Joker is a film of our time, but not the film we need – Fabius Maximus website

Summary: Joker is a film of our time. But it is an entertaining horror film feeding our fears (like drinking while depressed), not the inspirational film we need to defeat our fears. We have what we need on our shelves, waiting for us to use them.

The Batman stories evoke our fears for the future. Gotham City looms as a likely future for the America we are building, a high-tech society that abandoned its roots in Western values and so lost most of its social cohesion. All that remains are greed and power. The rich read Ayn Rand and feel superior while devoting themselves to conspicuous spending and collecting art. Our government devotes itself to gathering power over all things great and small, foreign and domestic. Inequality reaches Latin American levels that destroy the governments legitimacy. The underclass grows, becoming wilder. The shrinking middle class suffers impotently between those above and below.

In a world where science killed God and Nietzsche destroyed the Enlightenments lessons, we live in darkness above a void. Rational analysis no longer illuminates our lives. This is the story of the new film, Joker, about our existential fears given human form.

Now for the bad news: many Americans find the burdens of self-government too great to bear. Our new national motto seems to be Its not my fault. It should replace E Pluribus Unum on the dollar bill. This is the ethos of a nation in decline. It is why so many people fear for Americas future.

When a peoples conceits and delusions burn away, we fall back on our core beliefs: belief in freedom, free markets, human rights, and a republican form of government. But this aspect of America is an intellectual project. It has a strong hold on our minds but not on our hearts. That is not enough to break us out of our current decline. America is like a jet aircraft with sputtering engines, pilots bickering, and passengers panicking. Neither self-interest or love of our nation provides sufficient strength in such a crisis.

All we have left are myths. Unfortunately, our modern myths reflect the spiritual weakness that is one cause of our crisis. For example, see the stories of super-heroes that fill our theaters and TVs. Most of them tell about people who find a magic dingus and become great, or have powers bestowed on them by some Great MacGuffin. Heroes like Harry Potter, Shazzam, Spiderman, etc. James Bowman calls these Hollywoods slacker heroes.

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These are entertainment, but not the kind that inspires or provides any guidance for our lives. It is not culture in its original meaning. Allan Boom explains this in his great work, Closing of the American Mind

{Culture is} everything that uplifts and edifies a people, as opposed to commerce. It constitutes a people, binding individuals into a group with roots, a community in which they think and become a moral unity of which the arts are an expression. It is the peak expression of mans creativity, our ability to break out of natures narrow bonds, and hence out of the degrading interpretation of man in modern natural and political science. It is profounder than the modern state, which deals only with mans bodily needs and tends to degenerate into mere economy.

American culture has myths that better match our past and can lead us to a greater future. We have myths that provide stronger food for our spirit and imagination. Here are two. You can list many more.

As a young boy, Bruce Wayne watched the murder of his parents. He resolved to prevent other children from suffering as he did, and spent years studying and training to become Batman. The story of a man voluntarily devoting his life to healing our broken society even by the most arduous and dangerous public service has great appeal. Its consistent with the admiration of Americans for the US military, who are despite their many failings the most trusted of our institutions.

James T. Kirk studied for years before entering Star Fleet Academy, preparing himself to become a great Starship Captain. As an instructor at the Academy, his students saw him as a stack of books with legs. He was familiar with both ancient philosophy (Spinoza, as mentioned in the TV episode Where No Man has Gone Before

There are other myths out there that can help, some from other lands. For example, we have a generation growing up many of whom saw the Fullmetal Alchemist TV shows and films (see Wikipedia), whose tagline (slightly paraphrased) is the kind of insight on which great nations can be built.

Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To gain anything, something of equal value must be given. That is lifes First Law of Equivalent Exchange, and applies to things tangible and intangible matter, energy, and spirit.

These are just stories, but they represent a part of us to which we can look for inspiration in the dark times ahead.

People need stories, more than bread, itself. They teach us how to live, and why. Stories show us how to win. The Master Storyteller in HBOs wonderfulArabian Nights.

If you liked this post,like us on Facebookandfollow us on Twitter. See all postsabout heroes, aboutreforming America: steps to newpolitics, and especially these

By Joseph Campbell (1949).

This is the book that sparked serious research in to the function and significance of myths. See Wikipedia. From the publisher.

Since its release in 1949,The Hero with a Thousand Faceshas influenced millions of readers by combining the insights of modern psychology with Joseph Campbells revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology. In these pages, Campbell outlines the Heros Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the worlds mythic traditions. He also explores the Cosmogonic Cycle, the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction.

As relevant today as when it was first published,The Hero with a Thousand Facescontinues to find new audiences.

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Joker is a film of our time, but not the film we need - Fabius Maximus website

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