Bee-Man – Superheroes and Story

beeMy parents told me a story about when I was a tiny baby. They said a huge bee, a bee bigger and fatter than they had ever seen before had somehow flown into my little bedroom and headed straight for me. The bee proceeded to sting me repeatedly. My parents found me bawling with a huge, dead bumblebee lying next to me, like some strange friend. They added (in that detailed way which gives stories a truth) that the bee was infested with mites. The bee had been so tormented that it must have flown into my room, stung me and died.

Ever since then I have had extraordinary powers. I grew up to become Bee-Man, able to fly, the ability to be impressed by flowers, able to bug people and sting my enemies (although only at the price of my life).

Obviously a costume was needed at some point. And every superhero (and supervillain) needs a lair of some kind to fight the forces of darkness (or light). And so the honeycomb was built.

Some of the above story is true but I do have a tenuous link with reality and so I have to admit that the superpowers have proved disappointing. They are as evasive as miracles.

The psychology of superheroes is a clever one.  From the Avengers through to Strontium Dog and Beowolf there is a draw to this kind of character. Partly this is because we instinctively realise that we can be better than we are. And that our stories are not over. Although there may be more shame than glory in this world there is still the potential of doing great deeds.

Superhero powers hint at a new level of existence beyond the humdrum. Every time a superhero is knocked down they get back up. (And every time they are silenced they are able to speak again.) Nothing can stop them.

That is why it is so healthy (and not childish at all) to read and watch superhero stories – they draw us that little bit closer to wanting to do great deeds (unless, obviously, you identify with the supervillain).

The hints and patterns which are found in the superhero stories are not necessarily the wild goose chases or delusions which fade like mobile phone screens after a story has been told. They are not necessarily the red herrings of butterfly minds which would like so much for them to be so. There is a kernel of truth in them. These stories are so engrained within cultures and time periods. They are a mirror and a remembering of the stories and myths of heroes. They are what we could be.

And how can such superhuman powers be attained? There are patterns to our lives, there are threads of gold which link the love within our life stories. There are still mysteries and there are still supernatural elements to this world. Not all things are as they seem.

But sadly one of the side-effects of becoming Bee-Man is that I cannot reveal the true source of my power.

Think happy thoughts.

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