A movie is an artistic enterprise. What topics and audience outcomes a director and playwright choose is their creative freedom.
They may want a certain emotional impact on the audience or provide a certain perspective (often unique or unusual) to person/events.
The movie Joker is first and foremost a creative enterprise.
This article meditates on the perspective it provides – the Why of Joker.
Each of us have narratives that help consolidate who we are. They provide a historical integrity through selective choice of certain events over others (often negative), weaved in a specific sequence to legitimize the Who We Are now. If there are aspects of our identity that now bothers us, the narratives of Why We Are So are constructed specifically to validate, justify or explain the current expression.
We function thus in the world.
However, it is a very different thing when a camera gazes at a character and builds the Why of Him for him.
In such a telling of story, there is a generalization of what is supposed to be a unique personal process of building narratives. The Why attempts to becomes a Universal Why, seeking legitimacy by stimulating audience emotions at appropriate junctures.
It is wonderful that this movie gives us a chance to debate whether this Why is indeed a Universal justification for activities that result in harm and death to other beings.
For example, you may know of people who have experienced abuse, abandonment or malnutrition responding very differently. Some succeed in processing such events in a way that helps them continue socially-healthy living. Some others, learn from these experiences and become teachers and counsellors. Yet others respond through anxiety and social withdrawal. And yet others, repress these events.
We cope differently. The moment, the who we were at the moment of experience, the changing events after that, the multiple decision points shift-shape the Who We Are now.
At the same time, sometimes those who have not experienced abuse, abandonment or malnutrition, sometimes choose paths to violence and derive pleasure in inflicting pain on others.
We desire differently and tools we use to fulfil those desires are also varied and complex.
The Joker is a story. That is all. One of the many stories we tell ourselves to reach the Who We Are.
Here is the important thing—none of these stories changes the fact of Who We Are now.
The Why merely strengthens the Now and keeps it stuck in that loop. All such perspectives are ghosts haunting your living room.
The Why doesn’t open a way forward as society. The How of Who We Are does. How do we do this Being in the World—the self-talk, the feelings, the inner images and sounds, the decision process, the action?
Mental Health systems and their people who are obsessed with the Why of We are burdened with poor resources. They use a method that doesn’t help their clients move forward, a case file that cannot close.
There are many methods available today to explore and change the How of Who.
Cognitive Psychology is one such way. So does Neuro Linguistic Programming through its superior ability to observe, calibrate and diagnose client’s physiological changes and language use. Mental Space Psychology is a further evolution by calibrating how our 3D mental maps impact us in the current moment.
Choose the How. The Why becomes sterile.