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  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Auguste Dupin View Post
    What you're saying do raise a problem though, which is: what is "enough" in this situation?

    In a similar reasonning, wars, crimes, famine, are the "symptoms" of a "disease", not the "disease" itself. The "disease" is, quite simply, the very human nature.

    Superman's very existence is a game changer, even if he somehow decided to remain in his home in North Pole watching porns. That would be the proof that alien beings do in fact exist, and could be interracting with us any second now.

    What sorts of interests me in what you're saying is the implications that Superman has the responsability to help out humans. is own life. And he wouldn't be wrong to do so. In a way, it could be "enough".
    Enough means as much as it takes to fix the world's problems. Superman can't do [in that sense of] enough and that's the curse of trying to help out humanity but being less than God.

    Fair enough. Superman can't change human nature. But he can do more than than saving people. If he truly wanted to help humanity he would need to. If he's going to save people in Mexico being murdered by cartels, he is eventually going to need to address the issue of organized crime controlling the entire country. If Superman wants to save sex slaves he eventually is going to have to bring down those that control that business.

    He needs to address the issues that the world's faces beyond just dealing with "the symptoms" that is the immediate victims can save. And I think that in order for that to happen he needs to go beyond "giving speeches". A lot of the times though is not that people lack inspiration it's that people in power simply don't benefit from helping everyone so they don't.

    Yes, that's something that I think is interesting. Superman is an alien. He is god-like. He would completely transform the way people think about the nature of reality.

    Superman has an obligation because he makes it his obligation. Just like Batman makes it his obligation to help Gotham. What he does is based on his character. Based on that I doubt he would just stay hidden in his fortress or take the passive role of trying to inspire people. His morals/values/relationship to the world are his obligation. His character is his obligation.

  2. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qwathings View Post
    And the future, if everything continues along the same path, without an asteroid crashing or super-volcano blowing up, can only get better than the present.
    The problem of human beings is not that they don't have a potential to improve its that there is always a portion of society that doesn't benefit at all from that.

    It means little for children in Africa if humanity finds the cure for Malaria yet because of lack of access a million people still die from the disease a year.

    It's not that people can't help themselves, it's that many systems don't let that happen to the disadvantaged in the world.

    I agree the world is improving little by little, however, a being like Superman could speed up that process and fixing many of the "injustices" that go on in the world. Since Superman stands for Justice, I do think that he would be a bit more practice. Rather than see millions of people die while people wait for humanity to improve.

  3. #33
    Senior Member Darth Joker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie512 View Post
    Thank you. This is the sort of response I was looking for. I agree with you. I believe Superman would cause a massive fundamental change in society to improve it beyond simply being an enhanced rescue worker. I just wonder how he would approach these issues. Naturally, he would eventually have to come into conflict from people and organizations that would oppose change because it would not benefit their position in power.
    Agreed. The good news for Superman is that, in the short-to-medium term, he would likely enjoy massive popularity (through saving so many lives, stopping so many terrorists, catching so many criminals, stopping natural disasters, etc...). No sane politician would dare want to cross him. Even few dictators would. So that may open up diplomatic means for Superman to achieve desired ends (leading to smoother transitions than just toppling Dictators military-style, leaving power vacuums or occupying foreign forces).

    I think that world poverty/starvation probably becomes a thing of the past within a year or so, and Superman becomes insanely popular in Africa in particular. He will be worshiped as a god in some places, and I think that will cause Superman some discomfort and maybe ever a temporary "pull-back" to regain his bearings.


    However, as much as I like Superman, I can easily see him making a mistake in a place like North Korea. I can see him underestimating how effectively propagandized some parts of the world are. My biggest concern would be that he makes a crucial mistake with regards to China, but I think even Superman would tread carefully there. Eventually, I think Superman overreaches a bit, and some place suffers from it. But Superman learns from the lesson, and shows a better balance between activism and restraint afterwords. On the whole, the world becomes a far better place over time.
    Last edited by Darth Joker; 05-03-2013 at 05:29 PM.
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  4. #34

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    In 1930, an author named Philip Wylie wrote a novel called "Gladiator". Some say that this novel was one of Jerry Siegel's inspirations for Superman, something which I agree with, since the very early Superman shared powers with the novel's main character (though personality, motivation and other key elements of the two characters were different).

    The novel is about a man called Hugo Danner who, through his father's scientific experiments, is born with super powers. Hugo has super strength, super speed, is able to leap great distances and his body is highly resistant to harm. The novel is Wylie's examination of what life would be like for a super powered being in the "real world".

    Hugo is essentially an outcast. Whenever he uses his power other people fear him. He tries restraining himself, and hides his abilities, but something always seems to happen to reveal his inhuman abilities to others. That much power can't be hidden. Hugo is a successful college football player until he accidentally kills another player. He becomes a steel worker, but is eventually fired because he's doing too much work. He gets a job as a clerk at a bank, but when he needs to rescue people that were accidentally locked inside of the vault he is accused of plotting to rob the bank and is fired. Hugo tries his hand at manipulating politics, but finds the activists he's working for are just as bad as the politicians.

    Hugo eventually goes off to fight in the first world war. There he's able to cut loose and use his powers to their full extent. He wins battles, but has no real effect on the war as a whole. Even when he decides that he can't take any more death and gets ready to speed off to Berlin to attack Germany's leaders to finally end the war, he is told that a cease fire has been signed and the war has already ended. Despite Hugo's great power, it was ordinary people that finally ended the war.

    The entire novel shows that someone with abilities beyond normal humans is an outcast of society. Hugo has no place in humanity. He's too powerful to be an ordinary person and not powerful enough to be a world-changing god. Gladiator shows us that someone like Hugo is useless to humanity. In the end, even nature itself rejects Hugo.


    Then in 1938, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster showed us how someone like Hugo could be useful to humanity. Superman had a mission, to act as the champion of the weak and oppressed, something that Hugo never really tried. Superman was given a secret identity, and so while the persona he used his powers with could be feared and hunted, he could take refuge in an alternate identity in order to live out his life without having to constantly run away like Hugo did.

    Armed with these differences, Superman could find a life and happiness that Hugo never could. Superman could fight against crime, teach lessons to corrupt politicians, end wars, and otherwise fight on behalf of the "little guy". And at the end of the day, while these actions would have sent Hugo on the run, Superman could change into Clark Kent and head home after a hard days work.


    Where does this lead a real world Superman? Would his life be the overly optimistic one of the Siegel and Shuster comics, or the overly pessimistic one of Hugo Danner? Are we dealing with Superman in the real world, or the Superman of the real world?

    If he's of the real world, he's going to be the victim of the failings of real people that condemned Hugo to a miserable life. He'll have the failings that the more cynically minded of us claim a super being should have. He'll make mistakes and become hated and hunted by the entire world. In the end he'll become an outcast.

    If he's Superman in the real world, then it's just like the comicbook version of Superman has come to visit another reality. He won't have the failings of our world. He'll be the champion of the oppressed. He'll have his mission and develop the tools he needs to succeed in his mission. In the comics, a secret identity was enough. In our world, he might decide to take that further and to entirely hide his superheroic activities. He might find some way to help others without anyone realizing it. He could help make the world a better place without upturning human society in the process. He could do this, because Superman can't fail. He flies out to help others and he succeeds. He knows right and wrong and he knows how to fight for that ideal. No amount of "real world" cynicism can stop him. If he can outwit other dimensional beings, mad scientists, alien intelligences and evil gods, then dealing with the evils of our world wouldn't be too big of a challenge for him at all.

  5. #35
    The Great Curator Mr. Mastermind's Avatar
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    I'm sure the dinosaurs would have appreciated Superman.

    Other than that, no not really.
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  6. #36
    Senior Member ascended's Avatar
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    I need to read that book. After recently finishing the Wheel of Time, I was looking around for the next book to read, and that one completely slipped my mind.

    Anyway, yeah good post.

    Well, the real power of Superman is his ability to inspire others to be better than they are. That's what sets him apart. So doing the hero thing from the shadows doesnt work. He needs to be seen. People have to see him out there.

    All that said, however, I think a Superman would do the world a much bigger service by dedicating his time to something other than stopping crime. With his intelligence and abilities, he could help the world in so many ways. Even if he doesnt give anything away, even if he just helps us work through some things a bit easier, he could advance our society and technology by decades, if not centuries, in a fraction of the time. Just imagine him helping scientists with the Higgs Boson. All he has to do is look around with super eyes and answer their questions about what he sees. He doesnt have to offer anything beyond what his senses perceive (discounting Kryptonian knowledge which has all these answers) and just what they ask about and he'd have shaved off years of research.

    Then he can always help out with the natural disasters stuff. Maybe even help some people make a breakthrough in prevention efforts.

    Actually, if you guys dont already, you should read Invincible. The book has been dealing with just these kinds of questions lately, wondering how far a hero should go, and where his priorities should fall, how big his focus should be.
    Last edited by ascended; 05-04-2013 at 06:31 PM.

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by ascended View Post
    I need to read that book. After recently finishing the Wheel of Time, I was looking around for the next book to read, and that one completely slipped my mind.

    Anyway, yeah good post.

    Well, the real power of Superman is his ability to inspire others to be better than they are. That's what sets him apart. So doing the hero thing from the shadows doesnt work. He needs to be seen. People have to see him out there.

    All that said, however, I think a Superman would do the world a much bigger service by dedicating his time to something other than stopping crime. With his intelligence and abilities, he could help the world in so many ways. Even if he doesnt give anything away, even if he just helps us work through some things a bit easier, he could advance our society and technology by decades, if not centuries, in a fraction of the time. Just imagine him helping scientists with the Higgs Boson. All he has to do is look around with super eyes and answer their questions about what he sees. He doesnt have to offer anything beyond what his senses perceive (discounting Kryptonian knowledge which has all these answers) and just what they ask about and he'd have shaved off years of research.

    Then he can always help out with the natural disasters stuff. Maybe even help some people make a breakthrough in prevention efforts.

    Actually, if you guys dont already, you should read Invincible. The book has been dealing with just these kinds of questions lately, wondering how far a hero should go, and where his priorities should fall, how big his focus should be.
    There are things Superman could stop other than crime, though. It's not the only thing he deals with. Imagine the day that undetected asteroid shows up or the Yellowstone Caldera erupts. There are so many ways humanity could be on the verge of extinction and he could use his powers to ensure our continued existence.
    People who chime in on vs. threads with "I don't like Superman at all, but he'd win.", STOP HELPING! Superman doesn't need your damning him with faint praise, thank you.

  8. #38
    Senior Member ascended's Avatar
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    Very true. And more power to him. I'd like to see him make sure that natural disasters didnt wipe us off the map. I would like to continue existing.

    I was just saying that in the real world, fighting crime would be, in large part, a waste of his talents.

    Notice the second from last paragraph. "Then he can always help out with the natural disaster stuff."

  9. #39
    Junior Member victorsage's Avatar
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    Personally as a normal everyday guy, I thank God that there aren't any "supermen" around. For better or worse I'll stay with simple old man kind.

  10. #40
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    In one word- No.

  11. #41
    Senior Member ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victorsage View Post
    Personally as a normal everyday guy, I thank God that there aren't any "supermen" around. For better or worse I'll stay with simple old man kind.
    Well, property taxes and insurance would be a lot higher if we had to worry about super humans throwing each other into buildings all the time. So my wallet is certainly glad they dont really exist. And if superhumans were real and I wasnt one of them? Super depressed. All the time.

  12. #42

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    Well, the ironic part is that if Superheroes exist that usually means that Supervillains must exist too and if the Marvel and DC Universes are anything to go buy the world is a far worse place when these two groups exist for the average joe.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie512 View Post
    In Superman Returns brought up a very interesting notion of whether Superman is needed in our world.

    Now obviously Superheroes are needed in the DC and Marvel Universes because in those universes there are Supervillains. However, these are made up by writers and don't exist in our world. Ironically enough in practice in these universes, for the average person it's much worse to live in a world populated by Superheroes precisely because of Supervillains. Also the world tends to experience much more frequent threats in the form of natural disasters (asteroids for example).

    Yes there are evil people, criminals and terrorists in our world but they don't have superpowers and law enforcement and the world's militaries are usually enough to deal with them.

    The movie answers in the affirmative, that the world does need Superman but fails by making it not our world. The threat ended up being Lex Luthor using crystals to create land masses that would kill millions. The threat ended up being completely fantastical and connected to Superman. So it didn't answer the question at all.

    In our world the real problems tend to be a lot more complicated. The world is full of ills that one can't punch at to solve. There are world wide epidemics of famine. There are rampant diseases that kill millions, some incurable and others curable but kill because people lack access to medical care. There are civil wars all across the world. There are acts of terrorism in many countries. There is a massive slave trade. There are paramilitary groups and organized criminals that have taken over countries. There is extreme poverty. There is war. There is crime.

    These are the real problems of our world. There are competent people working everyday trying to improve the condition of people.

    Superman has superpowers but what usefulness does this have.

    Does the world need Superman?

    If Superman was real, what function and purpose would he serve? What would he do?
    He would be precisely what Grant Morrison presented in the early issues of Action Comics (new 52). He would be a Golden Age activist and completely demonized by powerful people. The status quo hates a disruptor, and Superman would change the balance of power in favor of the common man. Thus, he would be treated as "evil." Or a "socialist." At the very least, a "liberal." And those are all the same to the modern ruling class.

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