Future : Humanity’s (D)evolution

The super weight of ‘The (Daily) Planet’ on his super shoulders daily?

[This article is somewhat on evolution, and somewhat in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin.]
In ‘Superman: Camelot Falls’ by Kurt Busiek, Superman receives a grave warning from Arion the time-traveller, who gives him a stark vision of how humanity will fall and be wiped out, should he carry on his noble efforts to save them from one disaster after another. ‘For mankind to live… you must let civilisation fall!’ This is supposedly so because Superman’s continual rescues actually impede the otherwise natural evolutionary path of humanity, their ability to fend for themselves, to become stronger in the process. Superman thus faces a huge moral dilemma. Should he forgo his heroic efforts to let disasters occur, letting millions die, so as to force humanity to grow? Is that real nobility? Does evolution necessitates turning a blind eye to the ‘unneeded’ deaths of many in disasters? Or are the deaths really needed?

Can humanity truly be saved by letting millions die so that billions can live? The fundamental question to ask is this – ‘What is humanity?’ Is humanity just the headcount of the global human population? Or is humanity measured by the number of humans (and non-humans; e.g. Superman, enlightened Bodhisattvas…) who are humane? Don’t we let our humanity die when we passively let humans die? Bodhisattvas simply help who they can as they go along, not unlike Superman, though he only saves people physically, not spiritually. Perhaps Superman should try even harder to alter the course of the future by more deeply inspiring humans with his noble virtues. This could truly save humanity, when they learn to be heroes best they can for one another, to help another, thus averting disaster. In the comics, as usual, all ‘futures’ are just possibilities – dependent on the pivotal choices we make. Maybe the dark future Superman caught a glimpse of was the world that resulted not from his participation; but from his lack of!

Just as Superman resolved to find other more skilful means to help humanity in the long run, we too should. As a relatively selfless model hero for humanity, even in merely in the comics, Superman’s presence reminds us of what we can aspire to, in strength of spirit even if not in strength of might. If all humans emulated Superman’s nobility best they could, how could humanity come to end instead of thrive? Truth is, Superman never saw himself as an alien outsider who interrupts humanity’s growth. A planetary migrant, he saw himself as one of us. The world is transformed not only by the masses, but by the individuals within the masses too. Likewise, the Buddha (Mahapurisa: ‘Super-man’ in Pali!) never saw himself to be one who interrupted the ‘natural’ spiritual evolution of humanity. He simply did his best to facilitate it. In history, there will always be outstanding ones who revolutionalise the progress of humanity, for better or for worse. What else can we do, other than to put in our best efforts from moment to moment, both individually and collectively? The results are really hard to predict, and are not due to singular causes; but a network of causes and conditions. The weight of the world does not lie on the shoulders of a few ‘super men and women’ among us; it lies on those of everyone of us in this world – the ordinary men and women – even if we try to shrug and shake it off.


Related Article:
Superman’s Humanity Towards Animals

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