Andr€ Welling (
Mon, 02 Dec 1996 11:25:01 +0000


I am writing an anthropological essay on the Subject of INVULNERABILITY

and am searching for *ANY* material, hints, literature, points of view


We all know about invulnerable heroes. Special thing about them is,
almost every one of them is dead, often deathly wounded by their enemy.
In general, they are already dead by the time we learn about them and
their invulnerability. So invulnerability does not mean immortality in
flesh or even longevity. Who stayed invulnerable, then ? Gods, more
probably half-gods. Can you achieve the charisma of invulnerability if
you have no body to wound and about to be destroyed like ours ?
Or is invulnerability an all to trivial issue ? Simple and foreseeable
like Superman stories. Adolescent dreams of omnipotence in male,
competitive society or, seeking deeper structures, the cultural
production fed by the archaic desire to return to the golden Age of
personal history, the protected and ignorant fetal state, compromised
with the grown-up urge not to be absorbed, to remain open to the world,
self-conscious and mobile.
Or just the last straw drawn by desperate, empowered, poorly educated
and equipped, magic-believing people about to fight and face death, as
happened with some charismatic prophets and leaders which emerged during
the time of de-colonization. A helpful and sometimes self-fulfilling
collective delusion as some war leaders generate a charismatic flow in
success and then thrive on it for some time.
Veteran legends turned into mythology.
People may feel invulnerable, this is part of the 'heart-of-darkness'
combat syndrome, it is a popular 'adolescent myth' or a drug induced
fantasy, but it is also a phenomenological reality of personal
omnipotence, power and wealth (being 'high') which is as extreme as its
common counterpart, the experience of total loss, deprivation,
helplessness and personal destruction. But aside from such
mind-absorbing 'horror trips' of total vulnerability and victimization
is our everyday exposure to forces which may at any time decide to crush
us and the ours. Keeping this simple fact in mind may be paranoid and
unhealthy, but whether we take a plane or just sit peacefully in the
fast-food restaurant, whenever we move or stay put, there is an
invisible Cup which passes by, filled up to the rim with the bitter
fluid of our frail existence.
So is invulnerability an ideal, a regulative idea unreachable in its
purity, the dramatic polar cultural embodiment of a reasonable pursuit,
namely to diminish ones own real and inescapable vulnerability ?
Surely there is a genetics and physiology of invulnerability, referring
to individual immunity or attraction to diseases and toxic reactions.
You can also reach not being vulnerable to magical hazards, using and
trusting the appropriate potent magical countermeasures. It works, if
you do not die a 'psychogenic death' when under a death spell. You may
also expose your body to fire and snakes and not be burned or poisoned
if you are properly prepared.
And Vitamin C protects against flu (maybe you need to believe in it).
So is there a science or art, a way of invulnerability ?


I AM LOOKING FOR *ANY* MATERIAL (historical, mythological, magical,
medicinal, ethnological ...)

Please respond via email preferably.

Will reciprocate if possible.

Thanks - Andr€ Welling


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