All posts by Scott Allison

scotttallison@zoho.com'

About Scott Allison

Scott Allison has authored numerous books, including 'Heroes' and 'Heroic Leadership'. He is Professor of Psychology at the University of Richmond where he has published extensively on heroism and leadership. His other books include Reel Heroes, Conceptions of Leadership, Frontiers in Spiritual Leadership, and the Handbook of Heroism. His work has appeared in USA Today, National Public Radio, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Slate Magazine, MSNBC, CBS, Psychology Today, and the Christian Science Monitor. He has received Richmond's Distinguished Educator Award and the Virginia Council of Higher Education's Outstanding Faculty Award.

Constructing Heroic Associations: Making a Good Line Better

By Scott T. Allison and George R. Goethals

There are many iconic quotes or lines from books, movies and television that crystallize an image of a hero, or a heroic moment. Earlier we discussed Nathan Hale, and his unforgettable last words, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” In Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry movies, the image of Clint saying “Go ahead, make my day,” is unforgettable. Such quotes create a clear, sharp and unforgettable image. But some memorable moments are made more so by readers and audiences making a good phrase even better, thus making the words even more heroic and more memorable.

Several examples are notable. We have written before about the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, and the related importance of sidekicks for many such heroes. For Holmes, that person is his friend and colleague Dr. John Watson. If people know only one specific Holmes quote, it is likely to be this comment to his partner, “Elementary, my dear Watson.” That’s all well and good, but in the four Conan Doyle novels, and his dozens of stories, Holmes never utters that phrase. He says “elementary” often enough, and he frequently says “my dear Watson,” but he never links the two. But the two go so naturally together, that they create a better image of Holmes and his relation to Watson than the many phrases that only come close to the memorable combination.

Speaking of Clint Eastwood, people easily recall one of the last scenes in Dirty Harry where the villain is deciding whether to reach for his pistol. He’s uncertain whether Harry has any more bullets in his .44 magnum handgun. Harry snarls, “Do you feel lucky?” It’s a popular culture phrase. But there’s one problem. Eastwood never says it. Rather, he says, “You’ve got to ask yourself a question. €˜Do I feel lucky?'” But the phrase as remembered is more natural and quotable, and can be used conversationally more easily. And in fact, Dirty Harry follows up his statement above with “Well, do you punk?”

Another example from film: In the well-loved movie Field of Dreams the character played by Kevin Costner hears a voice in his cornfield, “If you build it, they will come.” That memorable phrase is often used in conversation. It makes a point about how activity of various kinds can attract others, and it is nicely associated with the characters in the film. Except again, that’s not what Costner says. The voice he hears refers to a single individual, perhaps Shoeless Joe Jackson, or perhaps Costner’s father. It says: “If you build it, he will come.”

One of television’s most iconic series, subsequently made into a number of films and several sequel series, was Star Trek. And fans love Captain Kirk’s line, “Beam me up, Scotty.” This classic phrase underscores the role of one of Kirk’s sidekicks, Scotty, who frequently is called upon to transport Kirk safely from danger. But once again, this exact phrase is never uttered.

One final example:  Watch the movie Casablanca again, and listen carefully. Do Ingrid Bergman or Humphrey Bogart, playing Ilsa Lund and Rick Blaine, ever smile at Dooley Wilson, the piano player, and demand, “Play it again, Sam”? The answer is no. They say variations of the line, but never that exact line.

Why does this happen? Human beings have a need to organize experience in coherent ways. We create meaning, and construct memories that make the flow of events we encounter even more meaningful. Vivid images, such as the Iwo Jima statue in Washington, and pithy quotes, such as “Make my day,” stay with us. If we can make them even easier to remember than they are already, our constructive memories will do that for us.

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References

Goethals, G. R., Messick, D. M., & Allison, S. T.  (1991).  The uniqueness bias:  Studies of constructive social comparison.  In J. Suls & B. Wills (Eds.), Social Comparison: Contemporary theory and research (pp. 149-176).  New York:  Lawrence Erlbaum.

ReelHeroes.net — Our Analysis of Heroes in the Movies

By Scott T. Allison

My good friend Greg Smith and I have two things in common:  We love heroes and we love movies.  Greg is an expert in fictional writing and character development in storytelling.  I’ve been studying heroes for more than a decade and have published many books on the subject.  And so by establishing ReelHeroes.net back in 2013, Greg and I found a way to combine our interests and our expertise.

What is the mission of ReelHeroes.net?  Our goal is to critique the heroic characters in recent and classic movies.  Typically, movie reviewers focus on the quality of the movie.  We do that, too.  But we’ve found in our research that people need heroes.  Hero stories are psychologically important to us.  These tales educate, they inspire, and they entertain.  And the typical hero journey follows a classic pattern and a series of stages that are characteristic of all hero stories throughout the ages.

When movie-makers acknowledge these patterns, we usually get a satisfying movie-going experience. But when they ignore these ancient, time-honored paradigms, the story usually falls flat.  So at ReelHeroes.net, we’re not only be able to tell you if a movie was good or bad, but we can also pinpoint where the hero-storytelling was good or not so good.

We base much of our hero analysis on the work of Joseph Campbell, a comparative mythologist who detected the following pattern in all hero stories:

(1) The hero starts out in a safe, familiar world.

(2) The hero is summoned, either willingly or unwillingly, into a new, dangerous, unfamiliar world.

(3) The hero is charged with some goal or mission.

(4) The hero encounters other people who fill important social roles — mentors, lovers, villains, sidekicks, & father figures are common.

(5) The hero then overcomes some missing internal quality to attain the goal.

(6) The hero is transformed significantly and returns to the familiar world.

(7) The hero then delivers the meaning of the journey.

Greg has used this pattern extensively in Agile Writers to help his students compose effective and entertaining novels.  In the past few years, he’s helped people compose over a dozen first drafts and several self-published books.  They’ve all relied on these tried-and-true stages of the hero journey.  Two members of the Agile Workshop have been nominated for the coveted James River Writer Best Unpublished Novel Contest.

At ReelHeroes.net, we  sometimes refer to other models of heroism in our reviews.  Paul Moxnes has a model based on family structure, arguing that heroes emerge within a family hierarchy (e.g., Fathers, Mothers, Sons, Daughters, Servants, etc).  In our own research on heroes, we’ve found that heroes tend to possess The Great Eight characteristics.  Heroes are smart, strong, selfless, caring, resilient, charismatic, reliable, and inspiring.

It’s our goal to review mainstream movies that people who appreciate a hero analysis will want to see. We even occasionally review old classic movies with an especially strong hero story. We’ll avoid genres such as horror or slapstick comedy (although we confess to being avid Three Stooges fans). We love to review bad films as much as good films because it gives us a chance to see where the artist deviated from the acknowledged structures — and wonder how in the world did this film get made!

So join us as we explore the hero journey in action on the big screen.  We use the word “action” deliberately, as the work of any good hero involves acts of good deeds.  As Robert Downey, Jr., once observed, “Hero is not a noun, it’s a verb.”

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The Deal We Strike With Our Heroes

By Scott T. Allison and George R. Goethals

The price of greatness is responsibility.” – Winston Churchill

A few weeks ago we posted a blog entry that posed the question of whether we expect too much from our heroes.  With so many heroes falling from grace in the past few years, we suggested the possibility that we hold them to too high a standard.  We also offered some reasons why we might expect more virtuous behavior from heroes than we do from the average non-hero.

Our good friend Greg Smith, who is the founder of Agile Writers, read our blog post and contributed a thoughtful comment that really got our attention.  Greg raised the possibility that we enter into an implicit exchange relationship with our heroes.  The exchange relationship carries with it an unspoken agreement that we make with heroes, and it goes something like this:  We agree to give heroes our adulation and support, but in return they must maintain an idealized image of human greatness.

Greg describes the bargain in the following way:  “You [the hero] reflect what we want to see in ourselves.  But if you reflect the reality of us as people and a society, then you’re just one of us after all.  And therefore, you’re no more special than we are and you have to come down from your pedestal and stand in the muck with the rest of us.”

If a hero misbehaves, we consider it a breech of contract and we withdraw our admiration and support.  We may also show considerable anger about the contract violation — witness the outrage directed toward Tiger Woods that still lingers to this day.  A broken agreement can turn a hero into a villain rather quickly and easily. Prominent examples, besides Tiger, include David Petraeus, LeBron James, Lance Armstrong, and Joe Paterno.

The idea that we enter into implicit agreements with the successful and powerful is not a new one.  In 2005, psychologist David Messick published an article in which he proposed that an implicit contract exists between leaders and followers.  The contract states that we’ll let leaders lead us if they provide us with a vision, a sense of pride in the group, and group security and protection.  In return, we’ll give leaders our loyalty, effort, and support.

We may have a similar implied agreement with celebrities and the rich.  The terms of the unspoken agreement may be that we’ll let famous celebrities have their fame and wealth, and we may even become their fans, but only as long as they earn their affluence honestly, pay a higher percentage of taxes, behave well, and don’t abuse their privileged status.

What’s most interesting about these implicit agreements is that highly successful people are either not aware of them, or they find it extremely difficult to honor them.  Those of us among the lowly masses seem to be much more sensitized to these informal contracts with heroes.  Maybe this is because we’d much rather be a hero than a hero would want to be us.  If we’re going to put them up on an enviable pedestal, the least they can do is follow basic rules of common decency.

Sometimes, after they’ve fallen, former heroes know they violated the contract.  Tiger Woods admitted as much.  “I knew my actions were wrong but I convinced myself that normal rules did not apply,” he said.  “I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by – I thought I could get away with everything I wanted to.  I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me.  I felt I was entitled.”

Tiger’s confession is consistent with the results of several psychological studies showing that the more power and success that people enjoy, the more they believe they don’t need to play by the same rules as the rest of us.  And yet it is when someone becomes a hero that we most expect them to play by those rules.  For this reason, maintaining one’s heroic status may be just as challenging as becoming a hero in the first place.  Ironically, one of the most common ways to become a villain is to become a hero first.

All because of the deal we strike with our heroes.

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Handbook of Heroism and Heroic Leadership

HeroismHandbookCoversThe Handbook of Heroism and Heroic Leadership represents the first effort to gather scholarship on heroism into one definitive reference volume.

The Handbook showcases scholarly contributions from distinguished social scientists on the topics of leadership, morality, resilience, courage, empathy, meaning, purpose, altruism, hope, human growth, cooperation, spirituality, health, transformation, and character strengths. The volume provides a much-needed consolidation and synthesis for scholars of heroism and heroic leadership.

The Handbook of Heroism and Heroic Leadership features three conceptually distinct sections that reflect the current state of theory and research on heroism and heroic leadership. These sections are Origins of Heroism, Types of Heroism, and Processes of Heroism. The Origins of Heroism section focuses on the formation, causes, and antecedents of heroic action. Types of Heroism addresses phenomena associated with different categories of heroism and how these hero types affect individuals and society. Processes of Heroism examines the functions, processes, and consequences of heroism.

This volume offers insights and inspiration about the pinnacle of human behavior and how leaders can make use of these insights to help their followers reach their fullest potential. The Handbook provides a compelling foundation for the development of a multidisciplinary perspective on the antecedents and consequences of heroic behavior. The Handbook of Heroism and Heroic Leadership shines a scholarly light on all the gifted and enlightened leaders whose behavior has embodied the most exquisite qualities of humanity.

The Handbook is published by Routledge and is now available at Amazon.com.

Table of Contents

Foreword

Philip Zimbardo

Introduction

Setting the Scene: The Rise and Coalescence of Heroism Science

Scott T. Allison, George R. Goethals, and Roderick M. Kramer

Part I

Origins of Heroism

  1. Attributes and Applications of Heroes: A Brief History of Lay and Academic Perspectives

Elaine L. Kinsella, Timothy D. Ritchie, and Eric R. Igou

  1. Why Heroism Exists: Evolutionary Perspectives on Extreme Helping

Sara Kafashan, Adam Sparks, Amanda Rotella, and Pat Barclay

  1. Adaptive Foundations of Heroism: Social Heuristics Push Advantageous Everyday Ethical Behaviors to Heroic Extremes

Gordon T. Kraft-Todd and David G. Rand

  1. The Evolution and Neurobiology of Heroism

Stephanie D. Preston

  1. Character Development and the Emergence of Heroic Leadership: Towards a Relational Developmental Systems-Based Model

Kristina Schmid Callina, Richard M. Lerner, Ettya Fremont, Brian Burkhard, Danielle Stacey, and Shaobing Su

  1. The Moral Character of Heroes

Lawrence J. Walker

  1. Why and How Groups Create Moral Heroes

Ari Decter-Frain, Ruth Vanstone, and Jeremy A. Frimer

  1. The Hero Organism: Advancing the Embodiment of Heroism Thesis in the 21st Century

Olivia Efthimiou

Part II

Types of Heroism

  1. Everyday Heroes: Determinants of Moral Courage

Anna Halmburger, Anna Baumert, and Manfred Schmitt

  1. Heroism in Times of Crisis: Understanding Leadership During Extreme Events

Zeno E. Franco

  1. Holocaust Heroes: Heroic Altruism of non-Jewish Moral Exemplars in Nazi Europe

Stephanie Fagin-Jones

  1. Heroism and Wisdom in Medicine

Margaret Plews-Ogan, Justine E. Owens, Natalie May, and Monika Ardelt

  1. Deviant Heroes and Social Heroism in Everyday Life: Activists and Artists

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Michael Condren, and Izabela Lebuda

  1. To Become or Not to Become? Existential Courage and the Pursuit of Desired Identities

Roderick M. Kramer

  1. Heroism in the Networked Society

Dana Klisanin

  1. A Training Program in Spiritually-Oriented Leadership: Inner Growth for Outer Change

Elsa Lau, Sarah B. Sherman, and Lisa Miller

  1. Career Development and a Sense of Calling: Contexts for Heroism

Bryan J. Dik, Adelyn B. Shimizu, and William O’Connor

  1. Underdogs as Heroes

Joseph A. Vandello, Nadav Goldschmied, and Kenneth Michniewicz

  1. Whistleblowers as Heroes: Fostering ‘Quiet’ Heroism in Place of the Heroic Whistleblower Stereotype
    A J Brown

Part III

Processes of Heroism

  1. The Hero’s Transformation

Scott T. Allison and George R. Goethals

  1. Moral Transformation: The Paths to Heroism, Villainy and Victimhood

Amelia Goranson and Kurt Gray

  1. The Impact of Heroism on Heroes and Observers: Stories of Elevation and Personal Change

Jeanne Nakamura and Laura Graham

  1. Accidental and Purposeful Impediments to Heroism

Craig D. Parks

  1. Heroic Empathy: The Heart of Leadership

Ronald H. Humphrey and Laural L. Adams

  1. Heroic Leaders and Despotic Tyrants: How Power and Status Shape Leadership

Anika Stuppy and Nicole L. Mead

  1. The Intersection of Purpose and Heroism: A Study of Exemplars

Kendall Cotton Bronk and Brian R. Riches

  1. Heroism and the Pursuit of Meaning

Jeffrey D. Green, Daryl R. Van Tongeren, Athena H. Cairo, and Nao Hagiwara

  1. Psychopathy and Heroism: Unresolved Questions and Future Directions

Brett A. Murphy, Scott O. Lilienfeld, and Ashley L. Watts

  1. The Courage of One’s Moral Convictions: Exploring the Two Sides of Heroism

Ronnie Janoff-Bulman and Prerana Bharadwaj

 

Here’s what they’re saying about the Handbook of Heroism and Heroic Leadership:

“Editors Scott Allison, George Goethals and Roderick Kramer have assembled an outstanding team of contributors whose expertise ranges from neurobiology and evolutionary psychology to developmental approaches as well as spirituality, leadership, and career development. In addition to the variety of topics and approaches featured in this volume, readers will appreciate the uniform clarity of the presentations and their engaging style of academic storytelling.”

  • Phil Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University, and Founder of the Heroic Imagination Project

“The study of heroes and exemplars is generating increasing excitement throughout the social sciences at the present time, and for good reason. We live in a time of diminished expectations for moral leadership and true heroism. This innovative Handbook of Heroism and Heroic Leadership draws on the best available science to help us understand the conditions that foster heroic leadership, and how it works across a variety of social contexts. The volume is an essential contribution to the study of human lives in all their full potential.”

  • William Damon, Professor and Director, Stanford Center on Adolescence, author of The Path to Purpose

“Studying heroism is challenging for scientists, yet Allison, Goethals, and Kramer have assembled 30 chapters by knowledgeable authors who explore varied aspects of heroism. The result is a thoroughly impressive volume that surely is the key resource in this developing area of science. Professors could organize an outstanding course or seminar on heroism around these excellent chapters.”

  • Alice Eagly, Professor of Psychology and James Padilla Chair of Arts & Sciences at Northwestern University

“Allison, Goethals, and Kramer’s Handbook marks the emergence of the study of heroes and heroism as a central concern of the social sciences. A handbook in the truest sense, the book’s well-organized and executed chapters—written by leading experts in the field—combine to form a foundation for the study of heroic leadership; they summarize current scholarly thinking, build thematic connections between subareas, suggest novel interpretations and insights, and identify future directions for theory, research, development, and application. This book is a goldmine of information essential for anyone seeking to better understand the ethical, psychology, interpersonal, and spiritual bases of heroism.”

  • Donelson R. Forsyth, Colonel Leo K. and Gayless Thorsness Endowed Chair in Ethical Leadership at the University of Richmond

“This handbook is a comprehensive, informative, and exciting contribution to the literature on heroism and heroic leadership. Material on heroism tends to be scattered in many different places, and it is wonderful to have it at last in one place, in readable and engaging prose. I recommend the handbook most highly.”

  • Robert J. Sternberg, Professor of Human Development, Cornell University

The Grinch: A Villain Makes a Hero’s Journey

tumblr_lwoa32M1pW1qcyr71By Suzanne Lucero

Around this time of year a person might find his or her thoughts turning to a well-known literary character whose ultimate redemption holds hope for even the most hard-hearted of individuals.

I am speaking, of course, of the Grinch.

In the first sentence of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (by Dr. Seuss), we are introduced to the villain of the piece.

Every Who

Down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot …

But the Grinch,

Who lived just north of Who-ville,

Did NOT.

That’s terrible, we think. Who doesn’t like Christmas? A few sentences later, though, we are given the probable reason for the Grinch’s dislike. His heart, you see, is two sizes too small. Suddenly, the Grinch is a tiny bit sympathetic, and we sort-of understand when he declares,

“Why, for fifty-three years I’ve put up with it now!

“I MUST stop this Christmas from coming!

… But, HOW?”’

This is the inciting incident. The Grinch thinks Christmas means noisy toys and feasting and singing, so how does he stop all this from happening? The Grinch comes up with a plan, a “great, grinchy trick,” and puts it into action. In other words, his journey begins.

He begins by making a Santa Clause hat and coat. (He foregoes the snowy-white beard, though. Maybe it itches.) Then he decides grinch+with+doghe needs a reindeer to complete his St. Nick impersonation. For this he enlists his tiny dog, Max. The Grinch ties a horn on top of Max’s head, thereby changing the dog from a mere pet to a minion: Max will be aiding the Grinch by pulling his sled.

The plan starts well. The Grinch has Max pull the sled into Who-ville and proceeds to steal everything from the first house he sees. The only obstacle that presents itself to the Grinch comes in the shape of a child who has woken up to get a glass of water. When she asks why he is taking the Christmas tree, he placates her with a lie and sends her back to bed. The Grinch continues to ransack the village until all the presents, all the decorations, and all the food for the feast is packed into bags, loaded precariously on the sled, and pulled:

Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mt. Crumpet,

He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it.

(You’ve really got to be feeling sorry for Max at this point.)

The Grinch gloats. He’s won! Christmas can’t come, now. Everything is gone and the Whos will all be crying. He pauses to savor his victory and puts his hand to his ear to listen.

And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.

It started in low. Then it started to grow…

But the sound wasn’t sad!

Why, this sound sounded merry!

It couldn’t be so!

But it WAS merry! VERY!

In the hero’s journey, there comes a point where he or she must “enter the cave.” This is the ultimate low point in the story. The hero is alone, either physically or emotionally. Everything he or she has been working for is crumbling and the antagonist has triumphed; the hero is, actually or metaphorically, dead.

This is the Grinch’s cave. This is where he realizes he’s failed.

 He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming.

IT CAME!

Somehow or other, it came just the same.

But How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a hero’s journey, not a morality tale. For all villains, unless they are true psychopaths (which is a medical condition), the cave offers a final chance to redeem themselves. When their defenses have been beaten and they are no longer fighting but only trying to understand why they failed, their hearts can be touched with a little thing called grace.

Then the Grinch though of something he hadn’t before!

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.

“Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!”

That was the elixir the Grinch found in his cave, the piece of him that was missing. He realized that material things don’t bring happiness. Simply being together with those we love is reason enough to sing.

the_grinch_cut_the_first_roast_beast_by_rhetoric_of_sushi-d4jyzdfAnd what happened then …?

Well … in Who-ville they say

That the Grinch’s small heart

Grew three sizes that day.

With this new understanding and (we hope) love in his heart, the Grinch completes his hero’s journey by returning everything he has taken from the Whos and sharing in their celebratory feast.

Merry Christmas everyone.

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Suzanne Lucero is a wife, mother, and pre-published author who knows a little about a lot of things and is constantly learning more. She is passionate about writing and is determined to publish her novel-in-progress within 5 years.

 

 

Chen Si: The Hero Who Offers Hope to Suicide Attempters

GetFileAttachmentBy Kathryn Lynch

Human connections are a fickle and funny thing. Throughout our lifetimes we may pass by thousands of people without giving a second thought to who they are or where they’re going. Yet one simple interaction can completely alter the course of someone’s life. We only have to pay attention.

Chen Si of Nanjing, China is an ordinary man of simple means. In 2003, he was barely able to make a living selling vegetables in a downtown market. It was then he began his daily walk down the Nanjing Yangtze River bridge, the most popular site for suicides on record. China has more deaths by suicide than any other country in the world, at over 280,000 a year — twice the rate of the United States. The first day in 2003 he saved a man’s life after grabbing him from the railing and tackling him to the ground.

After that event, Si took it upon himself to serve as guardian angel to those who wished to end their lives on the bridge. He built a small house next to the entrance to the bridge, where he has lived alone for the past 11 years. Each year Si saves an estimated 144 people.

Throughout his service, he has seen people with problems of all kinds, but all are plagued by the same inescapable pain and hopelessness. GetFileAttachmentAccording to Si, “I know they are tired of living here. They have had difficulties. They have no one to help them.”

But Chen Si’s heroism goes beyond the physical act of saving one’s life. He provides salvation. He gives hope and direction where there is none. One story he remembers is of a woman whose abusive husband left her and her 3-month old child with nothing. She had no education, no job, and no means of caring for the child. She hoped that her death would require her husband to take care of her baby. After convincing her to leave the bridge with him, Si tracked him down and brought his wife and child with him. After the husband spit in his face, Si responded, “I am her brother now. If you ever hurt her again, I am not going to let you get away with it.” The couple left, and Chen hasn’t heard from them again.

There have been countless others. The billionaire who lost everything. The student who couldn’t handle failure. The dreamer who bet it all and lost in the big city. Si has talked to all of them. And while he cannot alter the circumstances that bring them to that point, he feels it is his responsibility to try and put them on a better path. “I always have to tell them there is nothing I can’t solve,” Chen said. “It’s a lie. Yet I have to keep on telling the lie, to make them think things will get better.”

Chen Si teaches us that those at their lowest point in life, those who are so lost that they feel that they will never find their way again, are in the most need of our help. Many of the people on that bridge did not want Chen Si’s kind words and strong hands to pull them back from the edge — GetFileAttachment-1they pushed him away and yelled in his face, content to accept their fate, and did not believe they were worthy of help and compassion.

It is easy to be a hero where there is a hole to fill, where people actively look for someone to protect and care for them and give their love in return. Chen Si’s true heroism lies in his ability to look for those who do not advertise their struggle. Those who have given up hope that a hero will ever appear. Many of us in a similar situation would wonder how to address such a problem of this magnitude, how to save people who have no desire to be saved.

To Chen Si, there is no choice or considerations to make. “There is a saying in China,” he says, “the prosperity of a nation is everyone’s responsibility. How can we all avoid this responsibility?”
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Kathryn Lynch is an undergraduate enrolled in Scott Allison’s Heroes and Villains First-Year Seminar at the University of Richmond. She composed this essay as part of her course requirement. Kathryn and her classmates are contributing authors to the forthcoming book, Heroes of Richmond, Virginia: Four Centuries of Courage, Dignity, and Virtue.