Sunday, June 16, 2013
Superman and Batman, Left and Right
Superman and Batman began their lives nearly a century ago as faintly ridiculous entertainment for young boys. They have since become integral characters in the lore of modern civilization. Where they were once crude line-drawings on pulp having silly two-dimensional adventures, they now live rich, complex lives in giant universes conceived by the likes of Grant Morrison and Christopher Nolan. Neither superhero shows any sign of falling into obscurity. They have become, it seems, the modern equivalent of the character/myths of ancient times. They represent archetypes which resonate deeply in our psychology. I propose that they represent two sides of modern social and political culture, the Neptunian and the anti-Neptunian, the "liberal" and the conservative, the Left and the Right.
Superman is undoubtedly Neptunian (with a healthy dash of optimistic Jupiter). Hailing from a faraway world unreachable both due to its distance and because it has been destroyed, he is the ultimate undocumented immigrant or "illegal alien". He maintains a secret identity as a mere human, a put-upon, harried member of the proletariat -- his true superhuman self is out of sight in his mundane life. He is fantastically, ludicrously powerful: far beyond the capabilities of mortal man, even with the aid of technology. He is also morally and psychologically perfect: he is nearly or totally without negative emotion or trace of corruption. This is even more evident in the comics and the original Donner films than in the most recent two films, in which he must work to attain the self-assuredness usually associated with him. Superman is how the Left/Neptunian personality subconsciously (and sometimes consciously) views the State: omnipotent, entirely benevolent, and essentially a God.
Batman is slightly harder to parse, but nevertheless becomes clear when one understands the energies underlying the anti-Neptunian dynamic. He is primarily Lunar: a nocturnal personality, driven by an intense emotional drive triggered by a family tragedy, defending the city that is his home. He is intensely private, and his high-tech secret hideout is the prototype of the modern "man-cave". He also represents the other pole of the anti-Neptunian/conservative axis: Venus. He is openly and magnificently wealthy and not the least bit troubled by it. Being an anti-Neptunian modern archetype, he is all-too-human. He not only possesses but is driven by negative emotions. He makes mistakes both in tactics and in judgment, and, being human, must take time to heal from his battle wounds. Unlike a Superman, a Batman is almost possible in the "real world" outside of comic books and film. If Batman, like Superman, represents an idealized State-protector of humanity, he is a somewhat less fantastical one.
The recent Batman movie trilogy illustrates the anti-Neptunian (politically/psychologically conservative) nature of the character very well. In the first film, "Batman Begins", Batman battles a secret (Neptunian) society and a plot to poison (Neptune) his city. In the second film, "The Dark Knight", Batman battles an insane (Neptunian) clown who wages wanton destruction not for personal gain (as a non-Neptunian villain would) but for its own sake. In the third and most obvious film, "The Dark Knight Rises", Batman faces off with a villain who is essentially a pastiche of real-life (Neptunian) left-wing authoritarians through history. The film's anti-leftist subtext went largely unnoticed by the general public but elicited cries of rage from hardcore Socialist types who saw their heroes in the masked villain.
Christopher Nolan, the director of the Batman films, has a typically "paleo-conservative" or perhaps libertarian astrological chart. He has Pallas conjunct and parallel North Node, co-ruled by Jupiter which is sextile Mercury and parallel North Node, co-ruled by Neptune which is contraparallel Sun -- many strong libertarian factors. On the authoritarian end, Neptune, co-ruler of Pallas, is sextile Pluto. We might suspect a fully-fledged libertarian here. Finally, depending on his time of birth, he very likely has Moon trine North Node and with no involvement from Neptune or the South Node. Psychologically, we might expect a cultural conservative, like the Batman character he has so vividly portrayed in film.
Write to me at "alan" + "@" + "zot.net".