The hero is commonly the simplest and obscurest of men.
(Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Walking" (1862), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 5, p. 224, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
This observation ends a long meditation on the Rhine versus the Mississippi, as they symbolize, respectively, the chivalric age of mediaeval Europe and the heroic age of modern, democratic America.)
(Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 1, p. 288, Houghton Mifflin (1906).)
The ordinary man is as courageous and invulnerable as a hero when he does not recognize any danger, when he has no eyes to see it. Conversely, the hero's only vulnerable spot is on his back, and so exactly where he has no eyes.
(Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 2, p. 334, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). Human, All-Too-Human, "Man Alone With Himself," aphorism 572, "The Origin of Courage," (1878).)
He was ... a degenerate gambler. That is, a man who gambled simply to gamble and must lose. As a hero who goes to war must die. Show me a gambler and I'll show you a loser, show me a hero and I'll show you a corpse.
(Mario Puzo (b. 1920), U.S. novelist. Fools Die, ch. 2 (1978).
Referring to Jordan Hawley.)
I have always been a friend to hero-worship; it is the only rational one, and has always been in use amongst civilized peoplethe worship of spirits is synonymous with barbarismit is mere fetish.... There is something philosophic in the worship of the heroes of the human race.
(George Borrow (1803-1881), British author. An elderly individual, in Lavengro, ch. 23 (1851).)