Standing up for what’s right

The Holocaust. The Rwandan genocide. Abu Ghraib. Lynchings of Americans because they were black. Somalia. Bosnia. Everyday, ordinary people can do horrible things.

They can also be heroes. The Stanford prison experiment revealed how quickly ordinary people entered into their roles as prison guards and prisoners. Now one of the experimenters, Philip Zimbardo, and co-author Zeno Franco examine whether there is a “banality of heroism”—a seed lying within each of us that can be cultivated—as a positive corollary to the “banality of evil”.

They examine individual heroes and call for cultivation of the idea of heroism within each of us, so we can imagine ourselves acting when we must.

How can we foster a heroic imagination in ourselves and in our children to prepare them for the day when we have to stand up for what’s right, regardless of the cost?