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Author Topic: Super-Hypnotism?  (Read 15909 times)
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lonewolf23k
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« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2005, 10:27:42 PM »

Quote from: "Aldous"
I think this is nonsense. "Respect for human free will"? Bollocks. If he has respect for Luthor's free will, why does he try to stop Luthor from doing what he wants? Huh?

And furthermore, would Superman allow himself to be killed by Luthor (if super-hypnotism could save him) out of "respect" for Luthor's "free will"?

Huh?

You're barking up the wrong tree.


You're confusing Free Will with "Freedom to whatever I choose"..  

Superman respects an individual's right to freely make decisions: that does not mean he can't act to stop the consequences of wrong decisions.  Not brainwashing Lex Luthor into becoming a law-abiding citizen doesn't mean Superman can't stop Luthor's evil schemes.  It just means that rehabilitating Luthor needs to be done the traditional way.

And personally, I just have trouble buying the concept of "Super-Hypnosis" as a super-power, especially the way it was used in the Silver Age, as essentially being another one of Superman's Vision Powers.  Especially since the idea of Hypnosis being some sort of "eye beam attack" has since been debunked, as everyone now knows it's really just the Power of Suggestion.

Now, I could plausibly buy "Super-Hypnosis" as being based on sub-vocal modulations using his super-voice or something...
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lonewolf23k
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« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2005, 01:33:17 AM »

Just wanted to add that it's ironic we're bringing up the topic of Super-Hypnosis while over at DC Comics and it's readers, there's all that hoopla about the consequences of the JLA using mind-wipe techniques on it's enemies...
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Aldous
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« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2005, 06:50:07 AM »

I thought about that before I posted, lonewolf23k, but I decided to post anyway.

I stand by what I said. It wasn't to do with brainwashing Luthor to permanently change him, but to temporarily change Luthor's intention, as it were, with a power like super-hypnotism (if that's even possible).

I'm deliberately combining free will and freedom to choose for the purpose of my argument because effectively I can't see the practical difference between Superman acting to stymie everything bad Luthor wants to do, and Superman hypnotising him to prevent him doing it. The only emotional difference for Lex between the two is in one scenario Lex is frustrated.

It isn't "free will" to let him desire anything he wants, then stop him getting it.

If I apply the same argument to God, and look at the "free will" He has given Man, it is quite a different situation -- and, I think, is the real free will you are talking about. He may not want us to act in certain ways, but if we decide to do so, He won't stop us overtly... And He certainly won't "hypnotise" us.

If a dog wants to run around, yet is tied up its whole life, I have a real problem with the idea the dog had "free will" during its lifetime. It doesn't wash for me. I wish I had more time to go into it, but I have to go. I might come back to it when I have more time. You won't agree with me, but at least I hope you can see where I'm coming from.

As to the mechanics of super-hypnotism, lonewolf23k, you mention sub-vocal modulations using his super-voice! That may be so. In older stories I have, on several occasions, I do recall Superman using a swinging pendulum device or similar, to put his victims in a trance. Maybe that's to distract them while he uses his voice... Isn't a hypnotist's main power in his voice, his power of suggestion...? You may be onto something.
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Aldous
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« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2005, 10:07:54 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Thanks for bringing the "Mesmerizer" story to my attention, CaptainKal. I don't own that story so I can't bring his actions in it into context; exactly what it is it he does in the course of that story? What's the plot, more or less?


I meant to post this for you yesterday, Julian, when I saw your questions. Nightwing has a great breakdown of this story on his website.
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Lee Semmens
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« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2005, 01:12:11 PM »

I have a problem with the idea of Superman using hypnotism, for one simple reason, and it is this.

During the Silver and Bronze Ages in particular, Superman often went to great, sometimes absurd, lengths to hide his secret identity, or to trick people who somehow found out that he was Clark Kent, into changing their minds.

If all he had to do was to hypnotise somebody who discovered his identity, then why bother going to all the trouble to convince them otherwise by alternate means?

Hypnotism would an all too easy way out for Superman in these circumstances, and would make a lot of plot ideas redundant.
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Captain Kal
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« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2005, 02:07:29 PM »

I hear you, Lee, and you're absolutely right.

It was Siegel who introduced the power in a story where a car Lois and Clark were in was about to crash on a deserted road.  Siegel invented the power to allow Clark to use his powers in front of Lois to save her without giving away his secret identity.  It seems Siegel wrote himself into a corner and cheated to get out.

If a later writer were faced with that same situation, they would probably have used his heat vision or super-breath or some other remote control approach, or even super-speed to solve the dual identity dilemna.  It must be noted that in the first story where Lois suspects Clark Kent is Superman ("Man and Superman", IIRC), Superman uses vast super-speed to switch in and out of Clark's clothes in the instants when Lois isn't looking directly at him.  Even so, it was plainly a challenge for him and he barely made it under the circumstances.
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Captain Kal

"When you lose, don't lose the lesson."
-- The Dalai Lama
JulianPerez
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« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2005, 02:49:19 PM »

Quote from: "Aldous"
Julian, I really think you've bought too much into the hand-wringing, submissive, doormat Superman of the modern era. This is not the Superman I grew up with. I have huge love and respect for the Allied soldiers who defeated the Axis in World War Two... You couldn't find people who have more respect for human free will, or who have more intelligence and dignity -- yet they shot, stabbed, and blew up Germans and Japanese with all manner of weapons. You are confusing dignity and compassion with lack of resolve.


And you're confusing resolve with authoritarianism.

The ability to get things done is not heroic - at least in and of itself. Achieving results is irrelevant to what right and wrong are, and Superman only concerns himself with right and wrong.

How does Superman having a moral compass that he refuses to deviate from make him a "hand wringing, submissive doormat?" Superman's refusal to compromise his ethics to achieve results is a strength, and that's the Superman *I* grew up with. You're confusing results achieved with the means by which they are achieved. Superman brainwashing people is WRONG - even if done for the right reason, just like killing people is wrong even if done for the right reason.

This post does indeed strike a nerve. Firstly, because I'm not a fan of Modern Superman in the least, and your characterization of me as someone touched by it is frankly, astonishing to anyone that really knows me - or at least, has been following my statements on this board.

Also, the grotesque, jingoistic comparison of a fictional comic book superhero to real life historical events is not only innaccurate, but in poor taste as well. Uh...what AGAIN does WWII have to do with Super-Hypnotism? Bringing up brave veterans or little blind orphans or teddy bears doesn't prove your point, but it does manipulate emotions.

War is filled with moral compromises by its very nature. Viewing it as a necessary evil in some situations, as a last possible recourse, is the most acceptable term we can achieve and stay sane as a society. It is an ugly, grim reality that whether you hold an "All good little Vikings go to Vallhalla" mentality reveling the glory in inflicting violence, or one that is horrified at the idea of dying horribly for no good reason at all - here's the thing: it doesn't belong in escapist superhero comics. Just because Allied soldiers shot, stabbed and blew up people doesn't mean Superman ought to or that it would be okay or in character for him to do so. Nonetheless, in a military conflict such actions are tragically necessary. For this reason, science fiction adventure characters stay out of real life problems like wars or politics and I suggest we do so too if we're going to talk about Superman.

Quote from: "Aldous"
And furthermore, would Superman allow himself to be killed by Luthor (if super-hypnotism could save him) out of "respect" for Luthor's "free will"?


You're making it an either/or proposition. EITHER he uses his Super-Hypnotism on Luthor OR he dies. Someone as resourceful and clever as Superman would refuse to make that choice. He can create a third option. As seen in "SOS From Space," Superman refuses to accept the situation as given when aliens threaten the Earth unless he refuses to hand over the last two specimens of an endangered race. "I don't have to choose between saving that animal and saving Earth - I can do BOTH!"

Would Superman commit murder if it was his only choice to save lives (his own or those of others)? No. No, he would not. The central tenet of Superman's morality is that every human life has value and he would not compromise this to achieve results. Superman would refuse to accept the binary duality - kill or be killed. He would think of some other way that he can save lives and not compromise his beliefs.

Quote from: "Aldous"
If a dog wants to run around, yet is tied up its whole life, I have a real problem with the idea the dog had "free will" during its lifetime. It doesn't wash for me.


This is really a specious, specious comparison. A dog has no free will to begin with - it can't make a moral choice. A lion can't "choose" to not hunt and kill a gazele, because it is an animal that acts by its instincts. It wouldn't be wrong to tie up a dangerous dog.

In human beings, imprisonment is a consequence of free will, not its denial. Luthor is placed in prison because out of his own free will he - fully aware of his actions - made a moral choice to do wrong.

Society does not have the right to chop off the hands of a pickpocket because he chose to use his hands to steal. Superman does not have the right to remove the right of choice of a person if they do choose an evil course of action.

Quote from: "lonewolf23k"
You're confusing Free Will with "Freedom to whatever I choose"..

Superman respects an individual's right to freely make decisions: that does not mean he can't act to stop the consequences of wrong decisions. Not brainwashing Lex Luthor into becoming a law-abiding citizen doesn't mean Superman can't stop Luthor's evil schemes. It just means that rehabilitating Luthor needs to be done the traditional way.


Very well and succinctly put, lonewolf23k! I can add little to your sharp, common sense arguments.

CaptainKal, your Superman scholarship, is, as always, tack-on and correct and flawless. My objection to the superspeed/strength combination however, stems from the fact that I cannot emotionally accept that Superman, characterized as cunning and clever, who is always creating inventive uses for his superpowers, is "uncreative." I yield and say you are correct at least according to the canon, but maintain this reservation as to his characterization. We ought to agree to disagree.

(For that same reason, I cannot at an emotional level accept the Vision had ever really been the robot Human Torch either, despite the fact they have been established as such over and over. The Torch had human emotions, and was human to the point he could give a blood transfusion to a woman, whereas the central concept of the Vision is that he is a "different" outsider that doesn't understand humanity. Steve Englehart, with brilliant characterization as always, got a lot of mileage out of this Roy Thomas concept by having the Vision acquire a sense of pride and history in himself, and a sense that if the robot Torch could achieve humanity, he has a goal to work towards. So in that sense, the idea had an overall effect that made the character stronger. But I just don't buy it.)
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Captain Kal
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« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2005, 03:21:16 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"

CaptainKal, your Superman scholarship, is, as always, tack-on and correct and flawless. My objection to the superspeed/strength combination however, stems from the fact that I cannot emotionally accept that Superman, characterized as cunning and clever, who is always creating inventive uses for his superpowers, is "uncreative." I yield and say you are correct at least according to the canon, but maintain this reservation as to his characterization. We ought to agree to disagree.


May I return the compliment that I find your approach refreshingly well-thought out, and very pleasant even in the face of disagreement.  Your character is indeed of high calibre going by your posts on this forum.  I truly enjoy our exchanges, Julian.  You're an asset to this forum and have brought a much-needed revival of posting activity here.

I agree that I want a Superman that's more creative with his powers, and we got a taste of that with Loeb/Kelly back in the day.  It's just a sad fact that most writers and/or editors don't give us that.  It would make much more sense to me, too, and would make Superman's character that much more consistent as well.
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Captain Kal

"When you lose, don't lose the lesson."
-- The Dalai Lama
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