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.

 

“Nothing’s too big to fit in my heart” – Bruce Cockburn

 

BruceCockburn

“To Fit in My Heart”

Endless silver
Wave forms crash in
Sea’s too big to fit in my brain
Nothings too big to fit in my heart

Seas come, seas go
Where they stood deserts flow
Time’s too big to fit in the brain
Nothing’s too big to fit in my heart

Spacetime strings bend
World without end
God’s too big to fit in a book
Nothings too big to fit in my heart

 Song by Bruce Cockburn, from “LIfe Short, Call Now

Sorry but I could not find a digital copy of the song that I could upload.

BMC @ Manifest Propensity, 2013.

Soren Kierkegaard on “Keeping the two commandments” – “Works of Love” 8 (preferential love, part 1)

works of love

“Just because Christianity is the true ethic, it knows how to shorten deliberations and cut short prolix instructions, to remove all provisional waiting and preclude all waste of time. Christianity is involved in the task immediately, because it has brought the task along. There is, indeed, great debate going on in the world about what should be called the highest good. But whatever it is called at the moment, whatever variations there are, it is unbelievable how many prolexities are involved in grasping it.”

“Christianity, however, teaches a man immediately the shortest way to find the highest good: shut your door and pray to God – for God is still the highest.  And when a man will go out into the world, he can go a long way – and go in vain –  he can wander the world around – and in vain – all in order to find the beloved or the friend. But Christianity never suffers a man to go in vain, not even a single step, for when you open the door which you shut in order to pray to God, the first person you meet as you go out is your neighbor whom you shall love. Wonderful!” (Soren Kierkegaard, “Works of Love” p. 64.) Continue reading

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

truth

“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

“Man in the Long Black Coat” by Bob Dylan – A lesson in songwriting and “interpretation”

Oh Mercy

“A song is like a dream, and you try to make it come true. They’re like strange countries that you have to enter.” (Bob Dylan, Chronicles Volume 1, 165.)

In this post I do not offer an interpretation. Instead I merely present the song and a few comments from Mr. Dylan himself regarding how one particular dream “came true.” I also am writing this as a confession that the “interpretations” I offer on this blog must remain tentative, being subservient to  the realities of artistic expression, in which there is a real sense in which artists themselves may not fully “know” their subject, let alone the “interpretation.” Continue reading

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

The Maker of Noses

Rich Mullins and Beaker

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