Friday, January 15, 2010

Batman and the Jungian Self

Batman and the Jungian Self: In the psychology of Carl Jung, there is a specific reference to the Self. As an archetype, it serves as one of the most fundamental features of a person's psyche. It also marks the intersection between the mind's conscious and unconscious elements. The core component of the Self, however, resides in the process of individuation. For Jung, this process involves bringing the unconscious aspects of one's mind into the conscious. Perhaps individuation is best exemplified by fictional superhero Batman. His Self certainly follows a unique pattern of development, as it consistently undergoes a transformation from wealthy citizen to communal vigilante. In fact, the story surrounding Batman's transformation is not all that unbelievable. As a billionaire philanthropist, Bruce Wayne acquires a sense of extreme self-discipline after his parents' murders and becomes motivated by both revenge and love. But what makes Batman particularly appealing is his relentless drive for self-actualization or what Nietzsche calls the "will to power." This drive helps him pursue Gotham City's most notorious criminals in a way that only he can.

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