Exemplary Saints or “Batman vs Superman”

The most potent lesson we can take from the lives of Saints is that we also have the same potential for greatness. They were human beings like we are and achieved great things and bore great tragedies in their lives with strength and dignity. What makes them powerful is that they were not great personages but rather the best Saints were little “nobodies” and we can surely identify with the underdog. Many Saints were awful sinners before some transformative experience. Likewise, I really don’t appreciate people who try to remove Jesus‘ humanity. I have always felt that it is exactly the fact that Jesus was a human being that makes him so wonderful. I give you a fun example from the mundane to illustrate my point:

When I was young I loved Superman. He was amazing and had a variety of spectacular superpowers. However, he was an alien to this planet and our yellow sun gave him these powers. As I matured, I realized that Superman was morally bound to help out. Of course, his other options are to do nothing or to use his powers for personal and/or evil gains. The reason I say he is morally bound is because he has these powers that make him (practically) invulnerable to harm and he is personally equipped with all the powers not only to thwart a robbery but equally to save us from planetary destruction; however, never at any personal expense to himself. Who knows, he might even be moved to action out of pity or guilt. Please remember, Superman’s alter-ego is Clark Kent.

Batman on the other hand, is a real hero. Why? Because he doesn’t actually have to do anything. Sure he’s motivated a little out of his own feelings of personal revenge but so what? Bruce Wayne should in every likelihood be a spoiled, decadent rich guy. What makes him a powerful example is that he chooses not to be, in fact he chooses quite the opposite. Batman is a regular, mortal (yet wealthy) human being who undertakes to do practically all the things Superman does but without superpowers. It requires from him great personal discipline, training and sacrifice (somehow I doubt Superman spends time doing push-ups). Not to mention the expense for his equipment and physical injuries. Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego is Batman. We can identify with the frailty and faults of Bruce Wayne/Batman as fellow imperfect humans thereby making him a better and more potent example of how we too can achieve great things in our live

Super-human boyscout – Imperfect hero

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jbilodo
    Nov 15, 2012 @ 09:30:33

    I always felt that these characters “alter ego”s were telling.

    I think Superman is closer to what I’d want as a moral exemplar, though both reflect a (stereotypically) American perspective on identity and social action.

    Clark is rural and decent, humble and sensitive. What makes his special is genetic, an accident of his birth. Outwardly normal, his status as an alien is hidden and he can pass as “normal” but to remain true to his beliefs and responsibilities he is forced to out himself over and over. What he wants is to fit in. He is conflicted

    Bruce is urban and sophisticated. What makes him special comes from his own work and training. He is forced to conceal his identity to effectively fight the corruption he sees in “his town”, through intimidation and violence. What he is defending is the normative social hierarchy that Bruce, as an elite corporate executive, sits atop. His vision is of a city without crime… not without poverty or without inequality… just without “corruption” as though there is a pure order.

    I dunno, friend, I think Bruce Wayne is more than “imperfect” I think he’s a symbol of a dangerous and oppressive social order, center on the narcissism of rich white dudes and their anger at threats to their power.

    Reply

    • Sri Satchmo
      Nov 16, 2012 @ 16:13:09

      John, I agree with most of what you have written; Superman has the more polished moral standard. I didn’t mean for a character study of the two caped crusaders, I was only using the Batman and Superman in reference to the Saints, specifically that it is easier to identify with a human being than a god-like hero.

      Outside of my discussion, you raise a interesting point about the setting of their respective upbringings (simple rural vs sophisticated urban) that I had never considered, thanks.

      Reply

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