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Heroism and the 4th of July
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Dr. Frank Farley  --  Psychologist Dr. Frank Farley -- Psychologist
Philadelphia , PA
Wednesday, July 03, 2019

 

 

Celebrating Personal Life or Death Heroism in America on the 4th of July.

The founding of this nation as we know it required great risk and heroism. It was, after all, born of a Revolution!. And risk-taking has continued as a significant part of the American story. Heroism where one voluntarily risks one's own life for another person, or an idea or cause, is a profound human behavior, and not well understood.It certainly involves risk-taking and usually generosity/altruism. Consider the deep psychology of one person putting their own life on the line to save another who THEY MAY NOT EVEN KNOW!

Frank Farley, Professor at Temple University, Philadelphia, and former President of the American Psychological Association, has studied heroism for decades, proposing there to be 3 main categories: (1) Personal/Situational Heroism (voluntarily jumping into the raging river to save the drowning child); (2) Life-Long Heroism (think M.L.King, Jr., Mother Teresa); (3) Professional/911 Heroes (i.e., military, police, firefighters, EMT's,etc). This category dominates July 4 celebrations..

In a nation that has expressed heroism in so many ways, and has been profoundly influenced by it long before Independence, perhaps ALL FORMS OF HEROISM SHOULD BE CELEBRATED ON JULY 4.

The Personal/Situational heroes among us, the category most difficult to understand,are celebrated especially by the Carnegie Heroes Fund, are awarded a Carnegie Medal, and are identified by the Fund as "A civilian who voluntarily risks his or her own life, knowingly, to an extraordinary degree, while saving or attempting to save the life of another person." In studying these amazing heroes since the first annual awards were given in 1904, Dr. Farley with students Alexandra Angheloiu and Victoria Ramsperger tracked the gender distribution (more males than females), age factors (a slight trend toward older in recent years), with the top five venues for their heroism tending to be--water, burning vehicles, burning buildings, suffocation, and moving vehicles! For more about heroism and its many faces and the influence it has, contact Dr. Farley at frank.farley@comcast.net, or (215)668-7581 mobile.

 
Dr. Frank Farley
Psychologist
Temple University
Philadelphia, PA
215-668-7581