Monday, June 14, 2010

Super Control Freak

This is probably one of the reasons why people like superheroes and want to be a superhero...control. In The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda chides Luke, "Control! Control! You must learn control!" Luke "feels" the force, but he can't control it to get the desired result. In many ways, we're striving for the same goal: control over our environment and our lives so that we can get the desired result.

Maybe your favorite hero can tell you something about yourself and your goals. Let's look at just a few:

Superman. Except for kryptonite and magic, Superman is vulnerable to very few things. True, he has his limitations, at least as compared to the Silver Age Superman who could move planets through space just by pushing them, but he's still the strongest guy around. Superman is often depicted as a "savior-like" character from another planet come to Earth to save us from ourselves, but I've known people who see him as just an extension of our desire to solve our problems by overwhelming them with force.

If something is in your way, you can just push it out of the way, crash through it, burn through it or fly over it. No need to be subtle. All that power and muscle and a bright blue and red suit can let you do just about anything.

I'm not trying to capture the essense of Superman as such, but the more "obvious" reasons why we want to be like Superman...few things can hurt us and we can knock over just about anything. No worries.

Green Lantern. Like Superman, he's kind of a boy scout. "No evil shall escape my sight". The original GL Corps was a bunch of interstellar police officers assigned by the Guardians to enforce whatever "law" the little blue guys decided to apply to the various space sectors within their jurisdiction. If you're rule bound and want to overcome "lawlessness" with will and a "magic" ring, then GL is the hero for you.

Batman. Definitely not a boy scout, but still has the same idea. Overwhelm lawlessness with force...and be scary doing it. Instead of wearing a bright costume and working by the light of day, if you want to be as dark or darker than whatever you want to control, Batman is your hero. You've got all the money in the world but you're never happy. There's always that secret hurt you nurse inside. Rather than seeking help and getting past the pain, it's the pain that drives you to do amazing and sometimes sinister things. You are probably one of the smartest guys around, but that's twisted, too. As much as you'd like to give up the mantle of the bat, face has you. You'll never give up.

Wonder Woman. This is sort of unfair, since she's really the expression of all the sexual fantasies of all the male artists who've ever drawn her. Bigger than life...bigger than the biggest triple-D cup...a woman who almost would have to be a dominatrix because no ordinary man could "tame" her. She's the woman who guys want to be tied up by, with that golden lasso what makes you tell the truth (about how bad you've been...and how much you need to be punished...and...). Wonder Woman is a guy's desire to be controlled and have a blast doing it. Most women say a bust size like that just gives them backaches.

There are a lot more heroes we could cover, but except for Wonder Woman (no woman really fantasizes about being her, do they?), we can see a pattern. Being a superhero at it's most basic level means having strength to control an externalized "bad guy". In Batman's case, there's a certain amount of control by being smart, but in the end, you still get to beat your opponent to a pulp.

Look at your own life for a second. Chances are, there are some things (or people) over which you'd like to take control. Chances are, there are some things you feel you have no control over at all. A simple example is how you'd really like to respond to the driver who cuts you off during your commute to work. Think of anything that frustrates you in life. How would you like to deal with it if you could? How would you like to deal with it if you had "the power"? Is this one reason we like our superheroes...because they can control things in a way we can only dream of?

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