Wanted: Avengers for the Modern World
My son, Matt. recently posted on his FB page that he has seen the Avengers three times, including at least one showing in 3D.
I decided if he thought it was good enough to see three times, that it set new box off records, and was already a billion dollar success, that I would check it out. So we went to the movies this weekend and saw the 3D version with the D-Box seats. D-Box seats move with the action of the movie. They also have the added advantage to help keep you awake during boring films. :)
Avengers was a fun action movie and we enjoyed it very much.
Though I didn’t go to the film seeking any particular message, as I thought comic book characters were more of an escape venue, I did nonetheless, come away with some possible lessons for humankind to consider.
For those unfamiliar with the plot of the Avengers, Loki, the Norse God who was an adopted brother of Thor, decides to take over the powerful energy source tesseract and then subjugate the Earth’s inhabitants. The director of S.H.I.E.L.D., an espionage and intelligence agency, decides the best hope to respond to the attack by Loki, is to assemble a group of super heroes called the Avengers. The group includes Ironman, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Thor, and the Hulk.
There were three points in the film where I thought there might be a message for us today as the world attempts to combat the evil forces of corporate leaders such as the Koch Brothers, projects like the Keystone Pipeline, and forces such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), that continue to work to weaken the american democracy.
First there was the awareness that no one super hero could fight these forces alone. That is why the Avengers needed to work as a team. Perhaps this is a call for the super heroes that may be leaders in politics, economics, business, science and technology, philanthropy, religion, indigenous tribes, ngo’s, and other groups that they need to better coordinate and work as a team to defeat the assault on freedom, democracy, justice, and equality. Like the Avengers, maybe we need to learn that no one of these groups can do it by themselves.
During the battle scene in the film, Captain America told the police what they needed to do to assist. The police captain asked who he thought he was. When he saw him in action though, he no longer questioned or challenged his leadership. Instead he ordered the police force to give full cooperation to what Captain America said was needed. The film made the point, that those who lead by example are powerful leaders that others will follow to battle and victory. Leading by example though, and not mere words, was the key to others taking action.
Second, there was a point in the film where Loki told the people of the Earth that their life calling was really to ignore the false ideal of freedom and realize that they would be better off as his subjects. All to easily most of the people were willing to comply with this command. It was only when an elder citizen refused to bow down to Loki, and Captain America came to his defense, that the masses began to see that maybe they were not resisting enough. Just like today’s pattern of the rich telling the poor that making the rich more rich is really in their best interest, that we needed to take away civil liberties in order to be more secure, and that others really know what is in their best interest, the film showed how Americans are way too willing to abandon their freedoms and use any critical thinking to challenge the wisdom of the authority. The film strongly showed the need for more critical thinking and higher values attached to ideals such as freedom, liberty, justice, and equality.
Finally, there was a point in the film where the Hulk was coming after Loki, to which Loki admonished him that he could not be attacked because he came from a superior religious tradition and class. The Hulk responded by ignoring the speech and proceeding to throw him around and finally smashing him into the ground.
David Banner, aka the Hulk, later shared that he had a secret weapon that enabled him to unleash the Hulk when necessary. He said that he was always angry, and therefore ready to transform from the mild mannered scientist to the Hulk at a moments notice if needed.
The lesson for today is that we can not be diverted from truth, justice, and real programs for peace and prosperity, by the false diversions of religious con-games or pretense of authority. We also need to be ready to respond when our greatest values are threatened by hostile outside forces, be they corporations, religions, governments who violate human rights, or other groups. At times like these we need to be able to take a cue from the Hulk and be able to quickly channel our anger as a source of power to challenge injustices.
We may not be able to easily call an Avengers Summit but we can very easily begin to see the connections and interrelationships between all of our modern day Avengers who we look for leadership in today’s world.
We can use the lessons of the film to remind ourselves to do more to fight the injustices in the world by leading by example. for whatever small actions we can take. We can learn to challenge those who attempt to take away our freedoms and/or impose injustice on us or others. Finally we can realize that we are all being fed many lies in order to distract us from the truth and right actions. For this we must all work hard to both educate ourselves on the issues and sharpen our critical reasoning skills.
Finally, we need to realize that like in the Avenger film, no one person or group can do it all. We need to build stronger coalitions for the better world we are trying to create.
Let’s all do our part to be Avengers for a better world.