Your Heroes Shouldn’t Be Perfect

ost cultures insist on projecting a 1-dimensional image of themselves onto the annals of history.

You’re either totally good, or 100% bad. You probably got brought up on this ideology, and it likely affects how you judge people even now.

Yet, if someone is inherently, unshakably good — isn’t that a hollow victory? How could they even lose?
Therefore, how could they win?

Infallibility is a pointless goal. Follow whichever religious, non-religious or philosophical doctrine you choose — you’ll never be perfect. So why should your heroes be?

It’s time we tossed this simplistic notion aside, because it’s not real.


Everyone’s peaceful go-to from India. This aged man remains patient and wise, and — on the flip-side — a supporter of honorific suicide.

“Hitler killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs. I believe in hara-kiri. I do not believe in its militaristic connotations, but it is a heroic method. — Gandhi

This chap also seems to think correlation implies causation a little too much.

Hospitals are the instruments that the Devil has been using for his own purpose, in order to keep his hold on his kingdom … If there were no hospitals for venereal diseases or even for consumptives, we would have less consumption, and less sexual vice amongst us. — Gandhi

Photo by on Unsplash

We’ve had STD’s and drugs a lot further back than our history books go — and they go back beyond the creation of specialist hospitals.


As the tale goes, Buddha not only left his wife and child behind when he went on his spiritual journey, he encouraged countless other men to join him in seeking out enlightenment.

So, one need not agree with every choice and idea professed by the old boy to still find treasure in this Practice. There were other likely “clunkers” too (so much superstition and nonsense in parts of the old teachings). So long as the Buddha was 90% right, and right on all the central points … it is fine if he made some needless and ill informed calls on the rest. — Jundo,

I love this quote. As long as Buddha was 90% right, he’s still the savior in my book. That’s more like it.


Socrates was accused of “impiety” and “corrupting the young” in 399BC — charges many historians think were invented by his prejudiced fellow citizens — and was required to perform his own execution by consuming hemlock.

Photo by Giammarco Boscaro on Unsplash

Most of Socrates’ thoughts are preserved in Plato’s work. But even the Philosophy scholars of today seem to think he brought a lot of this on himself.

“Socrates wanted to be some kind of martyr for philosophy,” Professor Hobbs continued. “According to Plato, he gives an incredibly arrogant speech in court, saying, ‘far from punishing me, they should be so grateful for the way I have helped them cleanse their souls, they should give me free meals for the rest of my life’.” — Professor Hobbs, Warwick University


Jesus Christ

Oh no, not the God of America! Who came from, you know, The Middle East. I hope you realize I waded through a whole load of borderline-fanatic websites to dish the dirt on ol’ Jeezy. People doing insane mental arithmetic to prove that Jesus was infallible, yet choose to be a human, yet was divine, yet liked homosexuality, yet obviously had to disagree with it because of that book what was written. (followed by a link to an article entitled 5 ways to love your gay neighbor.)

God created humans to engage in sex only within the arrangement of marriage between a male and a female. (Genesis 1:27, 28; Leviticus 18:22; Proverbs 5:18, 19)


William was a druggy.

Researchers at a forensic laboratory in South Africa have examined fragments of 24 clay tobacco pipes dating from the early 17th century in the area where Shakespeare was born and lived. A number of these came from the grounds of his house.Traces of cannabis were found in eight of the pipes, nicotine in one and cocaine in two. — Karl Quinn, The Sydney Morning Herald

Photo by Till Kraus on Unsplash

Shakespeare fled Stratford after he got in trouble for poaching deer from local squire Thomas Lucy, then wrote a scurrilous ballad about him in one of the first recorded instances of shade.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣 秀吉, March 17, 1537 — September 18, 1598)

Seen as the Napoleon of Japan, this Samurai legend from the Sengoku Period rebuilt and financed the temples of Kyoto and is generally seen as the guy who unified Japan again.

He also ordered the execution of 26 Christians in Japan, got his tea-master to commit ritual suicide and decapitated a few chaps, if that’s what you’re into.


A rich kid lost his parents, grew up in a mansion looked after by a kind old man. Then he went AWOL, came back and lived the playboy lifestyle with an arsenal of weapons to stylishly smack criminals over the head with.

And we might say this is justified as the criminal web under Gotham was financially powerful, massive and well-equipped. The police were useless. They needed someone with money. But did he flipping earn that shit? Nope.

Photo by Marco Xu on Unsplash


Santa Claus

I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus, underneath the mistletoe last night.

There’s no smoke without fire, that’s all I’m saying.

Our Heroes Have Never Been Perfect

Again — I’m not saying any of these people are bad. They’re fallible and yet they’re still heroes to people all over the world.

Is it not in everyone’s best interests that ‘being like a hero’ is within reach for us poor, average people? (I mean, those of us without capes.) So when the people we revere put a proverbial foot in their mouth or have a bit of a dodgy history, we can relate to them.

They become heroes not from never making a mistake, but from doing good despite not being perfect. Surely that’s more heroic?

Psychology Researcher interested in Personality Disorders / ASD / Forensics. I love Science and Science Fiction, but I get most excited when they meet.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store