it; an expiating hero (next-level hero, cultural hero, cosmic hero, Meta-hero) acquires wealth in the same way, but then has the moral wherewithal to expiate the wealth that is excessive or unneeded. Let’s break it down…

Hoarding Power:

“Morality is not the doctrine of how we make ourselves happy, but of how we make ourselves worthy of happiness.” ~Immanuel Kant

Whether we live in a small society or a large one, the hoarding of wealth leads to sickness, corruption, and even death. Why is this? It’s analogous to the tragedy of the commons: finite resources can only go so far before some people are left with no resources. Likewise, if resources are hoarded then some people will be left with no resources.

In a small society, like a tribe of ten families, for example, if each family sends out one hunter, and each hunter returns to the tribe with equal kills, then the balance of power is fair, and the tribe remains healthy. No problem. But, and here’s the catch, if the hunters return with unequal kills –like say one family’s hunter gets a whopping 10 buffalo kills whereas the other nine hunters get zero, then the balance of power is unequal, and it becomes the responsibility of the hunter with the most kills (wealth) to keep the tribe healthy.

Because, as we all know, “with great power comes great responsibility (Stan Lee),” and “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton).”

If the hunter with the most kills (wealth) decides to hoard his/her power, then the tribe becomes unhealthy, sick, and people starve. Especially in a world where resources are scarce (buffalo are difficult to find). Now, one might argue (with sick-society logic) that those other nine hunters need to “get off their ass” and get out there and hunt. But it’s never that simple. Resources are finite. Hunting grounds are scarce. Some people can’t hunt.

If that weren’t enough, we are social creatures. We need each other. We have evolved as far as we have because we put cooperation first and competition second. Another tell-tell sign of a sick society is one that attempts to put competition first and cooperation second. Cooperation must be primary in society lest corruption and ill-health manifest.

The burden of responsibility will always fall on the person with the most power. If that person wants to be moral, honorable, and prestigious, then they must act morally, honorably, and compassionately. In order not to be seen as greedy, immoral, and compassionless, a person with power must be responsible with their power. It really is that simple.

Giving Power Away:

“In everything, there is a share of everything.” ~Anaxagoras

A person who practices hero expiation is a person who wants to be more than merely talented, wealthy, and powerful. They also want to be prestigious, honorable, and compassionate. In short: they want to be responsible with their power. They would rather be revered for their heart than for their greed.

There is more than one way to be responsible with power. It’s not like we have to give it all away. We should still reward ourselves for our talent and effort. And it should always be the hero’s choice how they are to be responsible with their power. They must not be forced. Otherwise, we’re on a slippery slope toward tyranny. Freedom is primary. A hero should be free to do the right thing.

Take the example of the hunter with the ten kills. The hero hunter could reward himself and his family with the choicest cuts from each kill and then spread the meat (wealth) around to the other families. This way nobody in the tribe starves and the hero hunter is still rewarded for his talent. Through such heroic expiation the hero hunter becomes prestigious, honorable, and compassionate while also practicing moderation. Through hero expiation the tribe remains healthy, and all basic needs are met. The stage is now set for others to become heroes themselves.