Lessons from THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

The sign of a good man is not his status, wealth or estate – it is his humanity. The Dark Knight Rises is not the best Batman movie ever made but it is the best representation of not only the character but also of what denotes a good human being.

When the going gets tough, Bruce Wayne can choose to run away and turn his back on the citizens of Gotham, including his friends, yet he doesn’t hesitate to don the cape and bring out ‘Batman’.

Ready to fight to the bitter end to put right old wrongs, protect the innocent and atone for past sins, it’s worth remembering that ‘The Dark Knight’ is still just a man: Bruce Wayne – a scared, scarred, lonely man with little faith in himself or much of mankind.

We have all felt like Bruce Wayne at some point. We have all had to retreat into our own shell at least once, whether it was because we felt too weary to face the world or just needed some time to lick raw wounds inflicted by others.

Wayne is a man without special powers, devoid of extraordinary gifts enjoyed by other superheroes such as ‘Superman’ or ‘Spiderman’. Yet when Gotham comes under attack, he never shirks from his responsibility because he knows that it’s the right thing to do.

You see, when the going gets tough and reality comes to bite you on the rear with the ferocity of a Great White shark, there are only two options: fight or flight. When all around you the world seems to crumble – and betrayal, fear and evil suddenly invade and threaten to conquer – it’s the ultimate test for all your bonds: family, friendship, love.

A decent person with a good heart, whose friendship or love is genuine, would never abandon you to save their own skin. They would stand with you and for you, no matter how shaky the ground upon which you stand may be.

In times of trouble, those who turn their backs on you are those who lack that inner core of courage that is the true mark of our humanity. Even the villain in the movie, the mask-clad Bane, stands until the bitter end in support of his friend – going to battle for them, with them and alongside them.

Whatever your view of this “mercenary”, his loyalty is noble and admirable. At his core lies a compassionate man, turned into a vengeful brute after abandonment and cruelty. Ultimately, we are faced with a being who needs to belong and will do anything for those he loves and a cause he believes in. This is a trait shared with Batman – hero and villain are only separated by a hair’s breadth of difference. For both men, fighting to preserve their inner humanity is not a choice, it’s a way of life.

Thus, when I reflect upon a life-changing betrayal by a supposed ‘best friend’ earlier this year, I feel more sorry for them than myself. I was willing to stand by them, even after all they did, yet they ran away to bury their head in the sand. Were it out of shame, I might understand their behaviour. However, their motivation seems to be convenience: brush things under the carpet and then they don’t exist.

I, however, follow the Bruce Wayne / Batman school of thought: stand up for what’s right, fight for all that is good and never run away from your responsibility to others, no matter how small. When we abandon those principles and forget to tap in to our inner Dark Knight, we risk becoming as misguided as Bane: fighting for the wrong side and losing sight of our own humanity – a very sorry state indeed.

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New British Film Director Showcases First Movie

This one is for all the movie fans out there…

Check out my Q&A with up-and-coming film director Tyrone Samuels on http://www.projectskylinemovie.com

It’s great to see homegrown talent chasing their dreams, making movies and helping other rising stars, like actors, get some exposure.

Beautiful Grief

I had to attend a funeral today, held in a very old Orthodox church. As the mourners piled in, I found my grief numbed slightly by the beauty of the church. It made me more conscious of the beauty of life. All life. Especially mine. I wondered what I would hope for if I lived long enough to see death coming. Would I make it to old age, where the whisper of the wind becomes a faint calling from the other side; every passing Winter is a warning, every Summer a blessing, every Fall an omen and every Spring a re-birth of the will to live longer to see it all again.

The 94 year old great grandma being buried today was a lucky woman… She made it far longer than most and leaves behind a joyous legacy. Even in me for, as I sat there in the beauty of the church, grieving her passing, I found a will to live my life not for the better but for the moment – the here and now. My life, my present, my here and now, is blessed and beautiful. I just never saw it before. Thank you great Grandma and God bless you for eternity.

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Happiness

The colours of happiness will never appear without a border;
The darkness of sorrow, without which we’d know not joy.
Elation, it seems, is like an obsessive hoarder;
It hangs on to the fragments of life like a child clutches a toy;
Memories shade every section of our lives;
Childhood to present are strokes of a brush;
Every new colour the result of how one strives;
Blocked out with black to symbol death’s eternal hush.
Before the blackout comes a swathe of light;
See colours dance on a canvas of our making,
The dark border is there but rarely captured by sight;
Look at the edges for inner awakening;
We are framed by the dark to make more vibrant the bright.