Marvel at the Myth: Why we Need Superheroes

Dark Knight of the Soul.

I leave the theatre.
For a moment,  I am restored. My pupils are dilated.
But In the cold of light the everyday moment, the ecstasy is shattered.
The visions shrivel and implode.   The beautiful illusion evaporates.
I am upset.

But then I remember.  He is an idea. And ideas are are In my actions. In the principles that I manifest.  It has been said that Alexander the Great believed that  we were most alone when we were with the myths.  The Romans were legislators, builders and statesmen par excellence.  The Greek were scientists, poets, philosophers.

icarusWrapped in the struggles of their own situations, the characters of the Greeks were vehicles for the subtlest of truths.  Like DNA base pairs uniting in sequence, they were so much more than the sum of their parts. They were a message to be translated.  They were a constellation of allegorical wisdom, a secret map that could allow one to navigate the stormy seas home.  Sysyphus searches for a reason. Achilles chooses glory over longevity. Icarus flies too high.

But these are archaic images, foreign to the minds of a new generation.

Enter the DC universe, and Marvel at the Myth.  Men and women woven into the world that we live in. Journalists, photographers, soldiers, scientists, professors.  But behind them, and the pomp, the struggles are the same.

And this is why films like Batman Begins and the Dark Knight are so vivid, so visceral.

We taste the guilt that drives every blow that Batman strikes.
We want to see the tears of the flesh. We long for the tears of anguish, the innocence violently ripped away.
We want to rage against the dying of the knight.

As Parker leaves Mary Jane to do what he must , we acknowledge the price that power bestows.  We understand that we must leave what we love in order to truly love it.

We breathe in the grandeur.
We can feel the weight of the chips on the table as Logan rages against the past to carve a future that won’t give way to anything less than an adamantium will.

We doubt in the whole, as Magneto does, and we secretly hope for hope, as Xavier chooses to.  We want to be believe we can, but we’ve been hurt before.

These are humans with purpose. These are men and women of action. Heroes.

Through them vicariously we can witness the physical expression of the drama of our own existences. Their destinies unfold before us in mere moments, casting a brief flash upon the paths that lie shrouded in darkness before us.

Sartre spoke of existence preceding essence. Science and engineering preserve our existence, but do little for our essence.  Like all art, essence is something we manifest, create. To deny the process is to exist, but to do little else.

The principles we uphold, the rules we struggle not to break, the chances that we choose to take, these are our myths.

Mike Deodato Jr Deviant ArtFor our heroes and us, challenges abound. We sense the importance of the mission.
Deeper still, we sense the importance of a mission, any mission.
We breathe in the intoxicating scent of ambition, and our eyes are blinded by the brilliance of their vision.

The metaphor is yours to choose.  It is there for you to create. It is bound up in every image, every sound. It is the essence that you create.

The meanings that we project upon the canvas are all internal, and yet, they reveal themselves in the ways that we conduct ourselves. They determine the battles that we choose.  Every thought, action, choice, virtue stubbornly upheld, all coalesce into grooves upon which the rails of our destiny rides.

So, what’s your story?