The Will to Power: the Superman

“Superman Unchained #1”, Jim Lee and Scott Snyder, June 2013.


In Superman Unchained, a comic book series written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee, Superman is put face to face, with the power of technology, as he faces the enmity of an international terrorist group called Ascension and a secret military covert operations called the Machine, helmed by Sam Lane, the father, of Lois Lane. Amidst the confrontation, a new threat emerges in Wraith, who has secretly been working for the Machine since the end of the Second World War. Superman, is confronted with his place in the world, as well as, with the problem of technology, power, and heroism.

The will to power, forms the substance of the comic book. From this, in fact, emerges the fact that characters evolve and transcend their natural milieu, often becoming more powerful, attain to cosmic station, or even to godhood. Is Superman a god, or is he merely an alien, powered by the sun? The will to power, can be said, to figure, as an incarnation of fantasy, of fiction, into the realm of temporal life. Man, for that fact, is a fictional being, who, in the concept of story, seeks to attain to omnipotence, and dominate his milieu.

The will to power is evident in technology, in the desire to create a world where information is encoded in a series of bits and transmits thought. Technology presents the temptation of totalitarian power, the temptation to encompass all of human life, and render human freedom as an illusion, that is, a creation of the coercive powers of the State, and not in fact, a recognition of the dignity of the human nature. Technology, is the power of thought, of transforming not only nature, but also culture, according to the designs of man, and the will of a few. Through technology, a certain uniformity is imposed, by which the human mind is conditioned to consider reality in a certain way: it is, inherently, the encoding of information – that is, thought – into bit – that is, number.

Science presents with the opportunity to further human progress and even, evolve humanity. The predicament, faced, is with the temptation of creating a population of transhumans; man seeks to use the resources, the capital, and the knowledge of positivist science, in order to transcend his natural condition and create a new species of enhanced humans, or meta humans. The possibility, that, through gene editing, man may acquire the powers of Superman, is in its essence, tantalizing, though, it offers fresh problems such as the tentative to seat man at the seat of Power, giving him, so to speak, “the keys” of evolution and in his ignorance, let him be a like a child that is attempting to drive a car while not having learnt to walk yet. The will to power, in this context, is the possibility for humanity to ascend beyond its natural milieu and evolve itself. There is the possibility, that, humanity can achieve immortality – through science, man ought to seek to thwart off his true enemy, Death.

Fantasy, offers the dream, of evolving humanity. Progress testifies to natural evolution, as a real power driving the human species, towards the finality of civilization. In this regard, it is necessary to generate within the human mind, the dream – of a world, where, man has the mind of a genius, displays the power of flight, controls the electromagnetic spectrum, and has longevity. Perhaps, science can stimulate the human process of adaptation, and help drive evolution towards the finality of an age, where, the human person is eminently free, and master of his domain.

With Superman Unchained, it is necessary to reach for the stars, for the unknown, for the cosmos, where the process of imagination illustrates fantasy – for indeed, destiny, is written in the stars and there is no greater purpose than to seek adventure for the purpose of transcending the temporal life! Superman, evidences that, man has the capacity to transcend his condition; technology, for all its totalitarian temptation, can be a force that evolves humanity and that helps the human person, integrate the Logos into the substance of human life: indeed, power is noble, and in that power that is fantasy, fiction incarnates the purpose of imagination – incarnate a story on a blank canvas, for the nourishment of thought, the merriment of the heart, the education of the person.

Fantasy, is that power of the dream, that makes the impossible, possible. The will to power, is a pathos, that is fantasy, that seeks to diffuse the good of being, of life, and that desires to attain at omnipotence. To seek power, is to fulfill the demands of nature, of a theology that reflects on its reality. In the final analysis, the will to power is the desire for evolution, that desire that seeks the human person, a Superman, a giant among men, who inspires with his nobility and reveals the path for humanity, in a transcendence that stops the course of mighty rivers, and changes the course of history.

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