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.

 

The Kinks and the Confession of Mr. Flash

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I always loved The Kinks non-critically acclaimed “Preservation” albums, acts 1 and 2. The two songs “Flash’s Dream (The Final Elbow)” and “Flash’s Confession,” toward the end of “Act 2” were thematically and musically a high point. Ray’s singing is amazing as usual, and I believe he is not given the credit of being one of the greatest rock singers of all time. Brother Dave’s guitar is also wonderfully prominent in the “Confession.”

The video posted below by Gerard van Calcar was well done with some appropriate images, and thankfully he combined both songs parts together. 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

“Roll Away Your Stone” by Mumford & Sons – An Interpretation: Narrative of a conversion

Knowing the potential perils of song interpretation, I nevertheless could not resist this song by Mumford & Sons that seems to be quite unique in popular culture in regard to its subject. I may be taking the song too literally, but I find this song to be a narrative of a spiritual conversion. Continue reading

“The Maker of Noses” by Rich Mullins – The way to the place of peace.

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I believe there is a place

Where people live in perfect peace
Where there is food on every plate
Where work is rewarded and rest is sweet
Where the color of your skin
Won’t get you in or keep you out
Where justice reigns and truth finally wins
Its hard fought war against fear and doubt Continue reading