It is often said that popular culture is a critical lens of human nature. Thanks to the summer blockbuster hit, The Man of Steel, the plight of the protagonist is more than “on the edge of our seats” entertainment. It becomes a classroom where we learn our toughest lesson: the connection between weakness and maturity.
While watching this movie, we witness the true relentless power and dominance of the Kryptonian race. Zod and his followers exact their reign devoid of compassion and with no regard for frailties. Humans are just real-life action figures the Kryptonians line up and knock down like dominoes or a deck of cards.
Human weakness establishes the Kryptonian’s superiority. They question how humans can compare to them. Their inferiority is an embarrassment, and their embarrassment qualifies them for extinction. Superman shows an affinity toward the humans. He sees their value as a species and steps up to defend their planet.
His choice angers the Kryptonians. Even though they cannot kill him, Zod and his followers expose Kell-El’s ability to bend and bruise. With lightning speed, they wield the superhero through concrete, glass, and metal. Despite his temporary moments of concession, Superman defeats his enemy and becomes the people’s champion.
We tend to act like the people of Krypton.
The people closest to us make mistakes. Their errors may cause rifts in our relationships. Our perception of them changes and our confidence in them fades. They have destroyed the pedestal or image we have set up for them. Their weakness has become an embarrassment and qualifies them for dismissal from our lives.
Their mistakes validate our superiority. We shake our fingers and heads in unison to admonish them like a wayward child. We chastise them by saying any sensible person would have known better:
Too many drinks alter judgment. One flirtatious move opens the door to something more. Spending rent money on Prada can lead to possible eviction.
We wield them through emotions such as shame, guilt, and unforgiveness instead of concrete, glass, and metal.
But our dismissal is a sign of our immaturity. Children throw away their toys when they have a broken piece or a blemish. The people in our lives are not disposable.
We fail to realize that our faults make us human. They are learning experiences designed to teach us about ourselves and about each other.
How we respond to mistakes, other people’s and our own, is a sign of our maturity.
Our faults shape us into a more beautiful masterpiece. They represent the times we have fallen, but we chose to rise in position and grow as individuals. Once we learn the lesson behind the failure, our weaknesses become our strengths. Let us adopt The Man of Steel’s philosophy and stop tearing down people when they have erred.