Wouldn’t it be great if you could just take a pill and become a hero? Imagine if you could turn into a hero at a moment’s notice by popping a pill. Instead of Billy Batson needing to say “Shazam” or Bruce Banner waiting to get angry, you could do it whenever you needed to. That’s a comic book idea for sure.
Slightly less comic-ish is the idea of taking a pill to help you make heroic decisions. What if you could take a pill every day that would enhance the chances of you acting heroically when an opportunity arose?
Phil Zimbardo’s idea of Heroic Imagination promotes exposure to heroic ideas on a regular basis to prepare oneself for such an occasion. By doing the little good things every day, I tell participants of the Hero Workshop that you can become a Hero In Waiting. These ideas ask for you to prepare yourself every day – get into an heroic habit. But what if you’re too busy? What if you can’t be bothered, but you’d really like to do the right thing?
Sean Spence has written a paper on “moral pharmacology”. He argues that medication is already used to in a moral way – especially when used to reduce or remove a behaviour that would be harmful to others. This paper seems to be laying the groundwork for further discussion on developing medication to assist people be more moral. He talks about a medication that could “target and increase a prosocial feeling and behaviour such as ‘kindness.'” Wired magazine asks, would you take a kindness pill?
Would you take a hero pill?