Sociosomnia: Technology in Thor & Dr. Strange 🗡️Jul 21, 2022
In both of the most recent Marvel blockbusters, the villains are corrupted by sentient technology: The Darkhold manipulates Wanda in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and the Necrosword seduces Gorr in Thor: Love & Thunder. Both tools use shadows (rejected aspects of our self-identity) to magnify pain, obscuring empathy and alternate options (like Gorr considering a different wish). Our heroes can’t reject these technologies outright, but they can’t give in to them either—they have to find a dialectical synthesis to stop the injustice.
I can’t help but see obvious parallels between the way our technology uses us. Algorithms optimize for profit, via attention, via stoking the fires of our darkest emotions. Our phones game our reward system so we stay online. The collective-dreams-in-the-form-of-Marvel-movies suggest that our way to goodness is synthesis: Use the tech (eg: Stormbreaker/Darkhold), not all of it (eg: Destroy the Necrosword) stay aware of the dangers, and accept the costs (eg: The Mighty Thor’s fate/Strange's Third Eye). This echoes Heidegger's contemplations on technology and essence. Technology is inevitable—perhaps even social media or phones. We can notice the seduction to unconsciousness, and instead stay in touch with what really matters. (More on Thor: Love and Thunder later... very Jungian movie as one friend recently said!).
With love, Jordan
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