Sensual, Thoughtful, and Very Naughty
Dawn of Understanding is a continuation of my journey for deeper understanding and meaning. As always, I hope to present this in a way that stimulates thoughts to inform your journey as well. If we are willing to dig a little deeper, we can learn a lot about ourselves through our reaction to art. To this end, I use the upcoming movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as a reference point for reflection.
When I first heard this movie was being developed, I was gripped with intense excitement. After a long wait, I am only a few weeks from the movie’s release on March 25th. If you could be inside me, you would probably laugh at the adrenaline rush I feel watching trailers for this film. If you knew how many times I’ve watched them you might laugh even harder! The storyline in Batman v Superman is more than entertainment for me. It touches something deep inside me and elicits a very strong reaction. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I want to understand the “why” behind this reaction.
If you have time, this 2:00 clip will add context for this post. I’ve added links to other trailers at the end of this post.
I first introduced my affinity for Batman in the Shadow post as I explored the Jungian concepts of shadow and persona within our psyche. Carl Jung described our shadow the part of our psyche hidden from view and light. It is our dark side, but this isn’t the same as saying it is our evil side. There is the potential to develop a phobia or counter-phobia around the cause(s) of our shadow. Phobia leads us to avoid, suppress, fear, and run from our darkness. On the other side of the scale, we may face our shadow in a way that is counter-phobic. Instead of fear and/or avoidance, we confront the darkness of our deepest fear over and over. Along with our shadow in our psyche, we have our persona. Our persona is what others see when they look at us. It is our light and the collection of masks we wear when interacting in the outer world.
This movie on some level represents the struggle of shadow and persona for dominance of our psyche. A person can be shadow or persona dominated. Batman is widely recognized as a shadow-dominated character with a counter-phobic reaction to his shadow. Superman is recognized as persona-dominated character. Embedded within this struggle is each characters’ heroic journey. The heroic journey is also an archetype and each of us live out our own heroic journey in life.
It is through our own heroic journey and the merging of our shadow and persona that we progress towards wholeness of being. If we succeed in this journey, we approach the full potential of Self or Maslow’s self-actualization. In writing Shadows and through comments from dear friends that have engaged in my journey, I’ve learned some things about myself. Through the heartbreak of my mother’s death, I may have reacted to my shadow in a counter-phobic way–instead of running from love to protect my heart, loving women became my passion and mission. This may be one connection I feel with the mythology of Batman–through his parents’ death he developed a counter-phobic reaction to crime.
Batman is a fictional superhero, so why bother? Superheroes are modern-day mythology and, intentional or not, they often represent archetypes. As I extend this line of thought beyond persona and shadows, my search led me once again to renowned psychologist Carl Jung. Jung (as did Plato) believed all humans have, within our psyche and collective unconsciousness, shared universal archetypes. These innate archetypes expressed through art and dreams are found in people all over the world and can be traced back to include people of ancient civilizations.
In Romantic Love: Hearts on Fire, I write about anima/animus as visions of divine perfection in a lover–archetypal love. We tend to connect strongly with archetypes and they evoke deep emotions. If you have a favorite superhero, fictional character, or mythological god that resonates with you, you are likely feeling an archetypal connection that pushes your emotional and psychological buttons. Batman and his heroic journey does that for me just as the story does for so many.
I have mentioned numerous times that I am drawn to the tension found in contrast (psychological, emotional and sexual), and this epic clash of gladiators offers a buffet of contrast:
Within this contrast, there are expected personality differences. Personality types extended to archetypal levels are commonly expressed through fictional characters and mythology. The better this is done, the more we connect with those characters or gods. The movie pits Superman as the Mr. Perfect, follow-the-rules Boy Scout with superhuman powers against the misunderstood, self-made superhero, and often maligned Batman. What does MBTI personality patterns say about Batman and Superman?
Batman is most commonly thought to be built around the INTJ personality type which is often used to represent misunderstood heroes or villains. I haven’t yet written about my MBTI personality type yet but I am an INTJ (misunderstood, not a villain). 🙂 According to a brief INTJ caption from 16personalities.com, “It’s lonely at the top, and being one of the rarest and most strategically capable personality types, INTJs know this all too well. INTJs form just two percent of the population– it is often a challenge for them to find like-minded individuals who are able to keep up with their relentless intellectualism and chess-like maneuvering. People with the INTJ personality type are imaginative yet decisive, ambitious yet private, amazingly curious, but they do not squander their energy.” I was surprised to learn that Batman is commonly thought to be an INTJ (some consider him an INTP). This INTJ connection further explains my identification with the character.
Superman is commonly evaluated as ISFJ (movies) or ESFJ (comics) with the difference being introversion or extroversion. According to 16personalities.com, “People who share the ESFJ personality type are, for lack of a better word, popular – which makes sense, given that it is also a very common personality type, making up twelve percent of the population. In high school, ESFJs are the cheerleaders and the quarterbacks, setting the tone, taking the spotlight and leading their teams forward to victory and fame.” I have always a lot of mental and emotional friction around the Superman character. I actually deleted a paragraph devoted to frustrating high-school memories which turned out to be directed towards the ESFJ personality type.
A lover (Sienna) once asked me in a text about my interest in Batman. “Okay, so I’m fascinated by your Batman fetish. I’ve been thinking about it and wanted to ask you in D.C after seeing the book in your suitcase (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight). I see some traits in you that are similar, but I wonder what your take is? I see in you: strong physical prowess, intellect, strong will, fearlessness, calm quiet strength, intimidation, protected heart, trust, discipline, and stealthiness. I see so much! I Love you my sweet, strong, sexy, amazing, loving Man of my dreams!”
I wasn’t able to answer her question then, but I’m uncovering answers now. There is more to understand but I have come to see connection in: Shadow psyche, the heroic journey archetype, personality traits, and the tension found in contrast. In this epic fictional confrontation of Batman v Superman, I find deeper meaning. Fear is greatest before the dawn of understanding.
Additional trailer links:
And, a curious and arousing free-flow in digital art led me here with Wonder Woman. Mmmm, I wonder what sexy plans are ahead…