Of all the super heroes batman is often most revered because he has no mystical or preternatural powers. He relies on strength, intelligence, flexibility, cunning, patience, and stealth. Chris Nolan’s new batman movie does the same. It is a smart and insightful piece of psychological film making.
Focusing on the transformation of fear is the key to freeing the powers of the human mind. Batman Begins gives the well told visual story of what it means to confront your fears. Not just to abate them; but to turn them into fuel. Fear transformed can fuel faith, courage, vision and the determination to carry forward even against overwhelming internal obstacles.
The choice of the two villains, Ra’s Al-Ghul, the sociopathic and aristocratic nija master and Jonathan Crane the supercilious scarecrow as the deranged shrink fixed on exploiting fear, was a very good story telling decision.
Ra’s Al-Ghul saves the pre-batman Bruce Wayne from sinking into a morass of his own guilt fueled self contempt by teaching him to surrender his anger and consider a more selfless path of serving others. Like an inspiration from our own false ego saving us from ourselves by championing a higher ideal, albeit one couched in self delusions of grandeur; an ideal that will, in time, need to be thrown off.
Of course escape from this delusion requires a courageous act of selflessness. At just the crucial moment will you have the courage to resist the false ego’s demand to surrender to its tempting offer or instead will you risk everything to do the right thing as when Bruce Wayne threw off the demand of Ra’s A-Ghul to become the cold blooded executioner of a common murder who in this case is a metaphor for the notion of conscience or compassion. Killing the common murder would in effect destroy or repress the quality of mercy.
Our loss of mercy is a state much desired by the all controlling false ego (Ra’sAl-Ghul.) With mercy debilitated the false ego may proceed with directing the aspirant (Bruce Wayne) according to his agenda.
Looking at the film through the lens of our psychological model (based on sankya yoga) the film acts as a marvelous metaphor for how the mind can be healed
Bruce does not comply and like the powerfully trained mind of a yogi he goes on to become the well wisher and protector of the body he serves (in this case Gotham city.)
A body that has grown decrepit and vile through the corrupting influence of the mob (in our sankya model this would ‘manas’ which is Sanskrit for ‘mind’ meaning the controller of the senses.)
Leaving the intellect (called buddhi in yoga) –which in this story is assistant D.A. Rachel-played indecisively by Katie Holmes- who as the ADA finds her efforts to right wrongs ineffective, i.e the intellect is unable to provide instruction that can be tolerated by the body (Gotham’s government.)
The batman plays the part of what yoga would call a representative of super-consciousness; he is something like a teacher or guru. He will both protect the living entity as well as propel it toward a necessary confrontation with its fears.
Once again the false ego (having previously conned batman into saving him by means of a subterfuge the ego is so expert at, in this story by convincing Bruce that he was his friend and that his old Chinese puppet was the real false ego) tries to dissuade him by burning down his house during a fight to the death (this is the proverbial dark knight of the soul.)
When the false ego makes its last stand it is often cataclysmic so the burning of the house as well as the subsequent loss of Bruce Wayne’s reputation is an apt metaphor.
All this of course sets up the grand finale and the last ditch effort of the representative of the dark side (herein the Scarecrow) to wreak utter destruction (aka induce a psychotic breakdown.)
At this stage the only hope is direct confrontation with ones fears and having developed functional alliances with other spirit-souls fight for truth and justice.
How well does Mr. Nolan do this? You will have to see the movie and judge the ending yourself.