I never enjoyed the Superman franchise. To me, Superman was always just one of those characters so unidimensional and bland that I could never muster up enough interest to care about his exploits or his life trajectory. I always found myself more interested in his origins, specifically those of his father, Jor-El. I’ll note that some disagree with this assessment, but that’s neither here nor there.
Jor-El, the Cassandra of Krypton, a scientist and statesman who saw his planet, people, and civilization hurtling towards certain doom, but who went unheeded. Jor-El was always a fascinating character to me because I always wondered: what goes through the mind of a man with the foresight and the intellect to predict the end of his world, but without the power to save it? How would such a man deal with watching the masses fiddling while the world burns, preferring to busy themselves with trivialities rather than save themselves? Above all, how did Jor-El psychically manage to live while everything around him was dying?
I always liked to imagine that despondency struck him first, then hopelessness, and then nihilism. Being a man of reason, science and action, he probably shook off his torpor, strengthened his resolve, and refocused his efforts. No longer would he attempt the salvation of all of Krypton – he would now devote all of his efforts to the preservation of his heritage, genetics, and culture in the form of his infant son, Kal-El.
This is where things with Jor-El got really interesting for me. He always seemed to be a benevolent, august kind of character, but it was clear that his motives in sending his son to Earth were far more selfish than they were altruistic. His behavior was altruistic, in the sense that he wanted to send Earth a savior and a leader who could help it avoid Krypton’s fate. But it was also profoundly selfish in the sense that he felt, above all else, that his culture, lineage, and his world was worth preserving even though that preservation was in the form of the tiniest kernel; even if his devotion to the preservation of the future necessitated the abandonment of hope for the preservation of the present.
The Last Son of Krypton.
Jor-El’s purpose as the end approached became keeping his heir and the last remnant of his civilization alive. I always thought that was saying something, to be so motivated by such a belief in the worthiness and fundamental goodness of his heritage and civilization that he would go above and beyond to save even the smallest piece of it. I always imagined that this would have been what inspired a man (or whatever) like Jor-El in those last days of Krypton.
Like Krypton, this civilization has received its death letter. The decay is apparent to anyone willing to peer behind the veil and beyond the smoke and mirrors. This is not to say that the end will be abrupt, or even catastrophic; it’s far likelier that the process of civilizational death will be a subtle, more gradual one. The Enlightenment principles that made Western Civilization possible will continue to be eroded as older populations are gradually replaced by newer populations that value concepts like, say – Sharia and political correctness – more than they value concepts like freedom of conscience and the presumption of innocence. The expansion of the state will accelerate, as will the whittling away of the notion of negative freedoms, freedom from government action & inalienable rights; the feckless and clueless will clamor for the government to grant positive and novel rights to newly discovered interest groups.
Anarcho-tyranny effectuated through constitutional chicanery and increasingly lax laws will become a permanent feature of the political landscape, as unrest becomes a permanent feature of the social landscape. Like Krypton, the West and its people will be destroyed by overwhelming internal pressures and instabilities (though not ones of a physical nature) that go ignored even as people observe the problems reaching critical mass but refuse to intervene even to save themselves.
Realistically, the problems cited defy political resolution at this point in time. The interminable “march of progress” and its noxious byproducts have been sold as boons to the credulous, destroying both their ability to perceive the disorder and their will to create momentum towards restoration.
Like Jor-El, I think that it is necessary to realize when trying to save a society – a civilization really – in its entirety has become an exercise in futility and to disengage from these quixotic endeavors. There comes a time when the aware must determine what exactly it is that we believe in, and what of our heritage, culture, and legacy is worth saving. These shards and remnants must be preserved as completely as humanly possible and nurtured. We must hope that the civilizational values that once made greatness possible will once again find fertile soil and take root, if not here and now then someplace else someday. Naturally, this drive is rooted in both altruistic and selfish considerations. Altruistically, there is the belief that the values of Western Civilization made it possible for man to reach his apex, leading to the desire to see others benefit similarly. Selfishly, the fear of the civilization’s extinction and the fear of oblivion motivating efforts to preserve what’s left.
I think that a future oriented mindset is perhaps best and most adaptive. This, and a recognition that solutions for the present are few are the best ways for the aware to achieve self preservation, find purpose, and to survive in dying times.