Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Of Batmen and Supermen

In Batman whenever the help of the caped crusader is needed the commissioner or chief of police would switch on a huge searchlight which illuminated the clouds with the bat symbol. In minutes the hooded man in black would be at the scene giving likewise hooded men a taste of his knuckles. Superman, without contest a far superior bloke, on the other hand has no walkie talkie or cell phone or anything with which he could be reached. As luck would have it, he's there at just the right moment to foil bank robbers or save the citizens of his city and the world.

There is a need for superheros of course. Just look at the number of criminals who're able to get away with their dastardly deeds. Think of the number of lives that needn't be lost or wouldn't be traumatized if we had Batmen and Supermen. Imagine the wars we won't need to fight because a flying human, impervious to bullets and bombs, and with the strength of a thousand bulldozers could nip a greedy general's ambitions. Imagine how oppressive regimes would be a thing of the past given the deterrent factor that superheros would bring to the world. It's a kind of deterrence that no ICBM can offer.

Humans are prone to fantasizing. We all daydream. We all run imaginary scenarios in our heads. We visualize. We all have hopes. While these are abilities which distinguish as from other species and have allowed wondrous works and discoveries to be made, it is not without its drawbacks. Often we are unable to distinguish reality from fiction. We go overboard and begin wholeheartedly believing in the reality of ideas that we have drenched our minds with or ideas that have been handed down to us via family and culture. We can fail to apprehend that human constructs such as superheros are just that--imagined beings born out of our fervent hopes for Justice and Freedom and Liberty and Peace, hopes for a utopian society.

Yet more than such lofty yearnings, there are more immediate needs that Batman and Superman serve. They swoop down and catch  the child who accidentally plunges down Niagara Falls. They rescue the passengers of a plane that's been sabotaged by terrorists. They divert missiles headed for the heart of the city. Saving lives is the primary job of a superhero. We need them to keep us from harm. The survival instinct is so strong in us that during those times when the end is imminent, when we are powerless to change our fate, we call upon and implore them to yank us out of the jaws of death.

One such crisis:
[H]eavy rains and zero cloud visibility forced the landing of the chopper carrying Legarda and five others in Sariaya, Quezon yesterday.


Legarda's chopper was forced to land at a vacant lot at the Avalon Subdivision, Barangay Sto. Cristo, Sariaya, at around 12:30 p.m. after hovering around Sariaya for several minutes because of dark clouds and heavy rains.

Legarda started praying the rosary, given by healing priest Fr. Fernando Suarez, when they spotted the open field.

"We were battered by the heavy rains and strong winds. It's fortunate we found the spot," she said. "Thank God that he spared us from danger and I thank the people here in Barangay Sto. Cristo who went to our rescue. Inaamin ko na nagkaroon ako ng kaba. (I admit I got nervous)."

In desperate situations, fearing death, sensing doom, the likes of Loren Legarda reach out to their superheros. No cell phone required. No searchlight need be turned on. A whisper uttered or mere thought addressed to the savior is all that's needed: "Help me." The supernature of her hero guarantees the missive will be received instantly.

Humans are fallible, most fallible. Humans are weak--feeble minded and psychologically fragile. The desire for superheros is an order of magnitude far stronger than the imperative to face reality at all costs.

For the Legardas of the world supersaviors are not mythological. They are very real--not because they've seen their heroes, not because they are as tangible as the ground into which the chopper will smash, but because these superbeings without question exist in their minds. Existence in the head is all the Legardas, Ratzingers, Suarezes need in order to feel and know that their superhero is out there somewhere ready at their beck and call to come to their rescue.

And if Superman fails to appear? There are a thousand and one reasons for his absence, but certainly not because he is a figment.

And so God the superhero is real. He's alive and lives in the billions and billions of neurons that orbit a star in a galaxy called the Milky Way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice way of saying that God didn't create man, man created God.

Makes me so happy I don't have to believe in any sky fairy for that which goes on in my life.