Which superhero makes for a better moral role model: Batman or Superman? And what does your answer to this question imply about your ethical outlook? Leonard Finkelstein discusses on the blog Rationally Speaking:

Those in the Superman camp tend to hold an optimistic view of human nature. They believe that we’re all fundamentally kind and helpful, and always open to self-improvement. Despite the character’s alien background, Superman stands as this camp’s role model because Superman is a moral saint: he exemplifies all the best traits that a human can have, even if no human can ever hope to have them all.

By contrast, the Batman camp is pessimistic about humanity. Those in this camp tend to believe … that people are “bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling,” and that it’s only through a great deal of discipline and training that our intrinsic fear, loathing, and selfishness can be overcome. These pessimists see Batman as their role model specifically because he’s a moral human rather than a moral saint: the character has shortcomings, but so too do we all. His is an attainable standard.

Advertisements