NT, thank you for your kind words.
I agree, it is hard to be full of one’s self with out an audience. But then again a true narcissist sees mirrors all around reflecting back to them, human or not. It is not so much the reflections that are important, but the perspective that one is the center of the universe, and all of reality.
I think getting caught in the hero or superhero trap, though containing aspects of ego centric narcissism, with the love of reflected adulation, is somewhat different. It’s more hierarchical rather than hub and spokes (as in narcissism, as in being “the state”, the center of all that is). At least in my mind it is. Subtle, but different.
A sun king, who is the state, the center of all that is, sees others not as real, but as a form of supply that confirms their perspective, their delusion. It stems from low self esteem, ironically.
But a sun king who is at the apex of humanity and the strata of the universe, is in a sense on a pedestal. The sun king needs not the followers, the rabble, to be there to confirm their right to be on top. That is just a bonus and their fair due. Instead, they are there by divine right, by the rightness of their nature, there being. The presence nor absence of the group does not change their perspective, nor their perceived reality. It is not based upon low self esteem as narcissism is. It is a form of delusion, and not dependent upon outside confirmation. At least I think so.
It is a subtle but important difference. And in a way, the pedestal superhero is more monstrous, for they feel no flaw. Though the narcissist and the divine superhero are very similar, with many of the same traits, one is in constant fear (which is their motivating force), and the other has little, if anything to fear.
I think there are many ways to look at this, and I think the superhero trap comes in many forms. Including having it thrust upon you, or expected of you. As a disabled person, the superhero archetype is both thrust upon me, and expected of me on a daily basis. And there is hell to pay if I do not measure up. My “worth” is often determined by able-bodied people as to whether or not I have measured up in their eyes. Whether or not I have met their bias, their perception of who I should be, not who I actually am nor what my reality truly is like. It would be easier to drink the cool-aide, and bow to society’s need for me to be a superhero. Believe me. But to do so would mean denying my own, very real needs and the truth of my life. In fact, the reason, I think, society needs the disabled to be superheroes is so they can feel okay when they turn their backs and walk away. There is no onus upon them to help, participate, to take time from their life, or pay taxes to support us. We are superheroes, we have no need of them, they convince themselves.
I think this is one part of the reason people, as a whole, crave superheroes. One part of the very complex reasons for humanity’s interdependent relationship with superheroes. They desire that someone else to do the heavy lifting life demands of us. Some of those heroic figures are sun gods, like in Dune Emperor, and what Paul saw in his future if he accepted the call. Then again some are the angst filled, melancholy of the reluctant superhero of comic books. Your messiah in the dessert type, the savior of a different sort. Like I said, many versions of this.
Well, anyway, I think that is now a whole 5 cents worth of opinion …