Hypothetical Heroes & The Totem of Fear, short – 6 January 2015

Think back, if you would, to any of the innumerable tragedies that have befallen any group of people. Now, picture the celebration for the hero who would have done something to stop it, cheered on for doing nothing, nothing, that is, except firmly affixing the blame – someone the hypothetical hero needs to be the bogeyman, as someone must stand trial in evaluation of the hypothetical king, the hypothetical must give the jury the right person to hold responsible, make it nice and tidy and simple, and if the totem best represents the fear of the kingmakers, the hypothetical hero will be made the king of 20/20, the emperor of almost, the sovereign lord of maybe.

In the wake of any tragedy, two groups will emerge: one seeking to make it less likely to happen again, the other seeking to show how it could have been prevented. And whenever any group is formed, there will be a few jostling for power at the top and, knowing the greater majority will seek to follow, so seek to sure up their claim for the top by getting more support from others at the bottom, hoping that the support beneath them adds up to a taller column than what other potential leaders have gathered.

Sometimes the hopeful higher-ups can be talked into a higher low position, if they add their column bearers to the others’ power column. This lets someone who wants to be on top spare themselves the indignity of being on bottom, or being thought of as beneath anyone. Still, people are not won over so easily.

If you wish to be someone’s hero, first you must give them a villain, or create one, look into their hearts and find what scares them the most. Then you turn that into a galvanizing totem of fear. Once you have potential column bearers afraid, to become their king, you have to play the hero by convincing them that everything will work out, even when they don’t, because you’re on the tallest column, taller than the totem of their fears.

The last thing you have to do – and this is crucial – is convince the column bearers that if they remain underneath it, the bottom will look just like the view from the top. If you can convince someone that up is down and down is up, they’ll make you king.

Hypothetically.

The question remains, however, what drives similar people to make such wildly dissimilar choices – that of wishing to be on top of the column or to support one? Comfort – the need to be protected or safe manifest in different ways, distinctly different: to be Caesar or have the honor of serving the great protector Caesar.

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