Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

I went for a walk last night at about 1am. I put my headphones in, listened to my "wandering" Spotify playlist, and just walked. Trying to make sense of this year and all the changes that are rapidly approaching faster than I'd like to admit. I eventually reached the ocean, and stared out at its grim, jelly-like demeanour waving slowly at me. 

I was there for a about an hour. These are the thoughts that followed:

There's a distinguishable contrast between the silence in the darkness compared to the daylight. Silent darkness wraps itself tightly around your chest and covers your eyes as if to say "Guess who". It permeates your thoughts and whispers the sounds of muffled, distant midnight travellers, driving down cold empty streets.

There's a false note in this darkness though, this night has been polluted by artificial lights. Darkness itself doesn't pollute, It simply fills the space that light has left behind in its voracious hunger, consuming the scraps of air it can find. 

People fear darkness, they fear the ambivalence of what's lurking in the shadows; of monsters that hide under beds or reapers that hunt in the night. People fear what they do not understand. Do you understand if you're afraid of the dark?

I like darkness. I think it's just as afraid of us as we are of it. It cowers in the corners of rooms and hides under tables when a light is turned on. It has a fleeting insecurity about the way it runs away which I think is hauntingly captivating and enchanting. It elegantly dances around open flames, it wraps itself up in the waves of the ocean, blanketing the depths of the sea with each crash. It securely anchors everything to the planet and asks for nothing in return.

One day I will find real darkness, true darkness. I long to be immersed in it, breathing in chilled air while letting my body just be. In darkness you have no choice but to just be. Nothing matters in still, silent darkness. I hope to lie in the depths of the dark, silent earth and listen to the noisy thoughts in my dark head. 

Are you afraid of the dark? Why?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Batman - Selfish Vigilante or Defender of Justice?

I'm watching The Dark Night with a group of friends, under a flickering light with beer in hand. Now, I'm not one for action movies - I didn't pick this one, but I need to make it more interesting for myself. So, let's talk about justice:

This movie is obviously set in Gotham City, a city rife with corruption, poverty and psychopaths. It has its own special breed of disturbed psychopaths; Poison Ivy, Bane, Two-Face, Catwoman, The Riddler, The Joker, The Penguin and Batman - a billionaire that dresses himself up as a bat and makes a valiant attempt to uphold justice and order. Batman treads a fine line between being a defender of justice and being a selfish vigilante that is trying to avenge his parents' death.

Then there's John Rawls - a 20th C political philosopher. He believed that a "just man" is committed to the view that moral obligations or duties exist equally for everyone (deontological morality). He believed that justice = fairness. Citizens were all equal and could step behind a "veil of ignorance" when determining principals of justice. When one steps behind this veil of ignorance, they are ignorant from their particular circumstances (blind, poor, rich, etc).

Let's relate this to Batman - imagine if Batman were to stumble upon on a situation where both an innocent person and The Joker were in mortal danger. He would be morally obligated (under the veil of ignorance) to treat them the same way. He can't fear The Joker because of the past and can't favour the innocent civilian - nor can he allow his Bruce Wayne bias to influence his actions. Stepping into the Batsuit effectively means stepping behind the veil. If Two-Face becomes president, and promises tax-breaks for the rich, Wayne would be swayed to support him. This rules Batman out of the vigilante category because when he puts on the suit, he puts his personal situation aside and acts in the interests of all rather than just taking the law into his own hands.

In a city as messed up as Gotham, one has to step outside the system, behind the veil in order to single handedly reconstitute it.