CHI Mission Statement

Contemporary Heroism Initiative is an undertaking to refresh outmoded social values with values focused on a new reverence for the common good. Heroism is recognition of what we as a society revere. It can be a bold act of courage that risks one’s life in the service of another person or cause. It can also be a quiet life of participation in a community of family life that contributes to the well-being of others and does no harm. Traditional heroism in our contemporary society has focused on a deed or achievement. It has expanded to include achievement of high social status, wealth and power. This is a broad use of the term that includes rulers, billionaires, generals, politicians, doctors, and luminaries.

Unfortunately this current, broad form of heroism has a dual drawback. Our materialistic secular society provides opportunities for heroism through social status and achievement that are not possible for all of its members. This is a source of social dissatisfaction, anxiety, and unrest. Moreover, the striving for this current form of self-directed heroism promotes greed, selfishness, ignoring the common good, and failure to reward those who do focus on it. Traditional values have grown toxic to our social wellbeing.

The Contemporary Heroism Initiative (CHI) is based on modern social scientific thinking, including the ideas of the late Ernest Becker, one of the most profound thinkers of the 20th Century. Modern social scientists reference heroism as a seminal idea for understanding the human condition. In its many forms heroism is a culturally provided state of being that conveys self-esteem as an antidote to anxiety. Understanding a culture’s heroism is fundamental to producing social change for the better. Unfortunately this body of social scientific knowledge is not being represented in public decision-making. CHI intends to address that shortcoming.

It is the intent of CHI, to refocus the direction that reverence in our society is placed, to replace current individual, self-focused heroism with reverence for people who are working for community and the common good. CHI is not declaring selfishness as evil; merely that it is not heroic and not deserving of present-day hero worship. CHI redirects what it means to be a good citizen with common goals including:

  • Protecting the environment
  • Promoting peace and security
  • Increasing economic equality
  • Improving mental health

CHI works to find a place at the table of public discourse on these primary issues. The trustees and members of the initiative are charged with interpreting these basic principles and crafting an action plan.

CHI offers a path to social and individual reward as an antidote to the forces in our society that are pulling it into more and more destructive directions. CHI presents a choice for healthy, non-destructive heroism.

© 2017 Contemporary Heroism Initative