Friday, May 21, 2010

The Ghosts That Haunt Me

The thing about Superman is he is a myth to begin with. And with this in mind, it exists in people's minds as a concept and not as a real person. The point of a "super man" is that if such a person did exist, how might our lives be different?

Well, that is a point I think about. My preferences in life tend toward reality, and yet mythology is reality, too. Superman is a fun concept, I reckon. The realm of imagination, of what can be imagined, is itself a mythological reality. Carl Jung touched on the idea with his "collective unconscious" storyline.

Each one of us is capable of imagining Superman. And since he exists only in our imaginations, we each see "him" differently. Some might imagine him as being close to (but not quite) all-wise and all-powerful, semi-godlike. In any case, he is magical with his "super" powers, extraordinary abilities, things nobody living on earth is capable of doing.

Now Clark Kent, that's a guy who seems real. And this is the part of the Superman storyline that draws us into the idea of Superman as just an ordinary guy in disguise. Speaking of "the thing is," the other (or just another) thing is, when a person imagines that another person could come to possess superhuman powers, the realization dawns that people actually do come to possess "superhuman" powers under some conditions, and this has been demonstrated many times in real life situations: saving a trapped child by lifting weight that, under normal conditions, a person could not possibly lift, for example.

I would attribute this to a positive use of the power generated by fear. In this example, the fear is for the child's life, which the rescuer wants to see continued. In other words, in life-or-death situations, fear can instill supernatural power in a motivated person. But Superman's powers go way beyond that which a normal human being is capable.

But wouldn't any properly (or appropriately) motivated "normal" person be capable of developing powers similar to those extraordinary powers displayed when faced with danger? In other words, can fear be transformed to strength in situations that aren't quite as dire as life-or-death situations?

Yes, of course, for this is a basic tool of even the beginning artist.


Robin said...

Wrote about Superman myself just last month for NaPoWriMo:

Perhaps we should contemplate Wonder Woman next? ;-)

Jenny said...

Hi, Robin! I read your poem and LOVED it! Write on. :)