People are coming to understand that and as a consequence they are starting to think about how to respond to this. There's an understanding that if you have an organization that has gone off the rails like this, and is violating the United States Constitution by spying on it's own citizens then the appropriate thing to do is not close ranks, but the appropriate thing to do is blow the whistle as loud as you can. That is the moral thing to do and I think it's very apparent to this generation that this was exactly the right thing to do.
R.K.: And thank goodness we have some very brave, very courageous whistleblowers who are putting their lives on the line. You talk about heroes really, and all these soldiers going over to fight these wars that are corporate inspired and they're nothing compared to the whistleblower heroes as far as I'm concerned.
P.L.: Well, you know I -
R.K.: If a young person wants to be a hero I think what they do is get a job somewhere and find out what's going on and then tell the truth to the world.
P.L.: I get uncomfortable comparing heroism and I don't even like talking about heroes. I mean, I hear what you're saying, to me when Snowden leaked that information, everyone wants to know, is he a hero? Is he not a hero? I don't know if he's a hero because I don't know anything about his life and all I know is that was a heroic act, right? And in a certain sense it shouldn't have even been heroic because it was simply him doing his duty, and so I say let's not worry about who is a hero, let's worry about what our, each of us, what our individual responsibility is.
R.K.: But wait, I'd really like, first of all, -
R.K.: - one, I'm real interested in who is a hero and I've done a lot of work on trying to get my head around Joseph Campbell's idea of the Hero's Journey and the hero archetype and I've had -
R.K.: conversations with smart people about it so I'm not willing to just say I'm not interested in what's a hero, I've really thought a lot about it,
R.K.: and at national meetings but what you said was really important because what is the act of a hero? Now to me, the big thing with a hero is that it always is an ordinary person faced with a situation where they have to make a choice. That's the core of the evolution of a hero. Some people, most people ignore that opportunity and they reject the call to be a hero. A very few take the call and accept it, very often after rejecting it a couple of times or many times and they cross a threshold and it changes their lives forever. That's what a hero is. But it's the act, and that's what you're talking about
R.K.: There are acts that are involved that are courageous and brave and that is the core, essential step that separates everybody else; the people who accept the system from the heroes.
P.L.: I don't have a problem with heroes, per se, I'm just saying that as far as Snowden is concerned, I'm more interested in whether he did the right thing than, for me knowing whether or not he's an actual hero.
Now what is a heroic act then? I gather that's the next question. And to me it's just an act that puts the interest of others ahead of your own interests so it was presumably in Snowden's interest to just shut up and continue being a good contract engineer but he didn't do that, so he put himself at risk and Chelsea Manning put herself at risk because she couldn't take the idea that she was participating in these activities which were, well, in many cases illegal and to me that's the common denominator in all of this, that people are saying, look, my interests say I play by the rules, but I have to think about other people and I think I have to think about the good of them all. So soldiers do this, but also [inaudible 43:44] do this, to me that's kind of the key act.