Philosophy in The Flash (SEASON 1) Post 5
The Reliance of the Hero & the Villain on One Another: The Concept of ‘Binary Opposites’
The philosophy that heroes and villains rely on and create/develop each other is common throughout all superhero folklore. It appears that the villain always has a need for a hero to combat and the hero always needs a villain to motivate them: they give each other purpose. This is exactly the case with the Reverse Flash and the Flash.
The two adversaries of the Flash Season 1 possess extreme similarities -not only in their inverted costume colours- but with exactly the same sort of superpower abilities. However, the difference in how the pair use these powers for contrastingly good and evil, reflect what each other could be should they switch sides.
This relates to the widely known Chinese philosophy of Yin & Yang; the concept of two seemingly contrary or opposite forces actually being interconnected and complementary; giving rise to each other as they interrelate. For example, the Flash and the Reverse Flash both essentially created the other. The Reverse Flash gave Barry both the physical powers of the Flash but the internal motivation to become the hero by murdering Nora Allen and causing the particle accelerator incident. By the same token, Barry created the Reverse Flash by simply becoming the Scarlet Speedster in the first place and thereby creating a sort of hatred and rivalry between the pair.
The Reverse Flash & the Flash are essentially mirror reflections of each other: a super-heroic projection of the Chinese philosophy ‘Ying-Yang’
Moreover, the concept of Yin & Yang also further relates to the Flash, as it has not only a moral dimension: the notion that bad and good cannot exist without the other (we would not know what either concept meant without the other), but that it also identifies the notion of ‘oneness’ or ‘the harmony of opposites’; to quote, ‘opposites attract’.
There are numerous examples of this attraction between opposites in the show: Captain Cold & Heatwave, Caitlin Snow & Cisco Ramon, Caitlin Snow & Ronnie Raymond etc. In Season 2, we even have Killer Frost & DeathStorm: polar opposite villains with the polar opposite powers of heat and cold.
In Season 1, this opposites attract and ‘oneness’ concept, is exemplified by the ‘Speed Force’ that unites all speedsters in similarity. The Flash and Reverse Flash both are associated with the universal life-force energy known as ‘the Speed Force’, which has both a light and dark side that either member of the pair can utilise. The Speed Force cannot exist without either it’s negative or positive side and so both sides make up the two fundamental halves of the universe. The Flash is inclined to use the positive side and the yellow speedster relates with the negative side.
More on the Speed Force: ✍The Speed Force & Links to Time Travel⚡️
Further, the philosophy of binary opposition; that two theoretical opposites are strictly defined and set off against one another, also applies here. This is common throughout almost all superhero and villain pairs, with the serious and dark-coloured, Batman and the insane and colourful, Joker.
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