Category Archives: Psychology

Solving for the trauma of superheroes

Have you ever wondered about the experience–i.e., the phenomenology–of superheroes like Marvel’s Daredevil (Matt Murdock), or DC’s Batman (Bruce Wayne) and Green Arrow (Oliver Queen)? Each of theirs is a story on how heroes plagued with trauma cope via their personal mission. A “sub-phenomenology” of trauma is possible when repressed traumatic content passes into the subconscious, or sub-awareness.

Once such content passes into the subconscious, it can be treated. But before being treated, the peculiar kind of trauma should be identified. Is it grief caused by loss: as is the case for Matt, Bruce, and Oliver?

It occurred to me while outlining this post that art immersion could serve as relief therapy. Assuming trauma has not been prevented, and once sufficient insight has been gained on its nature, it should be cured. Once cured, we could move toward establishing the right prevention parameters!

The “good” self-actualizing environmentalist

What makes a good self-actualizing environmentalist? For Robert Hartman the axiologist, a good X fulfills its concept’s definition. A good self-actualizing environmentalist has attended sufficiently to their lower four need types–physiological, safety, love, and esteem (probably, but not necessarily, in this order). Further, they self-actualize in the 13 ways outlined by Maslow in being creative, spontaneous, humorous, etc.

Jung and Maslow

Carl Jung is represented as having believed that we should render the unconscious conscious. This should be done to free ourselves of the former’s power in defining our beliefs and habits.

One of Abraham Maslow’s 13 self-actualizing characteristics is the superior perception of reality. Do we not achieve the latter by learning about and knowing the contents of our unconscious?

Self-acceptance and Eupsychia

Acceptance of self, others, and nature is one of Maslow’s self-actualizing characteristics.

Can self- and other-actualization lead to Eupsychia (the psychologically healthy socioculture)?

The above characteristic might be a good place to start! Just try accepting nature, too…

It would be ideal if acceptance of each of self, others, and nature reinforce one another 🙂

Eupsychian self-actualization

One of Maslow’s characteristics of self-actualizers is the continued freshness of appreciation.

How does this lead one to Eupsychia–Maslow’s idea of the psychologically healthy culture/society?

The more we appreciate life, the more we may start to notice the ways it nourishes our soul!

The maximally healthy collective consists of spirited individuals taking great care of their souls…

Darrow from Red Rising

Darrow (“Red Rising”) and self-actualization

In an interview featured on the HowlerPod podcast, Red Rising trilogy author Pierce Brown noted main character Darrow’s trait of not caring about what other characters think.

By the end of the trilogy (and still after fourth installment Iron Gold), it is undeniable that Darrow has earned almost unanimous respect of the universe’s various inhabitants. For the pioneering theorist of self-actualization Abraham H. Maslow, esteem follows from love as a universal human need.

If Darrow has achieved love by the end of the trilogy and respect after Iron Gold, has his character in fifth Red Rising novel Dark Age moved on to fulfilling his self-actualization needs (which come immediately after esteem in Maslow’s hierarchy)?

Whether Darrow is in the process of self-actualizing by Dark Age or not would require analysis of his actions and comparison with the traits of self-actualizing figures. Some of the latter’s traits include having a non-hostile, philosophical sense of humor as well as superior perceptions of reality.

Probably the easiest self-actualizing trait to relate Darrow with is autonomy. In his efforts to preserve “the Rising” of his “Red” social class (primarily made up of miners), Darrow has come to develop a highly independent conscience. He has become the kind of hero who sees what must be done for the cause he and his team have fought for over more than a decade–even when certain members of said team might not understand themselves.

It doesn’t matter for the Rising if a few of its proponents have strayed from the core of its project, which is to break the chains of slaves everywhere. Darrow is the heart of the revolution, and to keep its flame lit, it may be that he must self-actualize in certain ways.

Maslow and Scott Pilgrim

Scott Pilgrim fights Gideon for love (Ramona Flowers), then for self-respect.

How does he reach the next level on Maslow’s pyramid and attain self-actualization?

After conquering Gideon, Scott must fight Nega Scott. This is the battle to confront and overcome his shadow.

Ultimately, Scott is successful in befriending his dark self. Having done so, he achieves Jungian individuation, integrating the two sides of his being.

Able to move forward with the woman of his dreams, Scott becomes a self-actualized pilgrim!

A middle way psychology

What would this look like? To start, it would transcend psychology’s various dichotomies. These include individualism-collectivism.

Individualism is about “me” or “you”, while collectivism is about “we”/”us”. A prized value for individualism is independence; for collectivism, dependence and interdependence.

We might look to the example of assertiveness for inspiration. Assertiveness is the middle trait between passivity and aggression. Assertiveness is the ideal balance of passiveness and aggression: the assertive person is confident yet respectful.

To resolve individualism-collectivism, their middle must be clarified. What lies between these two is our desired cultural style: “indivectivism” or “collectividualism”. The question, then, is what is between you or I and we/us!