The gross historical inaccuracies of this post have been corrected. That was humbling.
We’re into super heroes at our house. The cheesedoodle is often to be heard (now that he’s growing in vocabulary) running around the house saying, “Me hero.” When asked which hero the answer varies, because there are so many good ones, but more than half the time, he’s Iron Man. Really, how could you not love Iron Man? He’s a billionaire who does his own R&D, particle physics, electrical work and welding!
The reason Iron Man is a super hero is not because he has an amazing metal suit. It is not because he has a huge tower with his name on it, and it is not because his heart is powered by a self contained arc reactor. What makes Iron Man a truly unique super hero is that he designed and built it all himself. True, unlimited funding helps, but unlike Batman, Iron Man could be super even if all of western society fell apart, because he can do what he does with just the raw materials.
If Leonardo DaVinci was a Renaissance man, who dragged western culture from the last dark ages, then it will need to be Iron Men who will drag our grandchildren, or great grandchildren from the next one. Our society has become a collection of specialists so that if the technological advances that seem to define our culture collapsed, there are very few, if any, who would be able to recreate what we currently have. It would need to be a generalist, like the fictional Tony Stark, who would be able to both understand the theory and physically construct not just the object itself, but also many of the components.
Our society will cease to be. All cultures rise and fall at the pleasure of the one, true, sovereign God. We are really only ever one technological catastrophe away from the end of the world as we know it. When that happens, it won’t be the one with the most guns and food, or the one with the strongest safe room who is able to thrive amidst the chaos. Instead it will be the ones who can take the available materials and create their own order.
I am certainly not implying that we should all go out and learn to build a personal fusion reactor, nor should you take my point to be that we should seek to emulate the personal sins of the character Tony Stark. However, in a society so dependent upon technology that we must at some point collapse upon our own need, we would do well to make a generalist, like Iron Man, one of our societal heroes.
I wrote this post because of a conversation I had with our neighbor, P.D. who also posited the thought that we are on the brink of another dark age.