Comic book superheroes seem to be popular recently, to make an understatement. Clearly, we spend a lot of money on movies, merchandise and spin-offs. But why?
What is it about these super-powered caped crusaders and mysterious masked marvels that resonates so deeply within each of us? Maybe it’s the desire to be stronger and greater than we are, to save the day, or just fly around whenever we want. Maybe there’s something more.
She doesn’t put on a mask; she takes one off.
Most of these epic figures live two lives; one as a relatively normal person with everyday jobs and lives, and the other, their alter ego that they transform into by putting on a mask, hemet or suit, using various special tools and devices to defend the city or fight off their nemesis. They also conceal their ‘true identity’ behind these masks, as Batman is ‘really’ Bruce Wayne.
the real source of truth, beauty and power is within
Wonder Woman is completely different in a very important respect than almost all other superheroes. She doesn’t put on a mask; she takes one off. Her powers are within and her disguise is the everyday girl, Diana Prince. This is almost the complete opposite of the mostly male heroes who need technology and weapons to do their work.
Using mainly defensive tools, Wonder Woman deflects bullets instead of shooting them. Her main ‘weapon’ is the golden lasso that uses the truth – the criminal’s own truth – to conquer her enemies. Most importantly, her power is innate – it is not given to her from outside sources; the source of her powers is within her – it is her.
the Alchemist can see the gold inside the lead
This points to many ancient spiritual and metaphysical systems that believe liberation, or enlightenment, is achieved by stripping away what isn’t divine, rather than taking on holy vows and memorizing scriptures.
From the East, we learn that our Buddha-nature is within us and the task is to release ourselves from the desires and attachments that hold us back. The master teacher Jesus said that it was the father within him that doeth the works and Paul suggested it is the ‘Christ in you’ that is the Hope of Glory. And even the Alchemist can see the gold inside the lead that needs to be released.
Just as education means to ‘draw out’ and not pour in wisdom, maybe our superpowers come from deep within. We need teachers and guides to help us bring them out, but this is not something that we have to find out there or have it given to us.
these modern mythical superheroes are popular because they remind us of who we really are
We just have to claim the power that is already ours, but usually that’s the last place we look. Yet, in a mysterious way, this power transcends our limited selves; it’s not that is comes from us, rather, it comes through us.
We seem to have forgotten all this, and maybe these modern mythical superheroes are popular because they remind us of who we really are. Wonder Woman (and likewise, Superman) shows us that we don’t have to have fancy suits, use a disguise or have expensive equipment – all put on from the outside – to do amazing things.
Currently, in 2017. there are women’s groups marching for rights and equality. I fully support women in every way, but I wonder if they’re also looking for the outside to give them their power. I wonder if women have forgotten about the most super and powerful source that lives inside.
Protest to make your voices heard, change laws that need changed and march for better opportunities, yes. Remember, also, that the real source of truth, beauty and power is within; it is your birthright that no other can give to you or take away from you.
Cover image © Adam Hughes AH!