Superheroes and Science
Updated: Jan 20
I began a recent session of YAX by asking my brave participants, what a superhero looks like. They said, "Strong, genuine, passsionate."
Then I asked them what one sounds like. They said, "Strong, clear, confident, soothing."
Next I asked, what does a superhero say? "I’m listening", "I can", "I’m here for you", "I will", "I can do this" and "you’re safe" all came pouring out of their mouths.
I asked what a hero does. They said, "Serve" and "Saves - every person."
Finally, I asked, have you ever been a hero? This was met with uncomfortable laughter - as if the idea was ridiculous. I went on to tell them why I thought they were heroic, and how I'd help them believe that through our work, too.
The emerging field of Heroism Science and the banality of heroism suggest that we are all potential heroes waiting for a moment in life to perform a heroic deed. The decision to act heroically is a choice that many of us will be called upon to make at some point in time. This charge is what caused the uncomfortable laughter in my group, just as it's possibly doing in you right now, if you are asking yourself the same question (am I a superhero?).
Scholar Joseph Campbell long argued that "The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” By becoming in sync with the universe, with nature, we understand we are part of something larger and therefore able to tap into something far more powerful than we could on our own. We can be superheroes.
Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces is a cornerstone of psychology, mythology and history. The teachings in it have been adapted and adopted throughout the years, perhaps most famously by George Lucas in developing the structure for Star Wars: A New Hope. Campbell argued that we're all Luke Skywalker - the individual seeking her bliss who, when she is ready, will meet her mentor and begin the quest to become that which she has feared and desired.
Improvisation is a journey, too. It's not about a scene, a joke or a character. It's a philosophy, a mindset an adaptive set of tools that can bent, broken and reformed to fit anywhere, any time - including becoming a Superhero. Join us in our sessions on Monday or Friday at 2p to learn more and discover your superhero - you might have a really cool cape waiting for you.