Thanos and the Infinity Stones: A Cautionary Tale for Control Freaks (Like Us)

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Marvel comics supervillain character “Thanos” is certainly a contender (apart from the biblical Lucifer) for the prize of being the ultimate control freak. But he is actually each of us magnified almost infinitely in our desire to control all of reality and God – and thus a cautionary tale. We all are tempted by the uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and suffering of life to “wish” that we could change things in almost ultimate ways, as Thanos hoped to do in complete ultimacy, once he was able to possess all six of the “infinity stones” – mind, soul, space, power, time, and reality. I always wonder whether the multitudes of Americans seeing movies like this realize that a major point is that the desire for “control” is ultimately dangerously destructive to our God-given creaturely self-hood and of the dignity and right to life of others?

Thanos is a good character to portray such self-deception, because he isn’t automatically portrayed as a shallow one-dimensional maniacal egomaniac but rather as a reasonable, courageous, even sacrificial and loving person (by his own estimation). It’s amazing what the unchecked desire for control does to us all, a story as old as the fall of adam & eve, the fall to the desire for control in the garden of God in Genesis, and as real as the terrible consequences that violently rippled out from there and provide the dismal default context of our personal and collective lives.

So, is there any anti-Thanos we can look to for a better way? How about a “forty day fasted” Jesus in the desolate wilderness tempted by Satan to use “infinity stones” to change “everything” but ultimately victorious over him though the conflict continued and culminated in an “anti-garden” of suffering, called Gethsemane? He is the one to consider, along with those who have truly followed his way, though they be few and far  between.

 

Thanks so much for reading!

Original Content © Bryan M. Christman and Manifest Propensity, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan M. Christman and Manifest Propensity with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Wovenhand’s “Kingdom of Ice” and the Book of Job

When I heard this song I knew that the opening song lyric sounded familiar, and that it sounded very Job-like. Not too many years ago I would have found a Bible concordance and started looking for “horse” in the listings under “Job.” Nowadays google is much faster and the print much more favorable to read. The results are posted below, interspersed with the lyrics. Continue reading

“Holocene” by Bon Iver – on humility, awe, and magnificence

Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) is a favorite musical artist of mine although I admit to having no idea what most of his songs are about. I find him more difficult in this regard than Andrew Bird who is also difficult but with work (and imagination?) I was able (I thought) to make some progress.

But the following repeated part of Holocene seemed to me to be a plain statement that possibly summarizes the point he was making in this song. The official video also seemed to confirm what I thought may have been his point. Continue reading

“Honesty” by Billy Joel – Who loves us enough to be honest with us?

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“In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is

a revolutionary act.” George Orwell 

Most of us have probably seen them on shows like “American Idol.” They are persons that did not have enough talent to sing at a birthday party, let alone sing before millions on national television. Often these unfortunate souls are devastated and humiliated when their “talent” is sometimes met with cruel derision for their arrogant self-conceit, or sometimes a more fortunate pity for their remarkable self-ignorance.

Either way, one must wonder how they came to this point of tragic consequence? Did none of their family or friends ever offer an honest appraisal of their talent? Did they ever ask for an appraisal? If they did were they given honest answers? Or was there an attempt at truth that was short circuited by one party or the other? The conclusion of the matter must be that for one or both there was a nearly complete indifference to the prudence of honesty and truthfulness, and the tragic consequence is not a joyous occasion. Continue reading