24 12 2008

I was re-watching Kill Bill Part II last week for what felt like the hundredth time, and whilst I was sat there thinking that the second offering is in many ways inferior to the first, I am always fascinated by Bill’s monologue towards the end where he critiques Superman as a character. Whilst it is simply a vehicle to air the views of Tarantino, the monologue raises some interesting thoughts.

I returned to thinking about Superheroes this afternoon as I drifted in and out of sleep, following yet another early start at work. They are such interesting things, they are not simply ‘heroes’ but there is something extra-ordinary about them. They are, in effect, what we would have created had we created ourselves. The ability to fly, the ability to move at super-speeds, or have incredible strength, or to stop time or anything else you can consider would have made this world of ours a hugely different place. There would be less need for vehicles, thus less carbon emmissions from cars or lorries. There would be less need for industrialisation (born, in reality, out of a need to mass produce things with various metals in), as anyone with super strength could bend the metal, and anyone with flame-power could melt it.

Above all though, super-heroes are what people aspire to be like. As a species we want to make a difference, those who argue against global warming use such a line to explain that such occurrances happen anyway, and that it is an incredibly self-centred thing to think that we are making a significant impact (I don’t really buy such an argument). Humans want to help people, they want to do good and make an impact on the world around them. They also want to be different, take hippies, goths, and the like who try to be different as examples of this. No-one aspires to be the sheep in the crowd. This is, I believe the state of the human in its purest form.

Yet somewhere this has been corrupted, broken and altered. The humans that we see in the shops approaching Christmas are not ones who care for the people around them, they are cut-throat self-centred sheep. They know what they want, and care little for those around them. They would do nothing to stand out from the crowd. The people who insist on vandalising public property are not good examples of the human race. Those who steal, con or attack are deviations, corruptions, of the human race. No-one aspires to be a thief when asked the question when they are ten. Yet somewhere between the ages of innocence and experience the person is broken. It happens in any social circle too. Laziness, a bad trait in itself, is now recognised as part and parcel of our society. People want the maximum output from the minimum effort. People want to take the esculator instead of the stairs, people want to take the quickest route to somewhere, people want answers in front of them when they ask the questions (hence, I suppose, the internet).

The human, in the modern world, has been morphed into something further and further from the superhero we would like to be. Heroes, in society are also more infrequent than we would like to think, hence why there is always news coverage when they do emerge. We have created a world where laziness is encouraged, rewarded, and promoted. We are constantly looking for the easiest or quickest way to do things, why sail across the sea in five weeks when you can fly in 20 hours? Why take a horse when you can drive in half the time? As history has gone on we have strived to find quicker, easier ways of doing things, and whilst this could be praised as technological development, the reality is that it is slowly corroding the part of the human that desires to be the superhero with the super powers. We call it comfort in our society (using a TV remote rather than manually changing the channel), but this is a self-deceiving word for laziness.

The trouble is that there is no escaping from the reality, unless you indulge yourself in escapist notions of superheroes in capes flying the skies, or bad guys with insanely crippling deformities trying to get back at the world for the rough hand they have been dealt.

I’m left wondering if it is some sort of sadistic catch-22. In aspiring to make the world better and realise human potential, we are slowly having the opposite effect, and whilst our technological innovations are brilliant, they naturally have a cost. The human, it seems, is destined to go on trying to improve its lot whilst simultaneously destroying itself somewhere else.

A cheery Christmas thought for you. Have a good Christmas period.




One response

7 01 2009
Eduardo Ghost

Yes, that’s absolutely true, last year when I’ve presented my dissertation at the University, about human evolution, I’ve attacked the Darwinian system, because it starts from the idea that a living being adapt itself more and more growing better and better, thing that for humans regards their brain. But my attack was supported by the convinction that in spite of all the rest of the animal kingdom we didn’t grow in intelligence, on the contrary we used our intelligence (which has always been the same according to me) in order to accustom ourselves more and more, which doesn’t improve our lives just make them more passive and empty, emptyness which will bring us all to death one day. So intelligence to man is counterproductive and demolishes the meaning itself of the word “Evolution”.

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