It is believed that how we come to know ourselves is how we compare with those around us, or in other words we understand our skills and abilities through social comparisons. If we can throw a softball harder than our teammates, we must be good at softball. If we achieve one of the highest grades in class, then we perceive ourselves as brilliant. To illustrate this notion of social comparisons, I found a clip in a musical posted on Youtube called “Holy Musical B@man”.
(watch this clip until 1:55)
In the part before this clip, Superman and Batman had raced to determine if Superman’s powers were faster than Batman’s Batplane. Superman won the race, and because of that Batman becomes depressed. He believes that because his plane is not faster than Superman, that he is not worthy to be a superhero any more. In fact he says “If I can’t even fly faster than Superman, I might as well die…”
Batman illustrates how social comparisons exist (although his example is an extreme) because he compares his powers to Superman. The fact that he is a mortal man trying to fill a superhero’s shoes does not matter to him, it’s the fact that because he cannot build a plane that can fly faster than Superman degrades his self-worth in his eyes.