Those of you who have read my review on “The Dark Knight Rises” will know that I am not the biggest fan of the film. Having said that, I have, not entirely on my on will, gone to see it a second time at the theater. Proving the fact that when I saw the film the first time it was a 12:30 pm show had no effect on my view on it (as that’s quite early in the day for me), I felt the same after the second viewing. The film still felt clunky, uneven, and tainted with illogicalities in the plot. I did, however, gain some new perspective, not about the messages and themes that the film expressed, but on a rather personal basis. It has to do with the allure, desire, insanity, and chaos, that money, and the idea of money, brings to society.
This train of thought spawned from a conversation in the film between John Daggett and Bane. Daggett is a billionaire investor who financially backed Bane’s operations and sought to take over Wayne Enterprises. After (small spoilers) Daggett realized that he failed to become head of the Wayne board, he confronted Bane, yelling at him to the point where it was obvious that he had forgotten his place. When Bane revealed a glimpse of his madness on Daggett, the conversation went as follows:
Daggett: “I gave you a lot of money.”
Bane: “And that gives you power over me?”
What happened next isn’t really relevant to the discussion at hand. This little verbal exchange, and the subsequent chaos that Bane laid upon Gotham and its privileged class, provided me with a fresh basket of food for thought.
Coincidentally, recently, I have been presented with the opportunity to become a part of this elite class of society, where money is in the blood and veins of its very own infrastructure. I found myself indulging in the same things that the privileged folks in Gotham indulged in. Luxury. Whenever I am at a place of glorious opulence I found myself feeling like I’m in a different world, somehow establishing the dynamic of ‘us’ and ‘them’, because of where I was and what that meant.
We are in a society where money rules. Like it or not, capitalism is the way of the world right now, and as long as it remains so, society will always be driven by the accumulation of wealth. Now, there are arguments both ways on whether if it’s a good or a bad thing. Some might even argue that it’s neither good nor bad, that it’s just the way of the world and doesn’t affect people on a personal basis (who they ‘are’, their morals, etc). I happen to believe that personal wealth and the accumulation of wealth significantly influences a person’s character, demeanor, and morals beliefs.
Some people are born into well-off families and thus might have an easier path towards accumulating wealth, others might have to fight a lot harder to gain the same amount of wealth. Everyone in society today have to make decisions involving money, whether if it’s spending it, betting it, investing it, burning it… and seeing Bane utter those words reminded me that we should be the ones in control of money, not vice versa.
It is perhaps unclear though, Bane’s specific targeting of society’s affluent. Was he waging war against Gotham because of the class inequality? Is this what he and the League of Shadows fought for, albeit through extremist means?
I might not be the excommunicated leader of the League of Shadows who is looking to terrorize a city, send it into anarchy, and tear down the upper class. The method with which I strive to combat the corruption of money is much more introspective. When I am faced with thematic decisions in life where money might be a factor, everything from work, education, even relationships… I need to conjure up my inner Bane: Stay true to myself, and don’t let money control me.