Fist of all, how can bad guys be really that bad as they’re portrayed in the movies? Half of the Hollywood bad guys have a follower base that laugh to the henchman’s bad jokes and enjoy killing and torturing people on demand. Where do they find those kind of people? The bad guy groupies that are willing to hit first and think later. And because they are fighting the good guy, they don’t even get the chance to think, only a chance to hit. I just can’t buy that. Humans can not be so willing to kill.
There have been studies, though, most famously the Milgram’s test. Stating that people lose a sense of moral duty, when they are firmly told to do something and that we have an inherent urge to obey orders . The blame lies on the person who gave the order, right? When you seemingly have no choice, but to follow orders. Things get worse with group pressure. When everyone you relate to act in a certain way, then those acts have to be morally correct, right? I can’t be held responsible for the groups decisions, right? But in reality you do have a choice, you just need to resist your primal desire to obey the herd. And when you look back on the situation, then you see that you do have a moral responsibility for your actions, you just felt easier doing bad things because you had company.
Now, speaking of the good guys, we have entered the Dark Knight era of heroes. We like heroes with emotional issues and a dark side. I think Watchmen is the best at that genre. Moral dilemmas all the way through. We get a more deeper look into the mind of the heroes and see behind the mask. They are fighting for their own ideas and ideals, not anyone else’s, otherwise they would have joined the police force. Each hero has a different view about justice, how it should be implemented or if justice exist altogether. And often those ideas collide. Some characters justify killing bad guys, some don’t. Should we derive the idea of good and bad characters from the ideals or the way those ideals are achieved? My thinking is that a killing machine can not qualify as a “hero”.
This subject has caused a lot of dissatisfaction with the Man of Steel movie, too. Comic book and Superman fans believed Superman to be unable to kill, he would never do that. But in the movie, the villain General Zod gets his neck snapped. Easy way out. There is a point of course that Zod wanted to kill the entire planet and he would never stop, but still Superman drifted away from his rooted ideals. Those, like me, who hadn’t read the comics or knew the history, didn’t find the ending so unusual. We were getting used to justifying the acts of heroes with the idea of greater good.
My logic, that has evolved throughout many years and justifies human life is. . Every individual has his own view of the world. His own sight and experiences, his own understanding. We all understand the same situation differently and see the same happenings from a first person view that no one else can see. That means that the world itself is different to us all. We can not understand how others experience colors, pain, sounds etc. That in turn means that the whole universe is different to us. We experience the whole existence differently. And if you take out one person, you don’t just take out a pawn on a chessboard, you take out the player, a whole one side of the table. A totally unique view of the world, and thus, you are committing a crime that equals to destroying a whole universe.
Now i consider a person, who destroys a universe a villain. One can not say that every planet in that universe was “evil”, there had to be another solution. Now you’re thinking of self defense. Self defense is a harder case. When does an act become classified as self-defense and which kind of actions should be allowed to guard yourself? This subject needs some more thinking and some more questions. Watch the Youtube channel of Harvard philosophy lectures on justice to get acquainted with morality. There are so many mind boggling questions that arise from these lectures that you will find hard to keep track of your thoughts.
WARNING!: Take the words of warning from Michael Sandel seriously, these lectures will change your view of the world!
To be continued. .