The New York Heroes Society was founded in 2004 by Robert Begley. The organization promotes human flourishing (eudaimonia, as identified by Aristotle) as a way of life. This includes mind-body integration. Our activities range from philosophy presentations to walking tours of NYC and hikes. We celebrate the joy of life.
Why are heroes important? They achieve great things, overcome enormous obstacles, inspire us, and give us role models for our own lives. They supply us with emotional and spiritual fuel, especially in times of doubt or despair. We are the beneficiaries of their accomplishments, even years or centuries after they lived.
About the New York Heroes Society icon
The above statue–Gilliatt and Octopus–was first sculpted by Emile-Joseph Carlier (1849-1927) for an exhibition in 1879. It portrays the most dramatic scene from Victor Hugo’s novel Toilers of the Sea.
Here is my favorite passage from that work:
The overwhelming enterprise, risk, danger, toil multiplied by itself, the possible engulfing of the rescuer by what he was rescuing, starvation, fever, destitution, distress–he had taken all these upon himself alone. Such was his selfishness. . . .
Exhaustion of strength does not exhaust the will. Faith is only a secondary power; will is the first. The proverbial mountains that faith moves are nothing beside that which the will accomplishes. All the ground that Gilliatt lost in vigor, he made up in tenacity. The reduction of the physical man under the repressing action of this savage environment ended in the growth of the moral man.
Gilliatt was not conscious of fatigue, or, more correctly, he would not yield to it. The refusal of the soul to succumb to the weakness of the body is an immense force.
Gilliatt saw the steps by which the work progressed, and saw nothing else. . . . His goal, which he had almost attained, staggered him. He suffered all these hardships without any other thought occurring to him than this: Forward! His work had mounted to his brain. Will intoxicates. One can become intoxicated with one’s own soul. This intoxication is called heroism.