There was a time in my childhood where I had no power in my house for around 3 months. It's a complicated situation to explain, but that's neither here nor there. All I had was a candle and a stack of comic books. I'd read about Uncle Ben dying and Spiderman realizing he had the power to stop it. I'd read about Magneto aggressively fighting for mutant rights, and Professor X passively advocating for them. I'd read about Superman deciding if he should come out of retirement after mankind pushed him away in favor of vigilante justice. It was fantastic and the stories were powerful enough to leave a lasting impression on my views philosophically even today, almost 25 years later.
I look at the world, and where it is today, and I'm confused. In the past, it was always good vs bad, heroes vs villains, right vs wrong. Morality, nobility, chivalry, these were all things that were just expected and accepted. These days, I feel like the lines are blurred. It's exacerbated by the fact that as soon as we open up our email, unlock our phone, or turn on the TV we're bombarded with "this is right." I suppose it's always been that way, but I think the difference is that now you have it in your face 24/7. Alas, when I get confused, I feel the best thing is to go back to basics. Find your starting point and try again.
For me, this starting point morally is from superheroes. My father wasn't around. My mother worked 2 jobs. So I had superheroes. But what makes a superhero, a Superhero? Is it morality? Is it justice? Is it doing things for the greater good? At what point do they cross the line? When do the good become the bad?
"With great power comes greater responsibility."
This was told to Spiderman by his Uncle Ben shortly before he was murdered. Spiderman scoffed at his uncle. His uncle just didn't understand. He had the power to do things his way and the ends justified the means. Shortly after he let past a crook he saw stealing money from a man he didn't like, this crook murdered his uncle. This left a lasting impression on him. Although the man who was stolen from was a jerk, he still realized that if he had used his power, his uncle would still be alive. This cause/effect rationale would be the foundation of what we know Spiderman as today, our Friendly Neighborhood @BORTZ erm....Spiderman.
With great power comes greater responsibility......How often do you think those in power reflect that statement? To avoid getting political, Harvey Weinstein comes to mind. Everyone knew and no one stood up. No one said they'll risk throwing it all away to save one woman...... or all of them....
Moving on, lets look at events unfolded in Captain America's Civil War storyline. While the movie touched on the general notions of the books, it didn't quite grind into the philosophical aspects of it. On one hand, you had Captain America advocating for an individuals rights to remain separate from the government based on individual sovereignty. On the other side you had Iron Man advocating for a superhuman registration program to document and log all known super-powered individuals and their identities to help avoid future catastrophes. This is a moral dilemma. How do you decide between that? They're both heroic in nature, and quite adept at displaying the qualities mentioned above, but here they just don't see eye to eye, and I can't say I could 100% pick a side. I lean towards individuality and sovereignty, but safety is important too.
In the end I think what makes a superhero a Superhero, isn't any of the qualities above. It's simply the "Hero" part combined with out of this world abilities. We see heroes everyday and we take them for granted. Our teachers that care enough to stay late to help you grasp a subject, our parents that love us enough to go work in a personal hell, our friends that'll be there for us through thick and thin no matter what people say. These people make those choices and take those actions everyday. It's intrinsic to their character. Alas my friends, we can all be a hero to somebody....maybe even a Superhero in some cases.
You need to be logged in to comment