My country is abuzz over the inconceivable horror of the batman movie massacre of early Friday morning, when a heavily armed but previously mild-mannered intelligent university student burst into the midnight showing of the final installment of the ulta-violent Dark Knight trilogy in Aurora Colorado and translated movie screen mayhem into bloody killing reality. The young man turned sociopath wore body armour purchased on the internet, carried legally acquired assault weapons, and patterned a sudden merciless rampage after the so-called entertainment of the famous Joker character from the previous installment of the best-selling franchise. Police have reported that the killer dyed his hair red, called himself the Joker, used a shotgun like the Joker, and burst into the theatre with smoke bombs and a barrage of ammunition in the Joker’s style. The attack began in parallel with film scene explosions, so the audience first thought it was all in the movie, and then guessed it was a publicity stunt for more sensation since the midnight showing was a much-anticipated nation-wide industry event. 70 people were shot in a total war zone descent into hell, 12 dead within minutes, and security was increased at continued showings of the film around the country as people feared for the safety of their children still looking forward to the movie’s violence at their local Cineplex. Out of respect for the dead, Hollywood would delay announcement of box office receipts, expected to fall short of predictions after the tragedy but still break records. The big-money movie features many horrors including a similar shooting massacre of innocent audience at a sports arena, and is rated PG-13, which is supposed to mean no one under 13 is allowed to get in. I have yet to see any reports that question why victims under that age were among the real massacre’s dead, the youngest being 6.
The Joker was such a sickening character of the second Dark Knight film that the actor playing him, Heath Ledger, became increasingly disturbed and died on an overdose of medications prescribed to calm him from the experience. This was reminiscent of other Hollywood abuses like when it got 15 year old actress Judy Garland hooked on drugs to push her through the shooting schedule of The Wizard of Oz, which led to the lifelong addiction that eventually killed her. But only praise was heard for Ledger’s talent and performance, and to this day movie fans are glad to have at least had Ledger’s career end on such a “brilliant” note as to have brought a remorseless psychotic killer to unforgettable life. This Joker character is easily recognizable in toy store aisles, since the licensing of the mass murderer is highly profitable for children to play with alongside Batman, who is himself no longer the funny posing hero of the 1960’s era TV shows that I grew up with in which bumbling silly villains get easily defeated to depict however clumsily that goodness will prevail. Batman was reinvented for a new jaded generation as just another alienated dangerous vigilante hiding in a costume and armed to the teeth with deadly technology.
Flush with more cash than any charity to feed starving children could ever dream for, Hollywood cranks out the ever grander spectacles of extreme entertainment soaked in blood, featuring inhuman torture and mass explosive murdering, in hopes of still finding thrills and shocks for sensation-numbed audiences hungry for their next escape from reality. Millions consume this stuff obsessively, praising the craft of violence as art and bringing their whole families, never suspecting that the barrage of disturbing thoughts and feelings could ever effect anyone beyond the exit of the theatre or after the TV is turned off.
How, why, could people be so willfully blind? Energy is real! There is no reality-proof steel door separating physical experience from internal imagination, objective manifestation from personal sensation. Your thoughts and feelings are your open portal to an outside world, so where in the world have you been going? Multimedia is especially potent, so when you play a video game or watch a TV show or movie of someone getting killed, you are actually connecting psychically to someone getting killed somewhere. Yes! This is not theoretical, this is what gives reality a real feeling, this is how the universe works. If you’re wise to this, you can make use of upsetting scenes as you contemplate them to find your own aware healing response, to both become more human and help someone somewhere in space and time, which of course the mind transcends easily. Maybe the suffering one will turn out to be you in your own past life, maybe they’re a person you will love if you ever get to meet them, or maybe you will never know who it is at your current level of consciousness. At any rate, thank God you can care and make a difference from your human beingness! This is how intention makes all the difference, so reports and depictions of violence can become a channel you tune into with compassion to make the world a better place. Thus violence in stories cannot be simply outlawed, since that would just be looking the other way from truth. Puritans closed the Globe theatre of Shakespeare in 17th century England around the same time they were migrating to New England to begin exterminating Native Americans, so some of the best plays to make us think and feel more human have long been sanctimoniously opposed by those who turn around and do their worse cruelties elsewhere.
Guns and films don’t kill people, people kill people, so of course easy access to guns and violent ideas encourage people to kill! The senseless unaware enjoyment of violent sensations can and must be addressed in the population with basic startling education. It’s too easy for Hollywood to defend itself as just giving people what they want; why aren’t the actors and writes caring about themselves enough to eulogize Heath Ledger for what really killed him, an evil energy that was employed to sell a movie? Murder is deadly serious in any form, and the talking picture industry is hyper-real when it comes to what it can push your brain to think and feel, thus affecting your body and by its extension your world. The more you pretend a killing in your senses isn’t happening somewhere, the closer killing comes. For the victims of one stupid thrill-ride in Aurora Colorado, inhuman cruelty stepped right off the silver screen to scar and take their lives forever in a new ground zero. The lesson can’t get more obvious: sensational energy is where reality begins! As with many horror franchises, the Joker character is no joke; its creators were inspired by a specific murderous non-human entity who is eager to injure as many humans as it can before people realize the fire they are playing with when they package violence for diversionary pleasure. All you have to do is open your heart a little to question how anyone can enjoy images of terror and pain, and all you have to do is dismiss your own humanity to think every feeling is as fun to feel as any other, the bigger the better. There are a lot of mislabeled poisons around today, but their effects are obvious to people have the courage to get with reality.
Science already reports with increasing mystification that there isn’t a clear disconnect between what you imagine and what will happen physically. It’s been long known that your body will react to what you visualize in your head the same ways as if it were happening outside, so that thinking about a threat can increase your adrenalin and heart rate, alter your brain chemistry, change your entire biology, and push you to react with increasing defensive impulsivity. Still, people prefer to say your internal state is just a thrill effect, nothing really lasting will come of it, and the world doesn’t care. But now it’s known that if you imagine exercising, your muscles will actually grow. How’s that for physical? It just goes on from there. Endless studies show that anything you can do to foster your internal peace, master your own mental states, and meditatively reduce stress will make you happier, healthier, smarter, more loved, more successful, and live a longer life. Who can really doubt that an entire sequence of impacts must exist from our thoughts and feelings to the events in our lives, except of course a society that doesn’t want responsibility for all the destructive moods it promotes as harmless fun for young and old. God help us if we cared, we might have to start looking at why we enjoy such things as violence and fantasies that injure people, real and imagined, and become compelled by our own humanity to change whole industries, economies, and lifestyles! Of course, how can we expect to make the world a better safer place without the deepest reviews of our values.
The occasional individual who loses all self-control to go on a killing spree is deranged and responsible for horrors most people hold themselves back from ever acting out, of course. The news reports all jump to reassure us of that simple fact. But millions of people imagine and enjoy the effects in their body of violence every day, as either done to others or themselves. Energy is real, and too many psycho-killers turn out to be frighteningly normal however lonely people until the day they snapped, because they were canaries in a coalmine that’s been long smoking and on fire. This is your life you are in charge of defending now, don’t wait for Hollywood to take care of you and those you love! Regard what you say and think as seriously as what you do, and stop patronizing the vendors of violence as entertainment. Teach yourself and your children to consider the human beings behind all those scenes of mayhem, whether staged for a film or reported in the news. You can’t imagine how much good you can do to say no to the sickness of current imagination, but you will see a better world.
I'm so so sorry for the innocent victims of Friday. Just before hearing the news, I was drawn that morning to listen to Tracey Grammer's classic song "Hey Ho". It always makes me cry, but I sobbed uncontrollably for so long I knew that something must have happened.