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The Dilemma of Tony Stark

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that, “Society is a masked ball where everyone hides his real character and reveals it by hiding.”

People tend to hide their true nature and try to replace it with something that the society would accept. They have this fear of getting rejected by their own race so they make a renovation of themselves, a better self. Let’s take for an example the life of the researchers most favored fictional character on the Avenger- Marvel Universe, IRON MAN or also called as Tony Stark. Tony Stark is his real identity before he created his advanced high-tech armored suit invention, which made Tony the first one to create a weapon that signs the great improvement of robotics society. Through this invention, Tony Stark was no longer called by his name but by what the society called him as Iron Man. Even before he created his armored suit, Tony Stark showed some characteristics of Iron Man. While Iron Man was strong physically, Tony Stark’s will was strong enough to prove his worth.


Now that the researchers has explained the background of Tony Stark, they’d like to address a psychological theory that is known as the Self Actualization Theory by Carl Rogers. Carl Rogers (1959) believed that humans have one basic motive, that is the tendency to self-actualize – i.e. to fulfill one’s potential and achieve the highest level of ‘human-beingness’ we can. In this study, the researchers would like to tackle the two important things to consider, the actual self and the ideal self. The actual self refers to what you are right now, while the ideal self is on how you view yourself.

According to Carl Rogers, these two things should be congruent to each other in order for a person to become a “fully functioning person”. In this case, self-actualizing is not impossible to achieve. If these two things are not congruent to each other, then self-actualizing here is pretty much difficult to achieve. Childhood experience is also a big factor to see if the person is able to self-actualize. Thus, the life’s journey doesn’t end when you become a fully functioning person, the process never stops and it always keeps the person changing.

In connection with the subject, Tony Stark, like any other human being wants to know and to fulfill his own potential up to his limitation. That’s when he started to invent his armored suit; the researchers believed that while Tony Stark created his armored suit, he already perceived in himself how he wants to be presented. Influenced by his childhood years up to his 20’s, grown in a business of making machines and buildings, graduated Electrical Engineering Program at an early age, Tony Stark’s ability to invent something powerful such as his suit is never a question.

I like how Ralph Waldo Emerson describes the inventor with his invention, he says, “Man is a shrewd inventor, and is ever taking the hint of a new machine from his own structure, adapting some secret of his own anatomy in iron, wood, and leather, to some required function in the work of the world.” Tony Stark now uses Iron Man as his personal bodyguard. He plays two persons and because of this, he has a dilemma. Is it the suit defines him or is it he who defines the suit? There is no absolute answer to that question because both personas are complementing each other. For the researchers, Tony Stark is Iron Man himself by nature and nurture.


Iron Man, even in fiction, is a lot like every ordinary person. Human as we are, we all have that desire to be noticed and appreciated by the people that surround us. There are some things about our personality or how we look on the outside that makes us doubt that if we could really be accepted even with our lapses. Because of this, fear crept in like a thief in the night; it hunts and scares us of the possibility of getting rejected. Not wanting to be discarded, people start to reinvent themselves and copy the norm. What they think that the society will accept, they apply it on their selves. The researchers do not think that going with the flow is a mistake but before that, a person must first think carefully before applying it. He must decide within himself first, because not every “IN” is applicable for him.

Even if humans do not reinvent themselves, they can also be called superheroes in their own ways. Let’s take for an example the “Kagayanons” during the Typhoon Washi. The researchers would like to state 3 things that makes an ordinary Kagayanons to an extraordinary Kagayanons,;

1. The residents in the affected areas are not close to each other but when they were put in one place, they supported and comforted each other.

2. The volunteers who help are mostly not rich, but they are rich in love and compassion that they are willing to take an extra mile of what has been asked,

3. Lastly, when the XU Students received a message, they responded directly to the calling without a second thought.

They are normal men and women rising up against the dictations of the world and making a difference in their society. They do not have a super power nor are they the highlights of the event but what they did made them heroes. Being a hero doesn’t require power but courage to face the unknown. There is a hero inside all of us that just needs to be wakened. If there’s a little bravery in a person, then he just might be the hero for some who needs him. You just might be that somebody’s hero.


In conclusion, Tony Stark is Iron Man himself by nature and nurture. He is Iron Man even without a suit and remains Iron Man with a suit. The appearance does not change a thing; it’s what you do that counts!

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