We can be Homeric heroes.

Greek Gods were anthropomorphic, with human shape and human passions. In the old days, they used to behave like immortal humans, like spoilt little children who never grew old or bore any responsibility or duty. They did not perish if they fought in a battlefield, and they could spend the eternity partying, drinking, having fun, enjoying whimsical love affairs, having sex disguised as animals or weather elements with the object of their desire, be it human or divine.

On the other hand, Homeric heroes share some features with heroes in traditional Greek mythology, such as areté – excellence – which makes our Homeric hero brave and virtuous, he is also more human than the previous specimens, and thus he must suffer and die and not even his Gods can intervene in order to avoid that fact. And that is exactly the seed, the core and the essence of his heroism; what makes human goals different from those of the Gods? Death. It is the certainty of our demise which leads us, humans. Gods can waste their time with their nectar and ambrosia, because they are immortal, but humans? Given that human life is limited, the hero must seize his life to the limit through action. He knows his life must come to an end, it is ephemeral, but when he does so, he shows his attachment to something which transcends life, something that Gods cannot experience. And it is not that he is being rewarded in afterlife, achieving heroic deeds will not be rewarded outside itself. Homer dismissed the traditions of the Elysian Fields or the Island of the Blessed as a reward, and his heroes just died, their only reward consisting of being remembered after their death, although they would not be there to be conscious of it. There were no such thing as an afterlife reward in Homer.

When you are conscious of your own disappearance from the face of Earth, the smallness of your existence in the immensity of the Cosmos, in the aeons of time – like one day in a thousand years – , when you are ill and you know that you have a deadline and your time is running out, when you are old and your friends and acquaintances die around you, remember: nothing makes you different from a Homeric hero…