If x-men had arrived in time would Santa Barbara have gone down differently?
Are powerful superheroes the answer to our problems? The popularity of Xmen seem to suggest yes. I am suspect.
I have enjoyed these movies, watching them on the encouragement of a good friend.
Characters are physically beautiful and the fantasy of superpowers always has appeal. Seems like life could be ever more satisfying if we could be "more special."
We think, if I had a power no one else had "then" I would be awesome and forever happy. But would I?
The characters appear rather tortured, finding themselves embroiled in all kinds of conflict.
The other night while watching X-men : The Last Stand it occurred to me
that none of the characters had a "conflict resolution" or "compassion" mutation. No, they just mutated in ways that helped them fight better or more effectively manipulate others through mind control.
Now one mutated towards greater love, happiness or compassion. This work they still had to do on their own.
Ben Franklin sounds sage even in this context. He is thought to have said, "the constitution gives you the right to pursue happiness, but you have to catch it on your own."
Even if these mutations did make folks happy, the mutations we need are not fire shooting hands or the ability to suck the life out of someone with a kiss.
We need a mutation that elevates humanity. How about Mutations that help us find better ways forward? I would much rather my kiss ignite enlightenment than death. Sadly, even in Marvel's fantasy world, you cannot choose your "gift."
Sure some Xmen characters can perform cool tricks like teleporting, but I have found it often takes far more courage to stay in a room than to leave it.
My vote Is for a new movie with only virtue or integrity mutations...
According to Aristotle, that's the only way to human flourishing (eudaimonia) anyway.
(Ellen page's character quips in The Last Stand that Aristotle said ethics only applied to humans. The Professor had no answer, though I have one. Aristotle didn't know about the upcoming comic phenomenon)
Yes power, money, beauty also contribute to flourishing, but without virtue it's a wash. Furthermore, these heroes don't appear happy..(a state which Aristotle distinguishes from flourishing).
Powerful Wolverine, for example, seems so unhappy and thwarted in love. Cyclops is literally destroyed over the loss of his woman, who turns out to be quite a danger to everyone and begs to be killed. Rogue morns her inability to touch others. Storm never seems to smile.
They seem as unhappy as "The Breakfast Club."
Maybe it would be boring to watch two hours of do-gooders resolving conflict peacefully and kissing everyone into alignment. Or we could just skip the movie and do it for real... I doubt that would be boring...
I love The Oxford English Dictionary. Seeing the evolution of words excites me. The book shows us from whence modernity came.
This weekend, as a result of a lecture on "intimacy" I decided to find out how long that concept has been around. In English, the idea of intimacy as a kind of "closeness" only arrived in the mid-17th Century as did "intimacy" as a euphemism for sex.
Now, we know that physical intimacy has been around a lot longer than three centuries. There are so many of us here. But why did the idea of closeness only arrive in the 17th Century? Well, the dictionary does not answer that question. If you know, I'd love to hear it.
I've been exploring what it can mean for us today. To expand beyond the dictionary definition and consider what realms of possibility exist.
This weekend's lecture was astounding. These blogs draw on life experience (primarily) sources, scholarly journals, professors,books, seminars, courses, etc.
This learning that I will share today, however, comes from Landmark Education.
They teach several distinctions about intimacy that took the wind out of me. Hope some of it resonates with you.
What is Intimacy?
They define intimacy as "the possibility of being fully known and fully knowing another." That definition, FYI, is not in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Not Related to Proximity or Blood Relationship
Intimacy is not a function of the kind of relationship you have or your proximity. In other words, just because you talk to your best friend or brother everyday does not mean that you are most intimate with that person.
You actually may feel more intimately connected with someone you knew years ago than your current partner. Great thought, right?
Haven't you shared a moment with someone, maybe someone you only knew for a day, week or a month, that felt so connected that you breathe differently just thinking about it?
For me, the sensation is like one of floating...one of total self-expression and ironically, freedom. Intimacy in our culture can so often connote being so close that we are overly enmeshed. The best intimacy, however, somehow feels comfortably close and comfortably separate.
Two distinct beings pausing in this celestial experience for a real "hello"
Intimacy as a State of Being
Lastly, intimacy is not what you do, it's how you're being. You can either walk around being someone other people can be close to or you can perpetuate the feeling of fear between people.
It's up to you.
You can be a "clearing" for intimacy.
I love this idea of serving as a clearing for others. During my research, I have felt like a clearing for Holocaust-pain.
These ideas most resonated with me:
1. Intimacy is about fully knowing and being known
2. Intimacy is not about proximity
3. Intimacy is a state of being. You can be a clearing in the world for intimacy.
Eager to hear your thoughts...though you'll have to be vulnerable for it to be any good. Be brave...
In Dubliners, James Joyce introduces us to Mr. Duffy...
He lived a short distance from his body.
Have you ever had that feeling?
You're out with friends, at a meeting or even shopping for food and while your body is there some broader part of you or the majority of you is really somewhere else?
Maybe you feel a short distance from you body, able to get back in should someone speak to you. But at other times you may feel further away.
Where do you think you are when that happens?
It's amazing what you can accomplish in the physical world when you feel that way. I think I gave over 50 sales presentations a short distance from my body. It worked well enough. Rejection did not hurt so much.
Impact of Being Disembodied
Yes, something is lost. Disembodied we cannot truly engage with those embodied or the vibrancy of the physical world in which we find ourselves. Relationships are difficult when we're really somewhere else. They have a feeling of inauthenticity not because of overt lying - we're just not really at the meeting we said we would attend even if our body is in the room. There is a difference between attending a meeting embodied and disembodied.
Getting Back Into Your Body
Getting back into the body can be rough. I find one of the easiest ways back in is working out intensely. After an hour in the pool, I feel securely back in and emerge much more sensitive to the world about me. I can feel the air on my skin so much more intensely, I just stand outside the gym look up at the sky and breath. Food tastes more flavorful and I engage with others with more vibrantly.
I think playing an instrument also kinds of throws me back in because it requires moment-to-moment awareness. TV, on the other hand, and even un-engaging lectures start to disembody us.
The next few days check in from time-to-time and see if you're in your body or out. What does this difference feel like? When do you check out? What pops you back in?
This winter at swim practice, I was reminded of why the right teacher (or coach) matters.
I have been swimming- not professionally-- just for fun, while surfing and to chase fish in beautiful tropical locations.
After years of swim team, my strokes were always pretty good, but not improving.
At practice, the swim coach gave me 1 tip for each of my strokes that transformed them. I think both of us were a bit in shock. The right comment at the right moment can create an entirely new experience. I easily slid across the pool with my new backstroke. I could truly fly in my butter fly and breast stroke became the powerful stroke rather than the lazy one.
I thought everyone in the pool was faster because they were in better shape (well, they probably are) but in addition to this they have better strategies for moving more quickly across the pool with less effort.
He told me to go home and watch Rebecca Soni (pictured above) win the London Olympics and beat the women's world record.
Watching experts and being guided by experts can save us decades of solitary struggle. Why struggle?
Robbins teaches about the inevitable "plateau" that comes whenever we learn a new skill. We move quickly in the beginning stages and then inevitably plateau at some point. Many people just give up and move to the next sport, activity etc just to get the high of the initial growth. Achievers usually fight their way through to the next level. People committed to mastery, however, just understand and appreciate that plateaus are part of learning.
The most efficient way to move to the next level is not just to grind and fight your way through.. I probably make a greater splash when I move across the pool, but those other swimmers finish first.
With a good coach and practice I'll better be able to keep up. Or I can just keep exhausting myself.
I'm almost embarrassed to admit how many things I've accomplished by reading books on how to do it...I found a book on how to transfer colleges. It told me how to handle an admissions office that doesn't do interviews. The author recommended just getting someone on the phone and getting them excited about you. It worked, I got into Cornell.
But this is true for anything that matters to you: tennis, stocks, college admissions, languages...
Now, I do think some input is easier to take than others. My swimming changed so dramatically because I had so little attachment to my "old way" of doing the strokes. I made improving more important than being write.
In writing, for example, I can be more resistant. My written words feel more intimate...more representative of me. The trick is to send my writing along anyway-- take a deep breath and get ready for feedback.
So, this was just a little blog to encourage you to reach out for a coach in any area that matters for you. You may only need one lesson, session or meeting. You may want a package of 24. We can do this or just struggle on our own for the next 10 years. It's really our choice.
I made mine...
Sarah Federman, PhD
Enjoy these short blogs and videos designed to bring you a little cheer.
My other blog Language of Conflict addresses the importance of word choice and narration in conflict.
Finish and Flourish supports writers struggling to complete projects.