Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Dark Knight's Joker: A TRUE agent of chaos?

Recently, Jeff and I FINALLY saw The Dark Knight. On DVD. Because really, Jeff and I are parents and getting out to go see a movie sometimes requires the same amount of planning as a bank heist.

I have to say I loved it too (along with the eleventy-billion other people who saw the movie). Heath Ledger's Joker is an amazing force -- there's no need for backstory, the Joker just is. It's a great crime thriller and also an interesting take on the idea of keeping citizens safe vs. freedom and privacy. I know other people have touched on it, so I'm not going to get into that too deeply.

However, I have been ruminating on the Joker's belief that people, without rules, will fall back to the most base, animalistic and evil behaviors, as well as his argument that he is a true agent of chaos.

In a way, I don't agree with his view of the world. I don't think that human beings, when plans and rules are removed, will ever really fall back to Mad Max Thunderdome tactics. I remember getting into a discussion like this with a former coworker, who believed that when the apocalypse comes, everyone's going to kill each other. Basically, it was like the final battle between Batman and the Joker, but without fighting, SWAT teams and crazy costumes.

In a true case of chaos, I think that you have to leave everything alone and up to chance. And the Joker doesn't do that. You can't say that he did everything he did on a whim. There was some serious planning involved to try and drive people to that point of madness. And even then, he didn't really win in the final confrontation.

So, if you remove all the rules and plans, I really think that life would continue to function the way it does now. Because without an overarching plan, people will still continue on their day-to-day routine and flow. You can't stop people from making teeny little plans -- what to eat, when to wake up, how they brush their teeth. It's part of us and being who we are. And even if you obliterate all of that, I can see people trying to make sense of it and working it into another little plan.

And also, I think that even in the worst case scenario, people won't resort to absolute nihilism. It's not our nature. People on the whole, work best together and cooperating in life. To start doing the "dog-eat-dog" thing, goes against the whole idea of survival. And really, we're social animals. Most of us are seeking connection and companionship -- be it in person or in the digital world.

Now, this ultimately goes against my darker view that we're alone and humanity on the whole can be a stupid lot -- a single person can be a very smart, wonderful person, but people on the whole are a mindless mob with an IQ no higher than a small animal.

But you know, I don't feel like I need to make sense of the contradiction. I think it's because, when push comes to shove, I think we'd band together and cooperate for overall survival. It's just the day-to-day stuff that drives me mad.

In other words, it's like family. No matter what, we're all stuck together and when push comes to shove, we'll band together and make things work.

Editor's note: I have no idea if this post makes sense. I'm one cocktail in and just rambling like a mofo.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Your post makes total sense. Of course I am sleep deprived at the moment, so don't take me at my word.

But I agree with you about the whole "chaos" thing. That's why I could never buy "Blindness" as "deep" or "thought-provoking", because I don't truly believe that even in the worst of situations people would start peeing in the hallway and have gang-rape orgies.

Also, it was just a terrible fucking film, but essentially I agree.