Superheroes have always held my fascination. How great would it be to have a superpower and fight crime?
The Origins - Batman
It all started with the Batman animated series I used to watch as a kid. Here was a man, who despite being a billionaire, chose to be a vigilante to fight crime.
He was an ordinary man, who put his money to good use. He did it not as himself, but in a suit to be a symbol that the criminals feared. With the Dark Knight trilogy by Christopher Nolan, I was able to understand the motivations of Bruce Wayne further.
Batman Begins, the first part of the trilogy, show the struggles of a young Bruce Wayne as he grapples with himself and his need for revenge and how he evolves beyond it to fight crime and bring down criminal organizations in Gotham City. We see him evolve to find himself and serve the needs of his city.
In comes Spider-man
Then, there was Spider-man, featuring Tobey Maguire. Here was another high school senior, Peter Parker, who after gaining his superpowers, looks out only for himself in the beginning. He is young and naïve just like most teenagers, smart but just a kid.
He is forced to deal with the choices of his action soon after and accept the responsibility that comes with his power.
The urge to always get a superpower has always rooted with the need to augment this reality. With these additional abilities, I could go out there and help people. I understand that the challenges I face will be even greater, but I have my superpowers to help me.
Superheroes do have the choice to live a cushy life. After all, they have these new superpowers to take care of their basic needs. If they choose to do so, they would be mere Superhumans. They would continue to use their powers for their own good and enjoyment. But when they choose not to do so, they go beyond "humans" and become "heroes". They use their powers for greater good and serve the community. There maybe some ease in facing the day-to-day challenges and yet they take on greater challenges in protecting their community.
Again if you look at Spider-man, we see him struggle with the balance of his personal and superhero life in Spider-man 2, even going so far as to abandon his suit. But he realizes his responsibility to himself, to his love and to the community and from the struggle, he comes out at the other end better and stronger having undergone the hero's journey.
But that is all true with superpowers, right?
How does it apply to us, mere mortals?
I was looking close at our lives when I realized one basic truth: We have indeed been gifted with superpowers since we are born. We just choose not to see it that way. Unlike other forms of life, we have been give a brain to think, to create and to innovate. We have the ability to go beyond our selves and help others, build to serve the masses.
It is not only the basic survival instincts that we have been gifted with. It is the gift to iterate and evolve. We have a great power to control ourselves and our baser urges and with it comes the responsibility, a responsibility to take accountability of self and our own actions.
The Power of Free Will
If all our choices are pre-destined, then there is no point in what we do, right? But if you actually think about it, life is not so easy or preset. Our choices are the result of complex interactions between multiple forces at play. At the core of this is our few will. We have free will and can make choices of our own volition. So, any inaction on our part results in consequence that are not in our favor.
Our choices are the result of complex interactions between multiple forces at play.
If you think of the well known proverb: "God helps those who help themselves", it goes to highlight the fact that you need to take action for any chances of divine intervention. But once you have take action, would you even need the intervention in the first place? The key is in taking action and responsibility for your own actions.
By taking responsibility for our own actions, we end up in a position where we are not dependent on external forces. There are many that are out of our hands, but our responsibility gives us the power to be the driving force.
Once we are ready to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions, we can see that taking responsibility for the extended universe is a stone's throw away. We can choose to be responsible, not for one life, but the lives of the many. That is what will transform you from a human to a hero; a choice to take on the responsibility of the many, not out of self-interest, but for the interest of the many.
That is the power that comes with responsibility and heavy is the head that wears the crown. It is quite easy to lose your way with that much power. It is then that we look to superheroes and how they behave in those situations, to our prophets, to Buddha, who chose to go beyond the enlightenment they gained and lay the path for others to follow.
It is now our responsibility to use the power to blaze a trail for others. A very few among us will choose to bear this burden. In the end, remember, you always have the choice. The universe is ever grateful for the burden you bear.