"Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy." -F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Spiderman craze has prompted me to write because it is no secret that I have a fondness for comic book heroes. I remember when I was a kid I wished that all of my comic book heroes really existed. I guess everyone has that fantasy every once in a while.
I was also the silly kid who would tie a towel around my neck and wear my special Buck Rogers space helmet and my trusty dog Sailor boy would serve and protect the neighborhood from such horrible things as litter bugs and Phil and Earl the twin bullies who combined were as bright as a small appliance bulb.
As I grew up I watched old Batman serials and read comics that my dad would bring home from work.
Comics would eventually lead to Science fiction books and in the 6th grade my teacher Mr. Rhead was responsible for my journey into realms of UFO stories and Space fantasy.
I remember the Tripods in the book "The White Mountains" and how frightened I was that perhaps we would all be slaves to the aliens. I never looked at the aliens as creatures that would save us. However many contactees have said over and over again that these beings are here to protect the earth. From what I have read the aliens were a sinister breed.
I often thought about the possibility that everything we have convinced ourselves is real was all out of the head of Ray Palmer.
I guess many people don't know who he is.
I read Fate Magazine, and some of the old Amazing stories that my father saved in boxes in our basement.
A truck hit Palmer when he was six years old. This accident left him permanently disabled. He didn't let it get him down.
He wrote many Science fiction stories and was the editor of many sensational magazines that promoted Extraterrestrial connections to flying saucers, Men in Black stories and government cover-ups.
Palmer became editor of Amazing Stories magazine in 1938. Magazine subscriptions shot up after he printed a story written by Richard Shaver who claimed he was able to interpret alien languages. A language that was spoken by Atlanteans and Lemurians.
In 1948, Palmer began publishing Fate magazine, a magazine that gave validity to reports of the Loch ness monster and Flying saucer sightings.
The question has haunted me since I was young. Is all of this "alien" excitement and the possibility of the alien invasion a product of Ray Palmer and his ability to write such convincing pulp Science Fiction?
Is the idea of the alien savior a product of Palmer's prolific writing?
Was it a subversive attempt on Palmer's part to convince the world that there were beings greater than us? Beings that were waiting to save us? Palmer encouraged the idea that Extra terrestrials were observing Earth, and that the government knew it and kept it from the general public.
Palmer probably was writing what we have been wired all along to look out for. A savior to come down from the sky and protect us from a horrible enemy.
Palmer's aliens gave people hope at a time when hope was being tested.
The aliens were the saviors during a time where hope was needed. They were the observer "gods" that people were hoping would step in and stop a world that was rolling out of control.
Back then, people were worried about the possibility of nuclear conflagration. Extraterrestrial intervention was more appealing to teen-age boys than any biblical story.
Onward through history came "The Great Satanic Blasphemy." This essay by Philip K. Dick makes one stop and think about superheroes and whether or not we are all capable of being Super Gods or Super humans.
The essay basically stated that we are all "pluriforms" of God.
This makes us all Gods. Dick postulated that we were all in this great council of God's and that we agreed to come down to this prison world. In the agreement we lost our memory of our previous lives as Gods and we lost our superhuman powers. We agreed to come down and be born as humble feeble babies in lowly places. Our objective was to regain our powers and shine in the glory of that power which all of us share.
The notion of becoming gods was of course hissed by the serpent in the Garden of Eden as Eve partook of the fruit from the tree of knowledge. This of course brought about the fall of man. The idea of attainable Godhood is blasphemy in most Orthodox religions.
It is known as original sin or sin of pride. Dick believed that man did not fall. He believed that man did not sin. Dick believed that it was man's mission to come down to Earth, which is a virtual prison.
There he will learn how do regain his superhuman powers and use them to redeem the world. After he has accomplished this task he can reunite with the divine and all things would be restored, thus giving balance to all things.
If it all sounds familiar to you it is probably because these philosophies have crept into a lot of Hollywood movies. The Matrix of course comes to mind in this case.
Dick called this so-called "Matrix" a "Black Iron Prison" or what most rational people call reality. Dick wrote that reality was not real at all. He wrote that it was clever fakery created by the "great magician" the "lord of the dark realm" or "dark father" who poses as the creator. This unreality has no sense or logic to it. Thus those who believe that it is the only world become atheists or embrace religion that accepts the "dark lord" or "dark father" as the creator.
Dick wrote that true religion begins when we begin to remember that we come from the stars and that our true creator is the Lord of Light. We learn that we have the power to use the light force to bring light where there is darkness, sanity to the irrational, and balance where there is chaos.
This makes us wonder if we can be satisfied worshipping the God they offer us, or do we have to create a better world or a better God or savior worthy of our worship?
Well to answer that question one needs to look at all of the heroes, and idols that are offered to us every day. Some heroes are made in Washington D.C. Others are made in the New York Times. Some are made on stages with guitars and bright lights.
In Hollywood heroes are made everyday. They are placed on a lit screen. Their names are raised in lights on the large marquee. Their footprints are cast in cement and stars are handed to them on cracked Hollywood sidewalks. We see them get statues and plaques for pretending. It's all make believe. It's a dream that producers and big money movie moguls weave. It's just a fantasy that lasts for about 90 minutes and sometimes the afterglow stays with us long after we spit out the old maids in the popcorn bucket.
With the sudden success of the new movie Spiderman it seems that we as a people need to find heroes again.
It can be argued that we have seen heroism in the face of sudden tragedy, like what we experienced in New York City as the days of summer were numbered and the autumn and winter seemed a bit more colder with war thundering in during the final months of 2001. The cold edge of the reality of terror will be felt for years to come.
The word hero was thrown around in the months that followed the 9/11 tragedy.
I once made the statement that the hero of World War III will not wear the uniform of any country or the medals of valor from wars past. The hero of the future "great war" will actually wear jeans and T-shirt. It will be stained with the blood of the innocent and layered with the sweat and body odor from the volunteer.
The heroes of the Third World War will be common people like you and me.
Yet there won't be any awards ceremony on television with special statuettes or trophies that will honor those who do something that is above and beyond the call of duty.
There have been surveys taken in America about heroes. Less than half of all Americans have a personal hero. In one survey a third of those surveyed stated that they believed heroes exist today.
It is also not uncommon to see that people will even call people heroes even when they fail.
There are also new contingents that have decided that the police and the military are our new heroes and should be revered as such. It can be argued that these men aren't heroes because they are just doing their jobs.
Others say "enforcers" are not heroes. They are "task masters" who patrol the sheep. It looks as if the hero today seems to be in this scary Super Police force that is out to eradicate an unseen evil.
The struggle is between ideologies and the hierarchy. The ultimate end result seems to be death to innocents treated as collateral damage in the struggle of these ideologies.
Are heroes on the offensive side? Or are they on the defensive side? This is the confusion that is war. It's hard to find a hero in a war. All because of that struggle where you wonder if murder is justified even in throes of war.
Isn't it interesting that when the rich throw bombs it's called a war and when the poor attack its called terrorism?
It's one of those arguments that can be whittled down to semantics.
Some have no problems with it. Their sides and loyalties have been groomed for years and nothing can change their views. For some It's a foregone conclusion that anyone who kills for our side is a hero.
For the others who struggle with those heroes who shed blood, there has been a world created by authors who have fashioned sentinels who watch over the planet and protect it without diffidence.
The sentinels are found in the comic book.
My favorite comic book hero was Batman.
The first Batman strip came out in May 1939 in Detective Comics, one year after the debut of Superman.
Superman to me was an optimistic mythology. He was much like a fantasy figure. He was an alien savior. Batman was a man who had a lot of pain. He was a tough guy without super powers. He protected the little guy and much like Spiderman was looked upon as a vigilante. If you look at each character they reflect the times.
Each character was created after a war or was a product of man's inhumanity to man. Spiderman was of course the product of the Atomic bomb. Peter Parker, his alter ego was bitten by a radioactive Spider making Spider man a product of the atomic age. In the first few years of the new millennium the new Parker is bitten by genetically altered spider in the movies.
I have a theory that the reason Superheroes were created around the time of War was because many people secretly wanted heroes that saved people without being a part of an army or a political philosophy.
They wanted their heroes to be like Jesus, or Ghandi without guns and ammo ready to bloody up anyone who gets in their way.
This is why I believe many considered comics as subversive tracts against the system.
Think about it.
Governments and religions are supposed to solve all of our problems. We are told that we are to rely on them. If there was something greater, perhaps an Alien from Krypton or a web slinging mutant that could save us from ourselves without an agenda he would be a direct threat to the establishment Superman, Spiderman, and Batman all acted benevolently and always found clever ways of capturing their enemies instead of killing them.
Their example shows that you can find your enemy outwit him and capture him without killing him.
Reality today speaks differently.
Some people believe that Armies, policemen, and government officials do not fight the same way, nor do they act like benevolent heroes. If you give unlimited power to real men and real governments the result seems to be corruption, war and terror.
Obviously these are attributes that are far from heroic.
Every once in a while I quote another one of my favorite Comic book heroes, J.R. Bob Dobbs. His dime store wisdom shines when he says:
We've been wrong about two major things. Our leaders don't "mean well," and they aren't stupid. -J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, The Book of the SubGenius
Name a government official who would use his large family fortune to wipe out crime? Bruce Wayne did it for Gotham City. He never became Mayor or Governor and many people still hated him. Yet he was one man who declared war on crime.
Name a religion that would use their fortunes to eliminate the horrors of war, famine, or abuse.
I know it sounds like I am on an altruistic soapbox but it is obvious why Americans lack in heroes.
While we try and find them we lower our standards for what a hero is.
We are being sold on the idea that athletes are heroes. While some are remarkable and talented like Michael Jordan they still champion nothing.
They only continue to breed the idea of fighting. They continue to breed the ideologies of war. Yet our children look up to athletes to the point of idolatry. Many of them unaware that a lot of them are adulterers, drug users, wife beaters, and gamblers.
Our obsession with sports in this country is unhealthy in my opinion.
How many children want to emulate a teacher, or how many young kids set out to find a cure for cancer, or find ways to conserve energy, or eliminate waste and pollution? How many young people want to volunteer to eliminate starvation? Are there any teenagers out there who would enjoy spending time with an elderly person? Maybe helping them with a problem? How about cleaning their yards?
Do plastic role models like Britney Spears extol the virtues of volunteerism?
I hate to sound like a prude but all you think about when you see Britney is either how repulsed you are or how much of a good hump she'd be in the back seat of a car. Every girl wants to be like Britney. Every guy would like to believe that they have a chance at getting into bed with something like her. It was Scott Adams who said:
"Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. This is the principle behind lotteries, dating, and religion. The psychological explanation for this phenomenon is that life sucks and we'd all rather fantasize about being someplace else." --Scott Adams, The Dilbert Principle
I often wonder if Britney will wind up like Marilyn Monroe? I could easily see the tragedy of a fallen sex symbol, a trailer trash hero that somehow chewed up the scenery wherever she went and became the pop icon that somehow fell hard. Cyclical history somehow dictates that we are due for a pop princess that will remain forever young.
How odd would it be to find that 500 years from now we would hear of a woman who lived that was a Princess, a philanthropist, and sexy singer al wrapped up in one person? Perhaps Princess Diana, Britney and Mother Teresa would become some megagoddess that would be idolized and perhaps worshipped?
Stranger things have happened.
I am curious as to what religion will be like a thousand years from now. I believe that the "gods" are revealing themselves. Their image is what man conceives. The renascence gave us our images of biblical figures. Today our Gods are getting new faces. We are creating saviors worthy of our worship.
Or we are recreating them through our superheroes, pop icons, and fantasy stories.
There seems to be a retooling of religious stories and present-day political conditions.
Let's take a look at our man of the hour Spiderman. He is a retooling of the Jesus story:
Peter Parker as with others like Clark Kent all have adopted fathers. Joseph was Jesus' adopted Father. Spiderman has the super villain to fight. Jesus would always go toe to toe with Satan. Spiderman has a girl fiend named Mary Jane Watson. Jesus hung out with Mary Magdalene. The flight of the superhero and his defiance of gravity is symbolic of the Savior or Christ's ascent into heaven. It is also interesting to note that superheroes always have to deal with their duality. I think that Christ probably had to struggle with being both divine and human.
Now the big question is, are these stories unique? Is Jesus and his super hero super savior image unique to him?
The mother of Christ was called Mary.
Buddha's mother was Maia, as was the mother of Hermes. Bacchus and Adonis both had mothers named Myrrha, and even Krishnas mother was called Marima. The mother of a Siamese "savior" was Maya Maria. All of these names seem to have the same root word of Mare or Mar. The Latin word for water or sea.
There are other examples of how the stories tend to repeat themselves.
Apollo, Bacchus, Hermes, Jupiter, Krishna, and Mithra were all born in lowly places like Jesus and they eventually led their people and became their respective "saviors".
The Egyptian religions also obviously parallel Christ's story and the Christian tableau that has been set and followed as gospel. For example we see in the ancient Egyptian stories that Osiris was the god who lived in heaven while Set is cast out as the evil lord of the dark underworld.
So it seems that the God of the Old Testament and Satan are a retelling of an age-old story that seems to repeat itself. Then comes the story of Isis who gives birth to the son known as the KRST or anointed one, his name was Horus who becomes the god incarnate and rules as the pharaoh.
It doesn't end there. The story is so similar it's a wonder that no one has talked about this openly.
Isis-Meri, Horus' mother was a virgin.
His Earth father was adopted and was named Seb, which is the Egyptian equivalent of Joseph.
Horus performed miracles, exorcised demons and raised "El-Osiris" from the dead. Now say the words El- Osirus and replace the "O" sound you make with a flat "A" sound and you get Elazurus or Lazarus.
Horus was crucified between two thieves, buried for three days in a tomb, and resurrected.
Are you shocked? Go ahead and research it all for yourself!
Here is another interesting parallel that could throw you, duck if you aren't ready for it.
On the walls of the Temple of Luxor are carvings that depict images of the Annunciation, and Immaculate Conception. Thoth is shown announcing to the Virgin Isis-Meri that she will give birth to the KRST child and his name will be Horus. Kneph impregnates the virgin. Kneph of course is the Christian equivalent of the Holy Ghost. These images are believed to be nearly 4000 years old.
So Savior stories and superhero stories are as old as the ancient Gods.
Are they fantasies? Or do we have an original moment when all of this truly happened and these superhuman beings walked the earth? The bible of course says that yes the super gods did exist and many people argue that these beings were the "Supermen" that somehow have become the aliens of today.
"Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown."
It has all of the overtones of the story of Superman. Superman is of course a strange alien who looks like a man who has superhuman strength. He has arrived from his planet Krypton and his mission is to save the earth.
Superman arrived on the scene when the world needed a hero. The world needed a hero form outside of this world to save the people of Earth.
Can we recall the words of Jesus when he said:
I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.
Was Jesus a man who came from space (above) in order to save the world even though he wasn't of this world?
This story is told over and over again.
Super beings, Saviors, and beings from outside of this world.
Is it all in the imagination of man?
Aliens of the 1950's had different personalities than the Aliens that existed at the end of the cold war. Aliens in the movies became vicious and cruel. They were also hidden amongst the humans. The views of Ray Palmer were creeping back into our lives with the arrival of the X-files and the retelling of stories during news shows like SIGHTINGS and Strange Universe.
Movies like Star Trek retold the stories of Jesus with the death of Spock and the explosion of the Klingon Mining settlement Praxis that seemed to be analogous of the Chernobyl disaster in Russia.
The Star Wars movies also capture that pseudo religious reverence. George Lucas has delivered to us what Francis Ford Coppola suggests is a story that has all the makings of a pop culture religion.
"I don't see Star Wars as profoundly religious. I see Star Wars as taking all the issues that religion represents and trying to distill them down into a more modern and easily accessible construct--that there is a greater mystery out there. I put the Force into the movie in order to try to awaken a certain kind of spirituality in young people--more a belief in God than a belief in any particular religious system. I wanted to make it so that young people would begin to ask questions about the mystery. Not having enough interest in the mysteries of life to ask the question, "Is there a God or is there not a God?"--that is for me the worst thing that can happen. I think you should have an opinion about that. Or you should be saying, "I'm looking. I'm very curious about this, and I am going to continue to look until I can find an answer, and if I can't find an answer, then I'll die trying." I think it's important to have a belief system and to have faith.-George Lucas.
As you can see Lucas denies that Star Wars' aim was to create a new cosmology or new cosmic religion.
However if you look at a draft of the original Star Wars called "Star Killer" you can see that Lucas once again was trying to retell a familiar story. The Original entry says it all:
"And in the time of greatest despair there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as: THE SON OF THE SUNS." -StarKillers "The Star Wars" January 28, 1975 (Taken from a first draft by Lucas)
Osiris was the son of Geb and Nut and was born in Thebes in Upper Egypt. Upon his birth, his grandfather, Ra THE SUN GOD, pronounced him heir to his throne, and when Geb retired, Osiris assumed this role and took his sister, Isis, as queen. Horus would be considered the Son of the Suns or Son of the Son of the Sun God. Another connection to the "son" of God?
Perhaps the "Sun" God?
Darth Vader is the Dark Lord who polices the galaxy. The word "Vader" is the Germanic word for "father." Darth Vader thus becomes the "Dark Father."
Luke Skywalker saves his father and thus gives balance to the "force" or the God power. (The name Luke means "light" and Skywalker once again means ascension)
Luke the "Light" of the world is the savior of the universe.
And the story is told all over again.
It will continue for as long as man walks on the planet. It will end when he finds his supernatural powers and realizes his heritage in the stars. This is where we realize our true mission here, bringing light into the darkness, order from chaos and reality to unreal.
As Yoda tells Luke:
"You must unlearn what you have learned."
As Kenobi tells Luke:
"Stretch out with your feelings. Your eyes can fool you, don't trust them."
As Obiwan Kenobi observed, "A true hero let's go of his conscious self, and acts on instinct."
How many times are we told this story? Where does it appear? It appears everywhere.
One of my favorite movies is the Wizard of Oz. The story itself reflects what Philip K. Dick talked about in his notorious essay.
The word Oz itself can be interpreted as otz chaim, otz the Hebrew word for the tree of life. There are also the Tri numeric 4's which is the number signature of the message.
There are four countries in Oz. The land of the Munchkins, the Winkies, the Quadlings, and the Gillikins.
Four characters look for four virtues.
The four main characters were all searching for virtues they felt they didn't have. One needed knowledge. One was lost. One needed courage. One needed a heart in order to love. They looked to the wizard for these things. Yet as they journeyed through Oz to get to the Emerald City they did not realize that they had those powers all along.
The Scarecrow realized that it took great knowledge to overcome the dark forces. He relied on his instincts to help Dorothy find her way. The Tin man realized that he was in love with Dorothy and became selfless in the process. The lion demonstrated great courage when confronted by his greatest fears.
Dorothy learned from all of them that she had to look inside herself in order to find her way back home. She learned that not only was the journey to Oz a dark one but it was a mystical and spiritual journey that awakened her and taught her to go to the light. She was illuminated long before the Wizard told her she was.
The Good witch told the Munchkins that Dorothy was a Star Child, that her heritage was from above.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are and meet the young lady, who fell from a star. She fell from the sky, she fell very far and Kansas, she says, is the name of the star."-Wizard of Oz
Glenda warns Dorothy not to take off the Ruby Slippers. This to me is a warning that you should never let go of your inner child like innocence or you will never find your true self.
The lion of course is symbolic of the Sun. The Sun or the great light rules Leo. It is in the light where we find splendor. It is in the light where we find courage, love and wisdom. It is the great star where all life comes from. It is where we learn of our heritage. It is where we learn that we are made from literal stardust.
We came from the stars and we are trying to get back. The keys to unlocking the secrets are in your inner child. In your heritage. Our "Ruby Slippers" is that superhuman power that we already possess but have not tapped into. You are already spiritually fulfilled; you just have to open your eyes and realize it.
We all can find that we can be our own heroes.
We can stand without fear on our own two feet and use them to carry us along the pathway on a journey that will hopefully give us the fulfilling reward that is our heart's desire.
The journey is not always easy and many paths can lead to tragedy. You must ask yourself if the choices you make are worth the reward of just a pitiful three feet of rest, and six feet of dirt.
Clyde Lewis Website
Host of "Ground Zero Radio Show"