Superhuman Metaphysics and the Ultimate Hulk

ourchair

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Post-Humanity Discussion

At compound's insistence, I'm posting my wacko idea for Ultimate Hulk, which does not take into consideration how Bendis and Millar have used the character thus far and most of these ideas originally came from thoughts for an Ultimate Samuel Sterns/Leader idea (a character I had written in my head as part of the Ultimate Hulkbusters MWOF suggested.)

The following ideas come from toying with the idea of trying to meld how the concept of "incarnation" is treated as a psychoanalytical device in Hulk while in the old computer RPG by Black Isle Studios' called Planescape: Torment the concept of "incarnation" is a largely pseudomythological one.

IDEA: In Planescape, the lead character, The Nameless One, is immortal. When he dies, he is reborn but with a different personality. He "reincarnates" everytime he wakes up from a temporary death. Sometimes he is a paranoid schizophrenic, the other times he is a kind-hearted Good Samaritan and he could even be a righteous goody two shoes who is more "Lawful" than he is "Good". Planescape is an interestingly subversive take on the Joseph Campbell idea that all heroes are the same hero in all cultures, because it views it LITERALLY: The different incarnations ARE the same hero.

The core struggle of The Nameless One is the reconciliation of his different incarnations. He seeks to have the realities of his existence unified (all located within a pocket dimension one of his incarnations created), for in doing so he may become strong enough to battle a manifestation of his mortality known as The Transcendent One and finally die in peace.

As an aside, the concept of "final death" in Planescape has meaning because it means The Nameless One's life as a "personal mythical narrative" comes full circle and resolves itself. One way to read Planescape is to suggest that its about how all myths begin and how they must ALL end.

IDEA: One of the interesting takes established by Peter David was that Hulk's many incarnations were actually a manifestation of Banner's LATENT personality disorder. For each incarnation there is of Hulk is a corresponding psychological stress... The Savage Hulk, the Grey Hulk, The Professor, Guilt Hulk and Devil Hulk are just one of the many ways Banner-Hulk is "incarnated". (I know I learned about this from a Web reference but I can't seem to locate it at the moment.)

In some ways, my idea is quasi-Jungian psychology: reconciling the mythological with the psychological almost as if reincarnation is really REALITY's way of manifesting its own collective unconscious, as if reality had a "psyche" of its own.

IDEA: If there was a way to incorporate research of human development and self-enhancement and use that as the primary launching point from where a "self-reincarnating" Banner/Hulk would come from... you'd have a pretty funky new idea for Ultimate Hulk... which could spring off a lot of ideas that tie in with Middle Eastern spirituality, alchemy and even Greek metaphysics.

Human development today is viewed as a field that uses scientific disciplines to perfect the technology to recreate ourselves, to transmute and reshape our own essences like an alchemist woud. Today's gene technologies are really just the MOST EMPIRICAL manifestations of Old World protosciences like alchemy.

Thus, my idea for Ultimate Hulk is to treat the character as an exploration and discourse on self-enhancement and resonates with my own overexposed ideas of "superhuman zeitgeist" and about a history of practices that have been geared towards humanity's quest for self-improvement. If Ultimates views the rise of the post-human as a geopolitical issue, and UXM sees it as a largely sociopolitical one, then this Ultimate Hulk is about post-humanity as a philosophical one.
 
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ourchair

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Guijllons said:
So what you mean is, each time he hulks out, he's different?
I'm not sure. I actually haven't come up with a concrete plot/character direction for this hypothetical Hulk treatment. What I'm hypothesizing here is a creative direction and a THEMATIC significance for the title that stands in contrast to what we already have. Concrete details are something I haven't synthesized.
 

Guijllons

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If you're going to explore these facets in comic book form, then there will need to be some physical acknowledgment. Although I do feel that Banner will undoubtedly go through some post human crisis, and there could be a story for which that is central. I don't see this particular issue to be at the core of what Banner is about.

This treatment, as you said, is not part of the Millar/Bendis construct, and would possible be suitable for his 616 counterpart, that already does have those aspects built into the Hulk character. While I feel in the Ultimate version, the true points of Banners kafka-esque transformation are not entirely compatible.

We know that the 616 BAnner has already got to a poit where he can control and induce the Hulk at will, and this would certainly be a far broader canvas for the exploration of the Banner/Hulk chemistry/alchemy.
 

Friday

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ourchair said:
In some ways, my idea is quasi-Jungian psychology: reconciling the mythological with the psychological almost as if reincarnation is really REALITY's way of manifesting its own collective unconscious, as if reality had a "psyche" of its own.
You know, that reminds me of a philospher..... who's name I can't remember. The basic jist of his teachings was that the universe has its own consciousness that is endlessly searching for the basic truth to exsistance, and that all the actions of humanity is part of it's movments. He also belived that each person is on its own search for truth themselves. Everyone starts selfish, then moves to doing things for selfish motivations, then to doing things with no personal motives, simply because it is what should be done.

Anyway, as for the Hulk, thats an intresting idea, but it seems a bit too high concept for a marvel book. I could see this as something from Vertigo, or Maxx if supreme Power becomes thier benchmark for storytelling.
 

ourchair

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Baxter said:
Anyway, as for the Hulk, thats an intresting idea, but it seems a bit too high concept for a marvel book. I could see this as something from Vertigo, or Maxx if supreme Power becomes thier benchmark for storytelling.
That's probably the best compliment I can aspire to. :D But I still don't think this Hulk is entirely too high concept, maybe because I'm imagining it differently and I'm not giving you the write combination of details and mental image to see it.

In my original wankery, I wrote:
ourchair said:
Thus, my idea for Ultimate Hulk is to treat the character as an exploration and discourse on self-enhancement and resonates with my own overexposed ideas of "superhuman zeitgeist" and about a history of practices that have been geared towards humanity's quest for self-improvement. If Ultimates views the rise of the post-human as a geopolitical issue, and UXM sees it as a largely sociopolitical one, then this Ultimate Hulk is about post-humanity as a philosophical one.
I'll admit that this is really unclear (and in retrospect, needs heavy editing). The point is that if the Ultimate Universe reads/writes the post-human as an "evolutionary" concept, then that concept should extend across all conceptual dimensions. Evolution should not be viewed under lesser terms.

IDEA: Man, as "post-ape" was greater than his simian ancestors: His increased intelligence and tool-making abilities gave him an edge over lesser animals. Hypothetically, this caused anxiety among animals. They asked themselves: "Who is this post-ape? Why is he so much more powerful in the food chain? As a superior being, will he use his strengths responsibly or will he exploit us, destroy the ecosphere and take what he can?"

Now, don't these anxious questions sound very similar to the ones concering post-humanity? Think about it: The post-humans are blessed with the power to affect geopolitics (Ultimates), are gifted enough to cause feelings of anxiety and inferiority among the "normal" (UXM) and are exploring issues of morality within a new context (i.e. power/responsibility schtick in USM). Will the post-humans affect global changes? Will he he use his gifts to subvert the social order and take what he can, or will he struggle to live within society while still being able to use his gifts just as man struggles to live within nature? What does this mean for the future of the normals? (Incidentally, a question a Kong posed in USM.)

IDEA: Post-human is a concept that gets thrown around a lot by the writers of the Ultimate Universe, but I doubt that term is taken as seriously as it should be. Post-human, to me, suggests a living creature that is more than human, and that is abstracted and manifested in comic books as "superhumans", "mutants" and "cyborgs": Marvels with abilities beyond those of mere mortals.

In Daredevil, Ben Urich has twice stated that he doesn't "understand that fourth dimensional world of superpowers". The implication is he doesn't understand how one can be blind yet see with the sense. It's a level of BE-ING and existing that is completely incomprehensible and alien to him. Which makes sense: Can YOU imagine what it's like to hear everyone's thoughts constantly? What it's like to live the thoughts of a brute and a scientist?

The problem is, Baxter, I STILL haven't directly answered your question, I've only tried to selfishly JUSTIFY my take. While I'm coming closer to picturing in my head what Ultimate Hulk is like, I still don't know how to articulate it without coming across as too J. Michael Straczynski (Spider Totems and stuff).

So it is at this point that I will now request that this thread be renamed to "Post-Humanity discussion" to open it to all thoughts about the nature of post-humanity, its issues and its impact on society, within comics and within speculative reality.
 

ourchair

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I don't mean to be all self-serving and bump up a thread of mine that's long dead but I found a draft of a reply that I wrote awhile back that I never got around to posting, so I've decided to cut and paste it here anyway.
Baxter said:
You know, that reminds me of a philospher..... who's name I can't remember. The basic jist of his teachings was that the universe has its own consciousness that is endlessly searching for the basic truth to exsistance, and that all the actions of humanity is part of it's movments. He also belived that each person is on its own search for truth themselves. Everyone starts selfish, then moves to doing things for selfish motivations, then to doing things with no personal motives, simply because it is what should be done.
I'm not too polished on my metaphysics or cultural theory, but that does sound like it came from someone building off of the work of Carl Jung, who I'm referring to when I say "Jungian". He's the one who developed the concept of the collective unconscious. As Wikipedia describes it:
Wikipedia said:
The collective unconscious refers to that part of a person's unconscious which is common to all human beings. It contains archetypes, which are forms or symbols that are manifested by all people in all cultures. Some say that this borders on metaphysics: the difference in their conceptualization of the unconscious is one of the more conspicuous differences between the psychologies founded by Jung and Freud.
So, my justification for making all this metaphysical/psychomythological hoo-ha out of the Hulk is that traditionally, Hulk has always been treated as a Freudian case study of "traumatic memories", "repressed emotions" and as in the Ang Lee movie, "Oedipal rage". He is Freudian psychology made REAL: The mental shift between the ego, id and superego, a primarily INTERNAL struggle, becomes manifested in a PHYSICAL one: The shift between Banner-Hulk and his many forms.

Now, Freudian psychology is all well and good, but it doesn't seem to have the necessary glue to tie it in with one of the core themes of the Ultimate universe: The effects of post-humanity in political and social dimensions. Which incidentally, is really just an Ultimate realization of ideas Kurt Busiek touched upon in Marvels and to a lesser extent, Superman: Secret Identity.
 

ourchair

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I wish I knew what drugs I was taking when I wrote this because I still love this piece even if it is a little nutty.
 

fenway

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I too thought this to be Jung, though the part about the collective unconscious trying to explain itself sounds different to me - it seemed to me that Jung's 'collective' idea was more geared toward individuals realizing their own personal potential, as driven by the shared background. (Though many years removed from a philosophy/psychology course, I could be horribly wrong). If it is a different philosopher, I'd like to know more about them... not to dis Jung.

...ahh to be Jung again
 

ourchair

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I too thought this to be Jung, though the part about the collective unconscious trying to explain itself sounds different to me - it seemed to me that Jung's 'collective' idea was more geared toward individuals realizing their own personal potential, as driven by the shared background. (Though many years removed from a philosophy/psychology course, I could be horribly wrong). If it is a different philosopher, I'd like to know more about them... not to dis Jung.
As mentioned above, I'm not denying the influence of Carl Jung. Hence the term, "Jungian".

You are however correct in your assessment of Jung as being oriented towards self-development. Which is why it makes it a great theoretical/literary framework to build a superhuman comic book character.

fenway said:
...ahh to be Jung again
:lol:
 

ourchair

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OMG. I wrote this?

I don't know if I'm brilliant or nuts.

Either way, I'm still totally fappable.
 

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