Zuriel: Angel of Preparation (Sept 23rd-Oct 22nd)

          The I Ching says, “The superior man thinks of evil that will come and guards against it.”

“But that’s the thing about Batman. Batman thinks of everything.”
-Grant Morrison

         According to Grant Morrison, Batman “read how traumatized children sometimes develop cover personalities to protect themselves from painful repressed memories" and something occurred to him. He wondered, “If my mind came under attack, let’s just say… if it already has come under attack… would it be possible to create an emergency personality as a defense? A back-up human operating system.”

         Of course, he’s explaining what the obviously self-aware and autonomous internal concept of “The Batman” actually is. But a psychic pioneer like Morrison is clever enough to suggest that a sophisticated enough "back-up human operating system," like the Batman, might get the idea to RE-TRAUMATIZE himself, in this case through an extensive Thogol death meditation ritual, in order to implant yet another redundancy Batman persona, the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh. This produces yet another personality, buried deep within his unconscious, which is ready to emerge should the first Batman ever completely lose his mind, the way Bruce Wayne, the original persona, could be said to have lost his.

         The layering of personalities on top of personalities in an endless procession of brave soldiers, each one making some variation on the classic “survival plan” the mind uses to preserve the individual's identity, is something Batman first recognized in the strategy of his prime adversary, the Joker. He keenly observes how the Joker kept “coming back... different.” Batman surmises that the Joker “recreates himself constantly, like some kind of super-MPD.” Although not always the case, here, at least, that old saying, “It takes one to know one,” holds quite true.

         Of course this so-called “super-MPD” (Super Multiple Personality Disorder) is perhaps not quite as uncommon as one might think. What if it’s simply far too subtle and efficient a phenomenon to be noticed, even on the grand scale on which it may be occurring, and even, most ironically, within our very own minds. The chronological path of the human body may be locked into one very definite, commonly grim, path, a march to the grave that accelerates or slows depending on our basic lifestyle choices, but the contents of our secret internal procession of eponymously named personalities can shift and reinvent themselves with every significant obstacle we encounter. Shakespeare once wrote that “A coward dies a thousand deaths; the brave die but once,” but a brilliant strategist like Bruce Wayne, or the Batman, or whatever anyone might want to call him, knows that one must die as many times as it takes, internally, to become the best Self he or she can be. I call this process Multiple Personality Engineering, and it opens doorways and vistas that would otherwise remain closed, or perhaps just hidden and unconscious.

         Realizing that we have this latent power to choose precisely who and what we’ll become makes the concept of “what-we-really-are” all the more interesting as well. Am I to be defined by the limits I was born with, by my capacity to conceive of some far less limited being whom I might now merely aspire to be, or by some temporary snapshot I might stop and take on the long road in-between? Or, most disturbingly, can I be said to even exist anywhere else but within the very exchange of these self-defining messages, somewhere within all that art, all that vital living culture, that information that each one of us must download and painstakingly sort out within our initially empty brains, all of which exists only to create another limited variation on the basic speaking, feeling, acting and reasoning human being that we all seem to become. Am I just another walking, talking, fiction, in a world populated entirely by other inevitable, painfully limited, and therefore endlessly reoccurring, characters such as myself? Who's really writing this story? Who's editing? Am I really only one character simply because I only have a single given name?

         For example, when real world detectives zero in on some ingenious criminal plot or another, as I assume that at least some of them must actually do, are they bringing to life “The Batman” persona that they read about as children, or was it this “fictional” Batman who has really been a monument to them all along. I feel that we’d argue the line of causality in this or any other similar case only to appease our vanities and our fears of insubstantiality. The basic truth is that "what-we-truly-are," that mysterious character that modern psychologists have labeled the ego and that ancient theology once called the soul, is simply another transferable cultural artifact, a complex idea that gets exported and imported by itself and to itself almost single everyday, from the artistic medium to the receptive mind, from the creative mind to the artistic medium, and of course back again. Only when you realize this can you consciously guide and direct the evolution of that very important idea.

         Returning to the sage advice of Batman again: “Obvious variations aside, there’s only one human body; 206 bones; five major organs; 60,000 miles of blood vessels. All it takes is time.”

         “Days. Months. Years, spent memorizing the finite ways there are to hurt and break a man. Preparing for all of them.

         The spirit of Batman is in his intense preparation, his training and study for all of those necessary trials that must be passed through in order to move a painfully frail mortal body through its paces until it’s finally forged into something more.

         “I’ve escapes from every conceivable death trap. Ten times. A dozen times. I can control my breathing and metabolism to control panic and conserve air. Straightjackets’s Kindergarten. Locks too. Bench pressing a pine coffin lid through 600 pounds of loose soil that's filling your mouth, crushing your lungs flat and shredding your dehydrated muscles? That’s harder…"

         “…But far from impossible.”

         “That’s the thing about The Batman. Batman thinks of everything.” Good luck and Namaste.

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