Dude, Where’s My Spider-Sense?

by Cardell Phillips

Let’s see…super strength, blinding speed, crazy agility, a damn near indestructible body, and movie star good looks; all standard-issue superpowers for your everyday blue-collar superheroes.

These individuals are called to battle people who don’t have a life and are intent on destroying/ruling the world. It’s dangerous work with no health care benefits, so it helps if superheroes are stronger, quicker, tougher and better looking than the bad guys so they can beat the crap out of them.

Then there are superheroes with a more refined class of abilities, such as the power to turn invisible, read minds, or see like a radar. So, instead of just physically overpowering villains, these heroes use their heightened abilities to outwit the bad guys. Then they beat the crap out of them.

Out of all the heroes with the more subtle type of superpowers, I’d put Spider-man’s “Spider-sense” at the top of the list because it enables him to know what’s hidden and anticipate what’s about to happen.


Spider-man’s “Spider-sense” doesn’t get a lot of play in comics these days and just about zero in the movies. So, I thought I’d show it a little love here. It’s also worth looking into because I think it’s an ability that we all have to one degree or another.

Have you ever had a bad feeling about a person, place or event, and ignored it and lived to regret it? I have and I’ll bet you have too.

Wikipedia defines Spider-Man’s “Spider-sense” as a tingling feeling at the base of his skull, alerting him to personal danger in proportion to the severity of that danger. For instance, a little tingling such as a happenstance passing by of an enemy would prompt Peter to be alert, while a strong tingling, sometimes to the point of being painful, is interpreted as a need to take immediate evasive action on a deadly threat. It appears to be a simultaneous, seemingly clairvoyant response to a wide variety of phenomena.

So there you have it. They don’t call him the “Amazing” Spider-Man for nothing. Look, it’s nice to fantasize about having super strength, wall crawling ability, quicksilver reflexes, or becoming good looking, but your chances of making it happen are not good. However, you can, in a way, develop a “Spider-sense.” It’s known in the real world as instinct, gut feeling, hunch or intuition.

In her book, “The Intuitive Way,” Penney Peirce says that some scientists believe that we only use 10% of our capacity to know. She believes that the other 90% of our brainpower lies in our intuition.

The trick is to learn how to listen to it. It’s hard to sort out the difference between what your intuition is telling you and what is your ego yakking about.

Peirce says that “in the beginning, your intuition will be colored by your preferred mode of perceiving, and as you begin to use your intuition, your information will be colored by that sense.” It will be through either a vision, a quiet voice that speaks to you, or like Spider-man, with vibration.

To develop your intuition, Peirce says you have to practice, practice, practice, until you can distinguish the voice of your intuition from your other thoughts. Start out with the small things. Try to sense what line would be the fastest in the grocery store, or when your telephone rings try to sense who’s on the other line.

Our intuition is just another ability to help us navigate through the world like the sense of smell that warns you where not to sit on the “L” train. It’s not something to fear of the unknown but an advantage to those who can see outside of the box and out think competitors and find opportunities.

It’s disheartening that Spider-Man’s “Spider-sense” has just about disappeared in recent years. It’s such a handy ability. Maybe, it’s too subtle to illustrate in the media. Personally, I loved those dark wavy lines they used in the early issues to indicate his “Spider-sense” was online.

That’s probably to corny for today’s market. But, why not feature Spidey’s special sense prominently in more plots? It could add to add a new and exciting dimension to the character.

Here’s an idea for you up-and-coming comic book writers. Let’s say the Peter Parker finds out that the Kingpin has come out of hiding and taken over New York’s racketeering. How does he get the money to finance his organization? Probably, his portfolio includes some type gambling operation.

So, let’s say Parker, wearing a disguise, poses as a professional gambler and infiltrates the Kingpin’s backroom poker games. Using his “Spider-sense,” he systematically fleeces the big guy out of a pile of cash and puts a hurtin’ on his operations.

Of course, the Kingpin his not too happy about that and hunts for Parker not knowing that he’s Spider-Man, and that’s when the fun would begin. Is this a good storyline? Ummm maybe, but you get the picture, in this story Spidey’s “Spider-sense” gets a starring role instead of its usual bit part.

Like Spider-Man, the more you listen to your intuition and “gut feelings” the more you will learn to recognize it and give it a starring role in your life. Then you will be well on your way to developing a skill that will help keep you one step ahead of the game.

Cardell Phillips is a freelance blogger and writer. You can visit his blog at talesofthewindycity.com


4 responses to “Dude, Where’s My Spider-Sense?

  1. I agree whole-heartedly, as a child of the 70’s. Spider-man’s crazy Spider-Sense was a quirky ability, but made up for the fact he did NOT have eight-eyes to see in every direction!

    Whether it was Stan or Jack, we see a similar in ability in the quote “poor man’s spider-man” Daredevil with his radar sense.

    The creatives obviously thought you needed to have more than good physical abilities, but a superhuman sense of perception to handle thugs with guns. It may even be that Batman’s wickedly smart detection skills fall into this category – at times his Sherlockian sense of observation gave him the edge to defeat his foes.

    But Spidey’s is different – and cool. His Spider-sense gave him fair warning, even some “heads up” wisdom that a youth could not be expected to have. He was always trying to figure out WHY it was going off when it was subtle – but that gave him the edge he needed.

    I think our society has almost intentionally smashed the use of intuition in daily life. With all the faults of irrationalism, there can be the benefit of being able to react faster than your mind can process. In martial arts and in law enforcement, in business meetings and in personal relationships, we often have to get “a feel” of the environment to accurately address the problem rationally.

    But that’s my opinion, after years of frustration of my trying to be a rationalist in a world that falls squarely into the “decision by convenience” category.

    In a strange sense, Peter Parker’s Spidey-Sense makes him more human, not less.

    And I would think that danger sense could REALLY help him if he were say Married – to a fiesty red-head. 😉

    Just saying.


  2. Great article Cardell! I will definitely try to apply new thoughts to my intuition thinking and keep you posted!

  3. Justice, Thank you for your insightful comments. No doubt, you’ve taken this article to a new level. I want to add to your comment about the need to react to situations faster than your rational mind can process.

    A lot of people think we’re going to have to change our thinking styles to keep up with our ultra-fast, computer-driven environment. Penney Peirce trains CEOs and upper-level management types in how to use their intuition. They see what’s coming.

    Even as we speak, scientists are working on a quantum computer that will make today’s computers look like dial-up telephones.

    How will a computer that harnesses the power of atoms and molecules change our society? How will it change humanity? Will we need Reed Richards just to turn the dang thing on? Get Richards on the phone, quick! He’s in Latveria? What about Stark? Banner? Luthor? Anybody? Ok, (sigh) get me Parker.

    Peirce thinks we’re moving from the information age to the intuition age. Sounds like something out of a Jack Kirby “New Gods” book.
    Right? But, as we all know, sci-fi often predicts the future. Better get ready, cause a change is comin.’


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s