Sunday’s Wisdom #138: The True Man Beneath

“If you’re nothing without that suit, then you shouldn’t have it.”
– Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, Spider-Man: Homecoming

Yes, I have seen it already. Duh. 😉 You may expect my review in a couple of days. 🙂

When Tony tells this to Peter Parker, it’s in response to Peter’s particular crisis of self-worth.

Peter is, after all, still a high school kid. All kids are trying to be “great,” and at that age one tends to think it’s an all or nothing deal. So, they often resort to stuff, shiny things with bells and whistles they can lean on and say, “This means I matter, because it makes people acknowledge me.” It becomes the crutch of their self-worth, and it’s ultimately meaningless.

Tony has enough experience to know that he is not defined by his armor, his stuff. It’s his armor that is defined by him. He’s the one who built it, he’s had to work without it, and he knows who he is without it. He is Iron Man inside or outside of that suit, and he defines what “Iron Man” means. The armor is the extension, not the definition, of himself.

Tony also knows that Peter wasn’t “nothing” before the suit, so he won’t be “nothing” without it, as Peter fears. After all, he did notice Peter before he had the suit that Tony then gave to him. He saved lives and helped people without that new suit. Peter’s confusion is that he’s tasted the world’s definition of “greatness” and hasn’t learned how great he already is. Until he does, it’s better for Peter to be without the suit. It’s the only way he’ll see himself again. It’s the only way he’ll become a man, instead of being forever a boy running around with fancy toys.

Sometimes, to center ourselves and stand on our own, we need to have the shiny crutches taken away.

Peel away the extraneous stuff, and see what’s underneath.

To reach the great heights that we are meant for, we need to be properly grounded.

Who we are, and the value we have, does not depend on what we have.

And I think I’ll leave it at that. 😉

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