This was an awesome
episode, soup to nuts.
First, I just finished listening to that Josh Ritter ditty for the third time and will be buying some of his songs shortly. Thank you, Norm, for continually introducing, such interesting and moving music.
The story was gripping and thought-provoking and well narrated by Mr. Thompson. This whole episode was definitely "A" material; I think that if it was on the main feed, people would be raving about it much more.
Stories about the life and death of remarkable people, and/or civilizations, and/or the universe are my Kryptonite. They always set me to thinking about my own insignificance; how most of my dreams are now proven forever out of reach, and how I have, at best, maybe a decade left to make the smallest of ripples (Or just say "F it" and try to die happy-ish).
This story got me thinking more about what "Superman" really means.
The human race has accomplished what it has by tiny, tortured applications of rational action, backed up by levels of coordination (of individuals ideally acting for their own
best interest) on a grand scale.
Humans are NOT: faster, stronger, or more talented with abilities than other species. Humans thrive best when they are smarter, less coerced, and voluntarily
The Superman of comic books is an unthinking parody of the opposite of that. He's not particularly smart, nor are his friends. He's "Super" because of brute physical attributes, and ludicrous magical powers that he uses mostly without cost or comprehension. He's a child's mistaken view of what can make a man, or a nation, great.
This story made me realize:
- Superman has physical abilities far beyond that of any 10 men, of course, but his abilities are also far beyond any one, or two, chunks of matter. (And Superman is allegedly made up of matter, same as everything else.)
- Superman's abilities are those of several machines, or even systems of machines. And his sensibilities are not quite human (wearing underwear on the outside is a tell).
- The versions where Superman is immortal-ish, mean that Superman must be more of an idea, or a propagating event than any chunk of flesh and bone.
- Superman is not human, but he is hopefully raised and guided by particularly good humans -- so that he does not become a monster (by our biased use of that term).
In short, the real Superman can only really be either the sum of human accomplishment -- scattered over billions of individuals and thousands of years.
Or, superman can be our successor species, that we will no-doubt create. Superman might just be the product of the Singularity, if we are lucky.
Let us hope that, like this story's superman, the real-life "Superman" views us without malice and when (if is certain) "he" conquers us, he rules with tolerance for "minor" faults.