November 1, 2009

The Dark Knight Ending and What People Want

What do people really want?

In the movie, The Dark Knight, Gordon and Batman agree to create a lie so that people can have things the way they want them, the way they think it should be. Harvey Dent is called a White Knight, and he looks the part. He has the right role in society for law enforcement, he is handsome, has wealthy fundraisers, says the right things, and fits the public’s idea of a savior.

Do we want to feel good or do we want the truth? When Jesus began to preach, it was clear he was different and he spoke with authority. But the people wanted him to be an earthly king and fight the battles they chose. They wanted freedom from Rome, but not from sin, and so they chose Barabbas. Even more, they chose the ruling party over a new way of life that has still never been embraced. As Morpheus said in The Matrix, most people are so used to the system that they do not want to escape. Instead, they will fight to protect it.

And so humanity has created an illusion, while rejecting the reality. For some, embracing the reality will result in great worldly loss. For others, it will bring freedom for the first time, but only with time and difficulty. It begins with a choice.

To be committed to reality, we must embrace the idea that we do not create it. If this is not frightening, we do not understand the choice. To leave our illusions is to leave an illusion of safety as well, that things are as we wish they were. That we can trust those we trust, that friends are friends and those we dismiss are always wrong. If we strive to know the truth, it is not only difficult but dangerous, and everything becomes unfamiliar and we must learn how to live all over again.

Here is a trailer for a movie out that explores the theme of humanity, Surrogates.

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