Psychology: Super-villain syndrome ( Batman cinema killing)

Is there such thing as Evil? Villainy? People born bad??   My views on these – No. Yes. No!

Last night, while waiting for bus home (at about 00:15hrs) I saw a poster on another bus- `Dark Knight Rises’ In cinemas 20th July!   (the 3rd of the latest trilogy to explore the story of Batman, by film maker Christopher Nolan,  his previous two being `Batman Begins & Dark Knight’). So I got home and though I’d try and catch the film on it’s first day out …something I have never done before. I even checked film times..  online and wondered if  I could make the 6am show, or the 10am or the 11am?

There is a Joker in all of us! One that jests, tricks, teases, but cries behind the mask with pains unimaginable!

An old School friend (of 25 yrs standing) came to visit earlier in the afternoon, and we talked for hours of deeply personal matters, men’s health, relationships etc. And I told him am going to see the latest Batman film, `The Dark Knight Rises’.  He also wanted to see it. So we both went for the evening show. And on the way back (11.30pm) when I texted my partner that I;d been to the film, she texted back saying many people had been killed at an American cinema showing the film!  And quick check on the internet showed me that in Denver, 12 people had been killed by a neuroscience University student, who had gone into the cinema and started shooting people..  Some 70 people have been injured.

Already, there’s media cries about the gun-culture of America, and how everyone having a right to carry fire arms has been a sensitive topic (there have been previous such killing spree by individuals, in the same state – Colorado!)

Recently, I wrote an article titled, `Super Hero Syndrome’ in the latest edition of online free magazine Gaian Times (issue 4), where I discussed how watching these superhero films may not only make us feel good, but may make us want to go out and do some unconditional good deeds. I wrote that feature with such convictions, because that is how it has been for me..   (I grew up with The Phantom Ghost who Walks, Flash Gordon, Tarzan, Mandrake the Magician.. ).  I have even created my own ideal, `Hern3000′  – and interwoven it with my personal myths over the past 7-8 years or so.

But today all this in serious jeopardy – the very idea that supehero films can inspire to help people. Because people will and have already started saying that such `violent films’ have edged some people to go on these killing-sprees!  We live in a modern era where video & computer games are getting so realistic along with their increasing violence. Thousands play those, and get `inspired’ by them – as it gives such personal involvement. I am not a fan of such game-realism. That people are creating violent games and making millions of pounds/ dollars of cash is outrageous! But of course, we know what is going to be in the media – Batman films foster violent killings!

Batman film will probably get crucified!

That Batman `myth’ stands for  a boy who was affected by violence (lost his parents) and grew up to become a crime-fighting vigilante will not mean much. That some  20 years ago, having been mugged/ attacked a few times and had broken shoulder a few times, and lost my own father to a street accident – I found a compulsion to walk the streets at night and have actually helped a few people from attacks – may come as a surprise to people who – obviously – didn’t know me at all, or what fuels and motivates me to want to change the world for better. That I wore a long leather coat, and took inspiration from Batman or The Phantom is why I can say what I am about to say here.

There is no such thing as Evil. And people aren’t born bad.  But villainy does exist. Some of us choose to take life’s knocks and turn them into positive motivations and thus shape our lives in better ways – better for the world.  But others become `inspired’ by warped thinking, and foster their own Villainy!

Is it natural? Can we help?   Yes, yes!

It is my belief that we all posses the potential for doing good deeds or harm – both driven by deeper psychological needs and prompts! There are dark shadows lurking in all of us humans! These are primal and animalistic  instincts of self-preservation and survival.  Aiding others in a tribe would ensure one’s own status, which keeps one a valued member of  a group and thus one’s security and survival. No one does anything that is truly altruistic. It’s all psychology! But harming or hurting another is a hunter instinct and it also works to further one’s own security and survival.  Take power – be in a place of power-over-others, harm or hurt others to enforce own superiority, so that no one will threaten one’s safety – that makes psychological sense too!

Then there are a whole load of in-between emotions and drives..and needs! Some of  those are highly and immediately self-serving, and so many people are taught to feel shame, guilt and fear ..for feeling those. So they suppress these. And all that is suppressed goes into the personal shadow (unconscious) first, and it also gets buried even deeper, into the Collective unconscious  of humanity!

And here is the nightmare that we don’t accept  — every strong person who supposedly suppresses his or her darker impulses is seeding the collective with it! And there are others out there who are genuinely `weak’ in a personal psyche-sense! And like a weak Earth’s crust that cracks and lets deeper pressures and lava  erupt as volcanoes, those weak individuals are the outlet for the darker impulses that so many of us good strong people bury into the Human Collective!

We make those villains, by being too good!

-Mani

ps. your comments welcome!

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5 thoughts on “Psychology: Super-villain syndrome ( Batman cinema killing)”

  1. As a Psychology Major, I tend to believe in what you have written… Some people suppress so much, and yet they seem to be ok to other people. Then they eventually snap and do harm to themselves as well as other people… Sad but true…

  2. Here are some comments few friends posted on my facebook profile for this blog. I thought they were good contributions so am quoting them but no names, unless they okay it).

    From one friend:

    D: “Interesting Mani, but consider; if everyone has these urges and those who suppress them seed the collective unconscious while those who express them harvest that unconscious, what can be done with the energy? How can it be used constructively?”
    D: “Maybe it can be used to destroy what needs destroying…have I answered my own question?

  3. More from another friend on facebook:

    R: “Reverse him and he’s The Hanged Batman Card”
    R: “This incident took place in Aurora, which means Dawn, which entwines with Batman looking for his childhood friend, Dawn Golden.”
    R: “We have produced useful strategies/tools like sport etc to try and channel these primal impulses so we can vent our rage on the opposing team, the Other. We also have politicians, Big Brother where we can nominate and boo at the person exiting and call them names. We even have wars where we have kind of legittimse chaos and all’s fair..We have urban foxes and grey squirrels which can all serve as a repository for all the nasty bits that we are too “civilised” to act upon. And if we cannot satisfy our unquenchable, unspeakable/unable-to-articulate demands (as opposed to needs) then well, for evrrything else there’s Mastercard”

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