Thursday, April 29, 2010

Scraps 01: A Score to Keep - Why the Heroic Fantasy lives on

Armchair Psychology follows.

The appeal of the heroic fantasy, by which I mean the defeat of evil (be it in mortal or monstrous foes) and the completion of quests is common in men of my demographic (for lack of a better term). White knight syndrome in male/female relations is more than common despite its general irrelevancy and its lack of overall success.

The reason is simple. Human interaction is, largely, a game. Its rules, however, are not written down in any satisfactory way and there are exceptions and cheats across the board. The result is a deeply unbalanced playing field, in which the disadvantaged not only fail to achieve victory but are, in that failure, denied psychological essentials to human survival.

The appeal of heroism, then is obvious. Denied absolute rules, the holder of the fantasy longs for a different game. The fantasy of heroic deeds brings the nebulous realm of romance into the concrete and measurable. Young men, especially, often unable to determine how to increase their own value on the market are sure to want something more concrete. He longs for sexual currency, a scorecard for human interaction to replace the baffling subjective chaos that courtship appears to be.

Heroic deeds are pretty straightfoward in theory. An obstacle is overcome, a foe slain or subjugated, an innocent rescued, a quest completed. Success is measurable and a clear account of worth. That is what the hero-fantasist really longs for: a measurable account of self-worth for evaluation from within and without. It appeals to ancient longings. "Of course I'm a good mate, I just killed a goddamn sabertoothed tiger."

For the modern B-list fellow, there is always that point, amid the awkwardness and embaressment, that he wishes that he could just fight a hydra instead.