There is something noble about dedicating your life to an ideal you won’t see realize in your lifetime. You voluntarily expose yourself to an ordeal and endure suffering so that the next generation might have a better life.

So many great figures in history did that. We get to learn about them in school. History books tend to obscure their flaws and show them defiant, impervious to ridicule.

Some of them had families, which if you are to believe your school books, supported their life of sacrifice. That’s where you start losing me, thought. It’s very hard for me to believe that if one of those heroes had a child, the kid didn’t resent the fact that his dad was going off to fight in a war or that his mom was spending all day in jail because she protested in the streets.

Was their role in history really selfless or more like incidentally they were thrown into the spotlight?

I am not minimizing their efforts. Certainly all right and liberties that we take for granted today are owed to them, but despite their faiths and ideals I do wonder. Wouldn’t their families give them brief for choosing to spend time fighting for justice but not being there for their loved ones?

It’s going to be a bit of shaky transition, but let’s look at the individuals without families. If they were so noble in their sacrifice, are those of us who search for a better life for ourselves without immediate family plans less noble because of it?

Is happiness a noble ideal, a side quest or a selfish wish?

Let me set the stage properly here. I’m not talking about the junkie looking for his next fix, I am not talking about the bachelor looking for his next one night stand, I am talking about the person who will seek a better life for him by studying to become a professional and seeking comfort and security. Is he/she selfish?

Definitely no history books will be written of him.

But even the patriotic figures behind those books somehow managed to have families and loved ones and even children. As selfless as school education would have us believe they were, they had to do something at some point you barely hear of: they had to compromise part of their lifes while somehow having something of a life. They probably got some grief for that too.

That’s why I tend to identify with a lot of villains from comics and movies. They might be just looking out for themselves, but boy a lot of them seemed to be happier doing it. Then there’s the somber, selfless hero who endlessly feels guilt and remorse. Circumstances, which I usually see as providence (divine justice), intervene to make the hero save the day and the villain perishes in some gruesome manner. And I can’t help but side with the dark side sometimes.

Not that I even enjoy causing pain and suffering, but spare me the guilt over things I have no control or responsibility over. Yes, there are places in the world scarred by war and poverty. I will donate to a worthy cause. What I do NOT like is when someone tries to make me feel guilty about it. Should I throw my life away and run over there to get shot or suffer the same fate?

Noble is a good description in a history book. I want to be happy.