Back when I was taking Philosophy 401 at OSU and Professor Marvin Fox provided an overview of the philosophy from Aristotle to Nietzsche, I remember wondering, given all these philosophers, their philosophies, and the sequence in which they occurred, who would be the next major philosopher to impact our world and what would be his philosophy.
No, I’m not going to bore you with a conjecture on the possible calculus of the trajectory of the philosophical dialectic across our local patch of space-time, but I would like to shift the discussion to my conjecture about the superheroes of the future.
First off, what do our superheroes represent? They are our modern-day myths. Our stories about our superheroes are so compelling that, after our civilization stops dead in its tracks and crumbles into ruins, after all history is forgotten, it will be the superheroes of our mythology who will be sung and remembered.
In a sense, superheroes fulfill our desires to succeed against an enemy or a situation that threatens our very survival, against criminals, against terrorists and those who arm them, or against some global catastrophe. Superheroes protect the little man, the woman, or child, or so we would wish when we face insurmountable odds.
Superheroes also represent a measure of a society, a civilization. A society that values racial purity above all things will create an Übermensch, an Overman, a Superman. Yes, Nietzsche invented the concept of Übermensch, but he meant it only as a metaphor. The metaphor was compelling, so viral, that Hitler and his cohorts took it seriously. A society that values strength above all things will create Superman, Super Girl, Batman and Robin, and Wonder Woman. No enemy can stand up against them and they speak English with an American accent. If only they were real, we wouldn’t have to send people like you and me to keep the peace or to defend our freedom.
The superheroes of the future will not come from our civilization. That is because our civilization has all the attributes it values covered by its chosen superheroes and doesn’t need any new ones to muddy up the waters, thank you just the same. Well, there may be some new superheroes to protect some racial group, culture, religion, or geography, but certainly they will all be strong, immovable, and irresistible.
The superheroes of the future will come from a new civilization that values different attributes besides strength, a civilization higher up Maslow’s hierarchy, possibly at the apex of self-actualization. I would suggest the following panoply of new superheroes:
Weakman was accidentally exposed to an emission of neutrinos while standing between leptons and decaying hadrons, and affected by the weak nuclear force responsible for nuclear beta decay by the changing flavors of quarks. Weakman is not a threat to anyone, so everyone naturally feels comfortable around him. Thus he is able to diffuse any potentially explosive situation.
- Vulnerable Woman
The heart of Vulnerable Woman can be pierced by any arrow. She not only loves everyone with whom she comes in contact, she feels their pain and their anguish, which is a great help because it allows others to share their unbearable loads.
Poetman can see things differently than anyone else; for example, he is able to see beauty where others see only ugliness and ugliness where others see only beauty. Poetman can take someone to distant worlds in no time at all and without needing a spaceship or spacesuit.
Quietman is so quiet that everyone around him can hear themselves think and can even hear what other people are saying. Not much else can be said about him.
Uglygirl came from another planet in another dimension in which the way she looked was exactly the way she should have looked and people there thought she looked as beautiful on the outside as she did on the inside, because they could actually see how she looked on the inside. On our planet, Earth, in our dimensions, she is still beautiful on the inside but nobody here can see that.
Noman leaves no footprint wherever he walks and therefore does not create any problems for our environment. Wherever he goes, you cannot tell he’s there or that he has been there. He is friends with Quietman but nobody has ever seen them together.
Andyorjenny is androgynous. That means he/she is both male and female, yin and yang, self-satisfying and independent. He/she doesn’t need anybody or anything. He/she understands the female and the male points of view implicitly. Finally they make sense to each other.
These are my superheroes but don’t hold your breaths until the comics come out.