No, this is not a reference to the TV show. Nor to people in tights with "special powers" and an obsession to do good.

Instead, I wondered about some personal heroes--aka role models, guides, inspirational exemplars, etc.--from history that some folks around here might have. Please feel free to share.

Here are my top 5:

1. Gandhi: committed to non-violence and justice without oppression; focused on personal experimentation with one's "truth" and approaching things critically; looked beyond the confines of religion; vegetarian, even vegan.
2. Martin Luther King, Jr.: also committed to non-violence; though a Christian, studied teachings from other traditions (e.g., Gandhi!); worked for equal rights and justice, fighting bigotry in the process.
3. Thomas Jefferson: proponent of rationality and humanism; not afraid to attack Christianity with a critical mind and strip out everything miraculous; committed to personal liberty and a common good; agrarian and yet intellectual.
4. Socrates: fearless advocate of critical scrutiny, especially self-scrutiny; questioned authority and the dominant assumptions; recognized the centrality of morality in human life and thought.
5. The Buddha: rejected lazy faith for critical analysis of experience; taught the need for individual efforts in liberation; opened up his teachings to all classes, not just to the elite; put simplicity and non-attachment over physical comforts.

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Comment by Garrick McElroy on April 30, 2010 at 8:15pm
1. Anton Szandor LaVey, while some people call themselves "Christian Atheists", being a Christian philosophically and an atheist religiously, I consider myself somewhat of a Satanic Atheist. Indulgence in the 7 Deadly Sins as opposed to trying to stay away from them is how I live my life every day. He is a large influence on me.
2. Diogenes of Sinope, he's my favorite philosopher. His view on life is absolutely wonderful. My favorite story is when a man called him a dog at a large dinner, and Diogenes proceded to pee on the man, cocking his leg like a dog. Another is when he would walk around with a lamp post at night trying to find an honest man. I enjoy the way that he approached every day life.
3. Charles Darwin, mostly because I want to make an impact on the world in the way he did. Some huge development, an epiphany, and change the way everyone thinks.
4. Douglas Adams, he is my all time favorite author. I love the stories and he is hilarious. I have never laughed so hard as when I read "Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy".
Comment by Loren Miller on April 30, 2010 at 1:25pm
Robert Heinlein - in a lot of ways, a latter-day Mark Twain (as well as a fan of Mr. Clemens)
Comment by Justin Van Kleeck on April 30, 2010 at 1:11pm
Mark Twain...aww, yeah.



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