Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Batman and Psychology

Based On:

Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight

by Travis Langley

-One reason that Bruce Wayne is my favorite superhero because he could be a real guy. And this book describes what would cause a spoiled rich kid to dedicate his life to fighting crime by wearing a bat suite.

-Author Travis Langley says, “Where superman drew his might from Earth’s sun, Batman found his in a city’s darkness.”

-Langley describes the Tim Burton version of Batman in 1989 as being more about transformation rather a big strapping “Arnold Schwarzenegger” like man.

- That's why Burton’s Bruce Wayne is socially awkward and eventually sits at home alone in the dark until the Bat-Signal flips on.

-Kevin Conroy (the voice of the animated Batman) says, “He became Batman the instant his parents were murdered. Batman needs Bruce, however hollow that identity feels to him from time to time.”

-It’s interesting to think that Bruce Wayne is a fa├žade. Batman has to pretend to be the billionaire socialite even though he is truly obsessed with fighting crime.

 -Langley describes grieving stages where some people enter denial when a loved one dies. Instead, Bruce Wayne gets mad, and vows to stay mad and avenge his loved ones. For people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD, the longer the trauma the greater the impact.  Young Bruce Wayne sitting in the gutter with his dead parents for an extended period of time, seeing news footage of their death, and answering police questions would have lengthened the strain.

-Why doesn’t Batman kill the Joker? Is it possible that Wayne is just as mentally ill as the Joker is? Langley says, “He dominates his anger. It does not run wild with him. If it did, he’d have gotten himself killed or he’d have beaten the Joker to death long ago.”

-In Christopher Nolan’s Joker, there is no depth. The Joker does not pretend to be anyone else. He has no alter ego.

-Christopher Nolan modeled Bruce Wayne off of Teddy Roosevelt’s life. Roosevelt grew up rich but sickly and also endured the tragic deaths of some of his family. As a result, he embraced a tough lifestyle as a rancher and fought against injustice.

-The moment his parents are killed, Bruce Wayne dies. He is, at that moment, Batman even though he has not thought of donning the bat suite yet. Langley says, “His mission already defines him like music defined the child prodigy Mozart.”

-It’s interesting that Wayne chooses a creature that he fears as his model. In Batman Begins 2005, he enters the bat cave that he fell into as a child and stands amongst a swarm of bats. He stands with his fear. Langley says, “He stays with the fear until he calms down and sees that he’s okay. For however long it takes, he stays planted right there.”

-Wayne goes through the 3 steps of the hero’s journey: Departure (leaving Gotham), Initiation (training), and Return (coming back to Gotham).

-What I like about this book is that it explains what drives a man to take on the criminals of an entire city with no desire for reward or recognition. It also calls into question the mental health of Bruce Wayne.

-I’ve always loved the Batman, but before reading this book I never considered the fact that dressing up like a bat every night was strange. But then again, normal people never really make a difference in the world.

-Bruce Wayne’s drive reminds me of a quote by Jack Kerouac (many people think this is a Steve Jobs quote),

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits. The rebels. The trouble makers. The round pegs in square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify them or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. And while some may see them as the CRAZY ONES, we see GENIUS. Because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world ARE the ONES WHO DO.”

-R. Schulz

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Greatest American Warrior: Crazy Horse

Based On:

The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History

by Joseph Marshall III

-Crazy Horse's story is my personal favorite example of an American leader and warrior. This story of his life represents humility, confidence, and the killer instinct that Crazy Horse had.

-Joseph Marshall describes young Light Hair (later known as Crazy Horse) as a boy with quiet determination and having innate humility.

 -Light Hair would be ridiculed and teased by his peers for having light hair and light skin. Marshall writes "He took the teasing in stride as though sensing he was being held over the fire, being tempered by the difficult moments."

-The Lakota had a name for unconventional warrior/leaders. They were called "Thunder Dreamers" which were warriors that sacrificed reputation and ego for the sake of the people. Basically, they did the opposite of what people expected. Marshall says "Light Hair must walk the path of humility rather than the path of glory."

-When he became a warrior Light Hair received his father's name, Crazy Horse.

-On one of his victories against a band of Crow Indians, he left it to the others to brag about their victory upon their return. However, Crazy Horse was said to have fought with such bravery that the others paused to watch him and he gave away the horses he captured to some of the local widows.

-Over the years his reputation grew yet he never spoke of his daring feats. Yet the humble warrior's heart was broken when the girl of his dreams, "Black Buffalo Woman" married another man.

-Crazy Horse shifted his focus back to his mission. He developed an intense disgust for whites. "To defeat them was not an act of honor but one of necessity."

-Marshall says that it is likely that Crazy Horse believed that he would die as a young man causing him to take daring risks and fight with a reckless abandon.

-Even though the reservation lifestyle offered by White Americans had attracted many Lakota, Crazy Horse’s reputation caused many young Lakota men to unite against their common enemy.

- “Fight to stay free and die a free Lakota if it comes to that. I will never live on an agency, so I will never give up my horse or my gun,” said Crazy Horse.

-According to Marshall, the Lakota could have easily defeated the whites. But most young Lakota did not have the passion to return to the old way of life. They were seduced by the white man’s lifestyle.

-Marshall says, “He was a man like many others, and in many ways he was a man like no other.”

-Crazy Horse had two enemies, the whites and the Lakota that gave up on their way of life.

-He is my personal favorite example of leadership because he did not fight for glory, prestige, or money. He fought for his way of life, for his land, and for his freedom. Yet we are taught in history that American heroes were slave owners like George Washington, Patrick Henry, or Thomas Jefferson. I personally have never seen a man truly sacrifice all, with no thought of money or fame,  like Crazy Horse did.

-The author Joseph Marshall says it best. “He rose to leadership because he actually led. He didn’t point to where others should go while he waited. He led…He went first, he took the lead, he was the first to face and meet the challenge. But the other factor that enabled his rise to leadership was his humility.”

-R. Schulz

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Caesar: The Life of a Colossus

Caesar: The Life of a Colossus
Adrian Goldsworthy

-The life of Caesar is so valuable to us in the modern era because he is a great example of ambition and leadership. This book combines events of ancient Rome with lessons of how an "above average" man became the most powerful man in the world.
-Caesar's success  does not begin until age  41 when he sets out for Gaul to became the most successful general in Roman history. (184)

-As a general he was a phenomenal leader, led by example: led his troops on foot like an ordinary legionnaire.  He did not expect troops to do anything he could not do himself. (235)

- Caesar new what it took to achieve success: “made the most of his opportunity to win glory and make himself fabulously rich in the process” (292)

- “His strategy in war was aggressive, seizing and maintaining the initiative, and never doubting his ultimate success regardless of the odds that ranged against him." (356)

- Hostility arose as Caesar returned due to jealousy amongst senate members. He gained “too much glory.” (369)

-  He had remarkable loyalty from his troops (381). When those below you respect you, those above seem to hate you.

- After fighting and winning the civil war over the notorious Roman General Gnaeus Pompey, he became dictator. Traditionally, dictators were limited to six month terms. Caesar just never gave up his power. (493)

-When it became clear that Caesar had become a monarch rather than just an elected official he joked “I’m not king, but Caesar.” (498) I like this because he knows his greatness, but he's not so insecure that he has to brag about it to everybody.

-Caesar refused to maintain bodyguards because he did not wish to live in fear under close guard. (506) He was dauntless and  ambitious to the end.

-I highly recommend this book and encourage readers to search for the qualities that made Caesar a powerful leader and an ambitious man rather than getting into the weeds of specific events and battles.

R. Schulz