I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the dissertation, or the personal so forth and so on, or even the gum chewing or heavy drinking that has kept me from here so long. Nor was it even that I stopped reading comics so frequently, for even when I’m not reading many, my mind is always turning to them. The most important thing was that I thought I might have a black hole where my heart should be -
I used to dream of nanobots and the singularity; a technological sea-change after which mind will manipulated matter. But I’m certain now that mind manipulating matter won’t produce superheroes or the perfected self or happiness. The real trick is the mind that manipulates mind – unless a mind can improve itself, fix itself, and transcend its traumas, it’s wayward. Look at most humans who make it good; or, look at supergods . We slavishly reproduce our flaws and obsessions, and control of matter without mind just lets us do that on grander scales. The anti-life lives in some corner of our minds. The Darkseid is within us – the bastard, the ultimate bastard, is the self. He’s there, grasping at the anti-life, using it, whispering it, the . The narrative that asserts that there is only one narrative: there is no right or wrong; you gotta do what you gotta do; you feel like you have choices, but you don’t; there is only one world, and no other lives than these. Is this what it means to be haunted?
Things that can defeat Darkseid:
An ancient symbol of human ingenuity and imagination
A tune, whistled
I can feel Darkseid often, within me; I don’t feel Batman there, not in the same way, but maybe that’s the anti-life talking. Even so, I know the comics aren’t escapism, but escape, portals into another world, lenses offering a clarity that is obscured by conventional sight. And I think he is in fact there, but it’s taking him time – he’s out there, clawing his way out from that other world into ours, set on saving me, and everyone else. He’s showing us how. The recombines all possible lives and choices in such a way that the subject cannot but accept the anti-narrative. Batman beat it; you or I can beat it. It didn’t require nanites, or an extraordinary lineage, or savagery, or big guns.