Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Nicholas Fulford (#8 TR): Superman a God Amongst Men (Installment one)
“Show them their possibilities, but never choose their path for them. They must advance on their own, find their own way, make their own mistakes, conquer their fears and hatreds, and create their own history” – Jor-El (Superman Returns 2006)
Superman is one of the greatest, if not the most popular superhero in all of pop culture. The prefix “super” is Latin for “above/beyond.” Combine that with the suffix “man,” the word Superman literally means “above/beyond man.” The origin and concept of Superman has relatively stayed the same. Kal-El (Superman’s birth name) is sent to the planet Earth before his home planet of Krypton meets its inventible destruction. Eventually Superman crash lands in rural Kansas and is raised by the Kent’s. What makes Superman so special is this very popular quote by British Parliament politician John Emerich Edward, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” In the case of Superman, this quote is extremely false.
Superman’s powers have overwhelmed several named gods throughout the years, yet he is not worshiped (In some cases many are against his intervention). Superman has the power to conquer galaxy’s singlehandedly, but does not do so. Superman has the capabilities to control Earth under an iron fist (As seen in the series Injustice: The Regime), but refuses even if it stops all conflict. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche is famous for the concept of the “Übermensch,” or “Super-man.” The Übermensch is described in A Little History of Philosophy as someone who is not held back by morals, but seeks to create new values. Nietzsche rejects the “slave mortality,” and believes power is the ultimate goal. Ironically the Superman we come to love is the complete opposite of the Superman Nietzsche believes in. Superman believes in the power of kindness and choice, and refutes the ideology of “might is right.”
Superman may be god amongst men, but sees himself as a Shepard amongst sheep.
A Little History of Philosophy (PG171-175) - Nigel Warburton