The Pohakea Heroic Imagination Project (PHIP) was started by Dr. Brian R. Metcalf at Hawai‘i Pacific University (HPU) in September, 2015. Pohakea means "to give forth light” in Hawaiian, and the “Heroic Imagination Project” was founded and is led by legendary psychologist, Dr. Philip Zimbardo. That organization, and our “branch” of it, has the mission to encourage and empower individuals to take heroic action during crucial moments in their lives. We aim to prepare people to act with integrity, compassion, and moral courage, heightened by an understanding of the power of situational forces.
Part of HPU's—and every university’s—basic mission is to continue the preparation of its students to be successful, effective, influential leaders in their communities. Dr. Philip Zimbardo’s “Heroic Imagination Project” and our chapter have dual missions to help you as a “hero in training” and to help you help others and yourself to become “heroes in waiting!”
PHIP is being implemented in Dr. Metcalf's classes, including his sections of PSY 1000: Introduction to Psychology, in a number of ways. Each week, we have discussions about heroism and what it means to us, how we can become more heroic in our everyday lives, and identifying the potential and likely barriers to more heroic behavior in striving to overcome them. One local charitable or service organization is identified each week as an exemplar of an established and effective way people can get involved. And each week, we "pass the hat" (cowl?!) around and gather up what we can to put our money where our mouths are in order to make a modest donation to that particular organization. Maybe some students will opt to get even more involved with them.
We are also exploring the situational factors that sometimes produce "evil" and "inaction" in many, but which also produce "action" and "heroism" in some others. It's not enough to sit around and wait and hope for the best to be produced by those situations; we must instead teach people to recognize the factors and situations and to be ready to behave positively and to be "Heroes in Waiting."
Hence, we are "Heroes in Training" in the Pohakea Heroic Imagination Project in order to be even more than "Heroes in Waiting!"
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