Friday, October 06, 2006

of comic books, super-heroes, archetypes, and aikido

Recently Deepak Chopra spoke at the San Diego Comics Convention. He said some things that very deeply resonated with me. He talked about comics being the vehicle to really spread his holistic consciousness work. He referred to Super-heroes and Super-heroines as gods and goddesses. He also talked about Super-heroes as representing the ultimate in human potential. The following is a link to his talk:

Chopra talk

And the following is a link to a video of his talk:

Chopra video

All right, I’ve gotten a bad time over the years for the fact that I read comic books. Once or twice a month I go in to Atlantis Fantasy World in Santa Cruz(also celebrating its 30th anniversary) and Joe, its owner, gives me 2 weeks or a month’s worth of comics he has set aside for me. I started reading comics as a kid. Superman. Batman. Wonder Woman. As a young child, I was shy and the world seemed a big and scary place. Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, and Diana Prince were like friends. Who better to protect a weak and vulnerable child?

As I got into high school, I gave up comics for awhile. Then around 1963 I was pulled in even more strongly by Stan Lee and “The Marvel Age of Comics”. Superheroes now had problems and complexes as well as super powers. Spider-man was my obvious favorite. His emergence in 1963 as a teen-age super-hero coincided with my own teen-age years. He was irreverent, spoke his mind to super-villains and authority figures alike,had a mischievous dark side to his humor, and had a cool outfit that made him look as much like a super-villain as a hero. I also loved Thor, The Fantastic Four, and later Dr. Strange and The Silver Surfer.

Japan, marriage, and fatherhood drew me away from comics for some years. Then in 1989, Michael Keaton “Batman” movie re-connected me. Heroes now lived and operated in a much darker world, often times having to face their own inner demons as well as arch-villains. Upon returning to the shops I found Marvel without Stan Lee in a holding pattern and went to DC, which I thought was the company into plot and characterization. What did it truly mean to be super-human and to have to deal with an uncertain and very complex world?

So since 1989 I’ve been back into comics. I’ve discovered Frank Miller’s gritty “The Dark Knight Returns”. I’ve gone through the death of Superman and his resurrection. I’ve thrilled to “Kingdome Come” and more recently “Secret Identity”. I’ve seen the Superman saga explore new territory in tv’s “Lois and Clark”(one of my favorite all-time shows) and more recently in “Smallville”. And of course there is the burgeoning movie market for super-hero films………

Super- heroes and heroines represent a new mythology. Osensei studied the Kojiki to read the stories about the Japanese kami(gods and goddesses). I wonder if on some level he might have gotten from them what I get from comic books? The gods and goddesses represented by Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-man are to me archetypes. Earlier in the year we did a Saturday afternoon workshop exploring these energies, ie archetypes, with aikido movement. Bill Carter, one of the students attending, had this to say about the workshop:

"During our archetype seminar at the dojo I experienced the breaking down of the barrier that is erected by the ego and stepping into another pattern, a different definition of self...perhaps a no-self? The challenge for me is to find the creation point, where I allow myself to make the jump from my expected social roles, and accepted definitions of self, and become something much deeper...connected...present. This is what I focus on with my Aikido practice. I really enjoy the deeper level of your words in class and contantly focus on increasing my awareness in order to better understand the relationship between energy and self. Perhaps on some level energy is the sum of creation and what I think of as myself is just the momentary execution of that sum. For me, the archetype helps me understand some of the patterns by which the cloud of creation affects each moment on a tangible level. Thanks again for the great seminar."

Makes you think, doesn’t it?


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