I’m not into comic books, even when they’re called "graphic novels."
I’m not into super-heroes and movies based on them.
I went to see "The Dark Knight" last week because Marc Gafni wanted to do a dialogue with me on the movie.
The film tries to make a variety of philosophical points, all of which I thought were dead wrong.
"Knight" is both more optimistic and more pessimistic than I am about human nature.
A key plot points revolves around two barges rigged with bombs and each barge has the chance to survive if they blow up the other barge.
Only a fool can believe that human nature is fundamentally good (tens of millions of innocent people were murdered in the 20th Century) and only a fool can be thrilled by art that portrays people as basically fine.
On the other hand, the movie says people can’t handle the truth. They need role models without flaw.
That’s ludicrous. People make better decisions when they have better information.
I say the average person is able to see that people can be heroic in one aspect of their life (say Martin Luther King’s leadership role in the struggle for civil rights) and be a loser in another (King plagiarized his PhD thesis).
Heroes are not super-human. Heroes don’t have to be lied about publicly to keep their heroic status. Heroes are all around us.
Every person is a role model. Whether we like it or not, we all influence other people. Every choice we make affects other people.
The movie says society needs human sacrifice and that salvation comes from above.
These notions are repugnant. We don’t need to commit cannibilism, we don’t need to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the god, to be saved. Nor are we helpless to our sinful inclinations. Through our deeds (guided by God’s law), we can create a good world.
We don’t need to live in delusion. We don’t need to demonize good people and hold them responsible for our own sins. We don’t need to be saved by irrational faith. We are not helpless. We can handle the truth. We can handle the task God has given us.