Let’s consider the socially awkward Clark Kent. He constantly makes a total fool of himself in front of the charming Lois Lane. He stumbles, falls and never fails to embarrass himself when he’s around her as she overlooks the ordinary Clark. As beautiful Lois is to Clark, we know that she feels inadequate in front of the indestructible Superman. This is the Superman who is after all, the same Clark Kent whose invincible knees can’t seem to keep from going weak in the presence of her kryptonite eyes.
I find that the Clark-Lois narrative can be a powerful critique on humanity’s vanity and selfishness. We constantly fail to see the love, kindness and compassion of others even when it’s in front of us. We constantly fail to value the ordinary. It’s maddening to think that we crave the perfect person, the perfect moment, the perfect feeling only to fulfill our selfish needs. While in fact, noticing the ordinary can be extraordinary. It’s an unhealthy obsession as we find ways to disappoint ourselves with impossible expectations. We are selfish partly out of fear, a fear of accepting of who we are and what we have. But how do we prevent this foolproof method of self-destruction?
We need to start valuing the ordinary around us more: the summer night skies, the taste of warm milk, old brick walls, the presence of our partners in the stillness of the dawn and the grey silence of the early morning. To take notice of the Clark Kent’s of our lives. When we start noticing these things, we will begin to hear a more humbling message. We already know this in our hearts. It comes from a deeper, quieter part of us. We can finally start to realize our utter insignificance. When measured against eons of time and space, we are nothing. When measured against Superman, we are nothing. We think ourselves as too important. Hence, we are selfish to ourselves and to others. We exist too much in the minds of ourselves, a suffocation of vanity. We are the perpetual overdramatizers of who we are and what we expect. To free ourselves from the constant debilitating fears, we need to grasp this morbid but truthful insight.
There is a weakness in our field of vision. The truth is that there is so much courage and heroism in being able to identify this selfless perspective. Perhaps we will finally learn how to give than receive, to learn how to love than look to be loved, to learn to save than to be saved.