What Happens When A Static Self Is Absent And A Fluidity Self Is Present?
Updated: Sep 2
Are you a Marvel fan? If so, then you probably realize that Deadpool is an excellent example of a pop culture superhero who goes in and out of human experiences and identities like an androgynous boss. Maybe that is why we love him or them: He or they help us live vicariously in the freedom of fluid identity when we watch his or their performances on screen in the ever-evolving Marvel Universe.
The opening scene of Deadpool 2, for instance, shows our protagonist blowing himself up out of sheer desperation over the devastating loss of his love, Vanessa. Vanessa is killed accidentally by one of Deadpool’s arch enemies. Now, Deadpool is dealing with Vanessa’s catastrophic demise by attempting complete self-destruction. But peace is not in the cards for our antihero. When he reaches Vanessa in the ethereal realm, she tells him, “Your hearts not in the right place.” And, with these words, our favorite antihero is catapulted back to the world of the living to face the slippery demon that haunts his soul.
The only cure for this affliction is a journey into selflessness (the absence of a fixed self), which Deadpool undertakes when he decides to save the life a teenage, misfit mutant named Russell (code name Firefist). Firefist has a target on his back because Cable (a time traveling enforcer) is out to kill Russell for crimes Firefist commits as an adult. Deadpool seeks to thwart this assassination by transfiguring from a globe-trotting mercenary into a sacrificial lamb, who compares himself to Christ, and takes away the sin of revenge by taking a bullet for his best buddy. Inviting the audience into the sanctuary of the selfless heart, Deadpool embodies the androgenic in popular culture, the masculine and the feminine: a unity of spirit that gives birth to human wholeness (the wholly spirit). Through these empathic performances of agency and community-building, Deadpool gives us a rare glimpse into the world of possibilities that arise when a static sense of self is noticeably absent and a progressive sense of personal fluidity is noticeably present.
Deadpool's diverse performance shows that the essence of who you are as a cognizant person is not a fixed entity that you own or that you possess. Instead, the self is a unique being in an unfolding process of continual becoming. The self is a distinct consciousness in a progression of perpetual developing. The self is a discrete awareness in a movement of continuous emerging. Is that a cool idea or what?
Note: This content is based on a TEDx talk titled, The Power of Solidarity in the Moments of Life (Direct Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-CEAZEexlE). An earlier version of this adapted material was published in Another View, focusing on useful strategies for managing relationships at work, at home, and at play. Feel free to follow Dr. J on Twitter @JRodriguez_PhD (J. Rodriguez, Ph.D.) or visit online at https://www.joserodriguez.solutions/.