EVERYBODY wants a hero. Not too many volunteer to be one.
Let's face it: a true hero is fictional. They come alive on 3D screens and dominate the focus of media coverage.
But deep down, we all know the deal. Someone is about to fall.
It's a familiar story: someone becomes an overnight success, whether in business, sport, entertainment, etc. and he or she has more than 10 minutes of fame where the world worships at his or her feet.
Until the moment that the stilts of man-made pedestals come tumbling down. Until the man or woman who has been glorified for super-human feats is now shamed for the very humanity that lives in the hearts of his or her accusers.
It's become like a bad movie where one can tell the beginning from the end. Yet we keep watching because we hope that this time there will be a different ending. We all fall into the trap.
We want to believe. We want to hope that there is infallible goodness in man, that if he/she can take on superhero status, then maybe I too can achieve the impossible.
One day when I finally get off the couch, watching other people live the lives I wish I did, secretly coveting the seeming inhuman courage and strength exhibited by someone as normal as ourselves.
We relish in their triumphs, we cheer them on in their winning – but turn our heads in shame when they lose, when they disappoint us, when they hurt themselves, when they fail at the impossible task of being superhuman.
You would think we would all learn the lesson. You would think we would begin to say: "Hey, people – there's something wrong with this picture. This stuff doesn't work."
But we choose to suspend our disbelief and believe in the lie once again.
Because it's easier to make someone else accountable for what is really our responsibility. It's easier to say it's the government, and blame the past and anything and everyone else than it is to say: "It is up to me. What can I do to stop the madness?"
Individuals are not meant to take on the weight of human expectation. We can't all abscond from our duties to the collective soul of humanity and expect people to stand on their own, enduring pressure from all sides to be "perfect".
We are meant to be led by others and to lead others. We are meant to be middlemen between reality and possibility, between mediocrity and excellence, between despair and hope. We have messed up the scales of equality. We are not less equal or more equal to others.
We are all on the same plane in the eyes of God, human, part of a family that needs all parts to be pulling in the same direction, headed towards the same goal.
We can all be heroes if we make no one a hero. And when one falls, we all stretch out our hands to lift him/her up.
Cheryl Ramurath, Port Elizabeth