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October 21, 2019

Archive for July 31, 2009

Will Obama Be The Last Superman?

The Last Superman
The Last Superman

Article in Kabbalah Today Issue 21

The world is desperately looking for heroes, people who will lead us out of the crises that are pummeling us. Can President Obama rise to the occasion and defeat the villains of greed and egoism?

Recently, it was rumored that Barack Obama was tempted to enter the bidding for a rare edition of the first-ever Superman comic. The rumors began to settle when it was announced that the American President would not be participating in the auction (and besides, he’s a Spiderman, not a Superman, fan). And finally, all the talk came to a halt when the comic was sold to someone else for $325,000 (almost the yearly salary for Mr. Obama).

Still, the fact that the rumors started is much more than a coincidence. Superman is a clear symbol of the American Dream; he is the ultimate cowboy, the redeeming angel of a new era. Despite the decades that have passed since he was last seen flying above Metropolis, and the steady stream of heroes that have flooded the world ever since, there is no doubt that the blue knight in the red cape is still number one.

It’s no wonder that people are associating Obama with Superman, as if asking the two to join forces and defeat the escalating crisis. Obama’s sweeping inaugural speech before Congress was a perfect testimony to this. It was a classic Superman speech.

Superman, as we all know, always “emerges stronger than before” after a crisis. He always comes out on top and gains the upper hand even when all seems lost. He saves the world from complete catastrophe at the very last moment, and gets a big round of applause in the process.

Can Superman Still Prevail?

The only problem is that Obama is trying to be Superman in a post-Superman era, an era where there is no place for mythological superheroes, shrouded in an aura of heroic loneliness. Obama, like the rest of the world leaders, has to understand that none of the old methods will help him solve this crisis because reality has changed. It’s not just that the rules of the game have changed; we are playing a completely new game.

Until recently, we have lived in an individualistic world, where the planet was ruled by omnipotent financial opportunists and brilliant, cunning ego giants. Now, however, the situation has changed completely. It’s as if an invisible giant fisherman has caught humanity inside one global net and left it hanging, lost and perplexed. The sharks on Wall Street have suddenly found themselves tossed into the same boat as the smallest of the “small fry” in Istanbul, all gasping for air in unison.

In this new era, the collapse of the financial system is clearly showing us that an attitude of using others, or even just caring for yourself alone, is a vengeful, double-edged sword. Our ambition, also known as the ego, has ceased being a loyal friend that helps us get ahead and has become a dangerous enemy. And now, the big question is: who will save the world from itself?

New Heroes for a New Age

There is no doubt that we are in dire need of new heroes. To find them, we must rearrange our entire value system and change the formula for prosperity from the one that says: “success comes from using others,” to the opposite, “success comes from mutual concern.” Or, in the words of the British prime minister Gordon Brown to labor activists in Bristol, “Our task must be nothing less than to rebuild a financial system where it has failed and then to create an economy where banks are no longer serving themselves but serving the public.”

Our new, interconnected, interrelated world demands new superheroes, who will understand that the true enemy is found within. A true hero will be someone who knows how to conquer his own evil inclination, his own greed and self-centered way of thinking. The leaders of tomorrow will be people or nations who know they have to encourage mutual support and strengthen the connections between people, and who are able to see others as heroes, too.

The new superheroes will communicate the laws of integration and unification, necessary for our existence, to the next generations. They will teach people to see themselves and others as organs in one body, existing inside one nature, as one universal Superman. And just like in a body, mutual care for the benefit of the whole generates harmony and life, whereas caring for the self alone results in cancer. The new Superman will help us all understand that this also applies to our single, unified body of humanity, and once we understand this, we will regain life in the systems that are now gasping for air.

Could Obama be that Superman? Only time will tell. He is off to a promising start. He shows a great desire to change the world for the better, and has a personality that embodies a unique mixture of countries and people. The only question is whether he will be wise enough to set the right example for the other world leaders to follow. Otherwise, he may find himself carved into the pages of history as the last egoistic Superman.

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