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  • Hero complex

    What I mean by hero complex is that you can't help yourself when you see someone else in trouble. Is it our natural instinct to help people even if it means endangering our own lives. I have heard many people say that they did it without thinking. I wonder if that is the case most of the time. Or do people weigh the options and realize what might be safe and what might kill them. I guess we never really know until we are in that situation. In the heat of the moment I would think that you would do what your mind makes you as you would not have time to weigh the consequences.

  • #2
    I think it really would depend on the situation that I was faced with. You have to protect yourself first before you can help someone else. It may sound cold, but you are not going to do the other person any good if you fall victim to the disaster also. You have to assess the situation and make sure there is nothing that is going to harm you.

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    • #3
      It's difficult to estimate how you will react in an emergency situation. I think that most people have an overwhelming urge to help another person in need, but in reality, when faced with a life threatening situation a split second decision can change everything forever. Instinct will tell you to protect yourself first, but sometimes you simply know that you could never live with yourself anymore if you didn't do everything possible to save another person's life, and that includes putting your own life at risk.

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      • #4
        I think "hero complex" refers to someone who takes risks to save someone knowing they will get attention for it because they like the attention. A lot of heroic things are done without considering the risks because when it's your family, your friend, you just do it. Sometimes. People will do it for a stranger as well. But someone with a hero complex is different in that they see the emergency as an opportunity to be the hero.

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        • #5
          I read a study once that showed that more US fire fighters die in fires and emergency situations than any other country (something like 8 times as many) and they linked it to the "hero" mentality. Where other countries teach their fire fighters to think before acting and they weigh the risk to themselves, American's are more likely to just "rush in". So, when you ask if it's human nature, I would say that it's more like "nurture", that we would like to see ourselves as heroic and we teach these values to our children. Where other cultures probably teach more "thought over action" (does that make sense??).

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          • #6
            I agree that is impossible to know how you will react until you are in that situation. Its easy to look from the outside but when its happening, you really won't know until you are in that place. I would hope that I would do what is in the best interest of everyone. The human brain seems to be designed to save oneself from danger. But there is some other part the brain that seems to be designed to help our fellow man.

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            • #7
              Some people can't help but jump in despite knowing that it might be all for naught. Imagine a child drowning in a river, but even if a person can't swim he would still try because its really hard to just sit around and watch someone get hurt and even die before your eyes.

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              • #8
                I think the person who has the "hero complex" solely acts on impulse and they don't take into consideration if it's actually feasible to save someone's life or not. I guess they couldn't just stand there and do nothing, especially if they care about the person. I think it's human sympathy and emotion kicking in despite the odds.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DancingLady View Post
                  I think "hero complex" refers to someone who takes risks to save someone knowing they will get attention for it because they like the attention. A lot of heroic things are done without considering the risks because when it's your family, your friend, you just do it. Sometimes. People will do it for a stranger as well. But someone with a hero complex is different in that they see the emergency as an opportunity to be the hero.
                  This is true, but not the only form it takes. Doctors and other types of care giverss can be afflicted too, thinking they have to save everybody. It's what drives vigilantes. There are also people who are so extreme in their quest to be the hero that they create emergencies in order to rescue people from them. While it can apply to the average Joe, or the fire fighter who rushes into a burning building, there are negative aspects as well. This is especially true when it's about attention seeks, like you described. These people will even sometimes get in the way of first responders, which can lead to more harm than good at times.

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                  • #10
                    The hero complex is more in depth then someone being self sacrificing. In times of great distress, especially if they effect groups of people in a close area, there will be a tendency for these people to look for someone to give them direction. Unfortunately the "hero" may not be a person adequately educated or prepared to make decisions in the best interest of everyone present. I can give you a recent real life example.

                    This region has been hit very hard by both snow and extreme cold. So much so that just snow removal has been not only on-going but has also involved bringing in heavy equipment to do the job. The extreme temperatures with the snow amounts has started resulting in severe ice formation. Concerned residents of a apartment complex are home and afraid and start to share their worries with the Block Club President. One worry is that certain sidewalks were not being shoveled. The Block Club President lacking proper understanding on why this decision was made demands this work be done immediately. The Block Club President believes he is making a good decision for the benefit of the community, he however lacks enough information to understand why a decision is made to do this in the first place. The Block Club President has acted in a "hero complex" frame of mind that could prove both costly and detrimental to the community because of lack of understanding. It is not ego driven, and it is not about a conscious personal gain. It is just a misguided effort to make a difference in a very difficult and stressful time. Inadvertently the Block President is getting in the way of the people best suited to deal with the best course of action for the circumstances.

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                    • #11
                      You're talking about regular idealistic human beings with well-developed hearts. There are people like that, but trust me, there's also such a thing as the Genovese syndrome. This isn't a disease but an extreme form of apathy. The kind of apathy that may cause society to fall apart. Many may have already forgotten Kitty Genovese, a New York city resident who was stabbed to death by an unstable man right in front of her apartment. She cried for help so many times but all her cries fell on deaf ears. Her next door neighbors simply looked on as the killer continued to stab her. Everyone knew what was happening to. One neighbor called the police but it was already too late. The policemen said that had the neighbors informed them earlier, they could have apprehended the killer but apparently, the person who called only wanted the "noise" to end. This isn't to burst your bubble but sadly, if there are people with a hero complex, there are likewise people who suffer from extreme apathy. And from the looks of it, they need help.

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                      • #12
                        I'm going to speak for people that aren't in the health and rescue field. Speaking for myself, I tend to help my fellow man without thinking much about the consequences. It's just that way I was raised. If I know in my heart that what I am about to do is right and will help another person, then I'll do it.

                        Now there are people out there that I have witnessed first hand that are the polar opposite. When something goes down, the first thing they say is, "lets go before the police show up". That bothers me. Someone is in distress and all you think about is running away. If you aren't going to jump on to the mix of things, then at least call 911 emergency.
                        fcphdJim likes this.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by vinceasneed View Post
                          What I mean by hero complex is that you can't help yourself when you see someone else in trouble. Is it our natural instinct to help people even if it means endangering our own lives. I have heard many people say that they did it without thinking. I wonder if that is the case most of the time. Or do people weigh the options and realize what might be safe and what might kill them. I guess we never really know until we are in that situation. In the heat of the moment I would think that you would do what your mind makes you as you would not have time to weigh the consequences.
                          Altruism has been found to be beneficial to most social animals, including people. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altruism_%28biology%29

                          But there is that other end of the spectrum where people think that helping is moot and I think that's just apathetic and inhuman, but apparently I'm wrong. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect

                          Bystander effect is when someone gets hurt in a crowd and nobody comes to help. It's pretty depressing to think about but most humans have that quality. Anyway, helping someone without thinking about it is fine, I guess. I would like to live in a world where it's to be expected.

                          Saying that, I would also like to say that I'm reserving my praise and admiration for those brave men and women who knowingly put their lives at risk to save their fellow man: first responders, EMS, firefighters, our boys in blue, etc.

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                          • #14
                            I wonder how many people only do these things because they feel socially obliged to, and fear the shame of being found out afterwards. Personally I would never endanger myself and only help when it is safe for me to do so. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

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                            • #15
                              Thats a good question Hedonologist. I am sure many people do it as to not to be criticized later. And on top of that, if they help and are successful in helping, they will receive acclaim. I am sure that there is a good number that do. I would not think it is a high number though. At least I would hope not. The faster the response during disasters, the better and most people probably don't have time to weigh all those factors in. They probably react out of instinct first and then in hindsight realize the danger.

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