The Z factor!
I was pleasantly surprised by the last Spiderman movie, “No way Home”. In general, Marvel movies are filled with scenes of violence where evil and good struggle endlessly. The narrative is always almost the same, the heroes save the world by killing many bad guys and the monsters. In most movies, there are many scenes of violent fighting. The bad guys are very mean and cruel. Marvel movies are primarily aimed at a teenage audience and the Z generation. But some adults like myself enjoy these cultural entertainment aimed at new generations.
In fact, by analyzing cultural entertainment, music, magazines, arts and others, it is possible to define some element of the current sensibility. In “No way Home”, the main character, Peter Parker, played by Tom Holland brings a new sensibility to Spiderman, he doesn’t want to kill the villains and monsters. Parker is more human than a typical Marvel hero and carries on empathy towards the villain and the monsters.
After a magical spell cast by Doctor Strange’s (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and launches into the multi universes, several monsters and villains from other universe are thrown into Spiderman universe.But instead of killing them, Spiderman, Peter Parker and his friends wants to cured their monstrosity and cruelty
On the other hand, Doctor Strange, which corresponds to the older generations, is not compelled by Parker and friends’ empathy and wants to stop them.
Doctor Strange believes that monsters and villains have a destiny already defined which is impossible to change.
Parker : “Strange we cannot send them back, not yet”
Parker : “They will die, come on, Strange have a heart”.
Strange: “ Parker in my calculus their sacrifice means infinitely more than their life in the multi universe.”
Parker: “What if we could change them ?”
Strange: “It’s their fate we cannot change it “.
Parker: “Sorry I have to try”.
Eventually Spiderman 1.0 played by Tobey Maguire and Spiderman 2.0 played by Andrew Garfield appear in Parker universe and are trying to help Peter and his friends to cure the monsters. They played the older generation of Spiderman form in an individualist and egoistic landscape. The older Spiderman never did teamwork, and learned from Spiderman 1.0.
Things get interesting in the movie when Spiderman 1.0 and 2.0 begin to speak their truths. Both have experienced revenge and killing and live with bitterness and regret. They explain to Peter that they don’t want him to make the same mistakes as they did.
What is interesting in this movie is Spiderman’s sensibility towards life and the allegory of reconciliation with oneself through the other self from the another universe. It made me realize that the landscape of formation (1) of the people in power doesn’t exist today!
Today’s bad guys were formed in a landscape dominated by values of money, individualism and violence!
Today’s we have “bad guys” in power in many places around the world. These people have many problems. One of their major problems has to do with their landscape of formation 1. In other words they were formed in a landscape that is very different from today’s landscape.
They were born at a time when the world was a bi-polar, divided into two parts, the West and the East. Two worlds totally isolated. There was no exchange and no trust among the divided world. Money was and still is today the universal language! The cultural background and values were stronger than today, but discrimination against women and minorities were generalize around the world. There was no dialogue and the way to resolve conflict was through wars and arms race! And suddenly in a blink of an eye the wall came down and everything changed, and we became a global world.
Many social and personal tactics and behaviors that were effective in the old landscape are now totally ineffective in this new global landscape and often produce opposite effects. Today we are seeing that the dragging of these eras in terms of action and sensitivity generates a total mess and disorientation of whole societies.
Here I am not saying that one should abandon the values and sensibility of an era of formation and cultural background. I’m talking about other things, it’s more about understanding how it all works in the current moment. It’s about changing certain behaviors and roles. It seems pretty clear to me that any changes that the members of the olders generations will make will be structural as well as situational and will no longer be subjective because they will challenge the overall relationship with the world in which we live.
I’m not trying to tell the older generation, which I am part of, would need to alter some undesirable or unfriendly tactics, but I only expose before our eyes the truth about the personal relationship with the world. Then the modification of behaviors, linked to values and sensitivities, can hardly be done without affecting the structure of relations with the world in which we currently live.
What I am trying to say is that thanks to the acceleration of social temporality of the present moment, we are in a position to understand the origins of many compulsions which are associated with attitudes constructed in another landscape that doesn’t exist anymore. Some of these attitudes are useful but others are simply destructive and we have to let them go before “they” generated more chaos. It’s pretty obvious we will need some reference to direct these changes, the best reference I find is the factor Z.
The Z factor consists in the new sensibility about life carried by the new generation! For example, Spiderman, Greta Thurberg and all the other young people and characters who are rebelling against a system that proposes individualism and money has value and violence as a methodology of action! These young characters propose nonviolent, teamwork and solidarity. They propose a world that already exists, but the older generations cannot see it because their view is blocked with the images and the value of money that come from a landscape of formation that is already gone!
1 : Landscape of formation – Luis Amman, Autoliberation, 1985