Monday, October 31, 2005

"Batman Begins" Tackles Cults of Assassins

With all the talk on the RI message board about the excellent fact-as-fiction flick "Sin City," I thought that I'd delve into another recent film that exposes reality cleverly as fantasy. "Batman Begins" features another chapter in the life of Bruce Wayne, Gotham's richest and most myseterious playboy billionaire.

"Begins" starts at a logical place: the very beginning, before Batman ever kicks an ass and even prior to Wayne's parents being killed. As young Bruce plays a game of "Finders-keepers" with a friend on his parents' sprawling estate, he accidentally falls down an old water well and is beseiged by hundreds of bats. The trauma of this event markedly shifts the boy's attitude and outlook. Not long after, his parents are murdered after a night at the opera as Bruce is left watching.

The added trauma causes Bruce to seek another identity, much like the fragmenting of so-called Monarch victims in MK-Ultra experiments. Bruce finally creates his Batman alter-ego after traveling to the Himalayas and intersecting with a dangerous assassin cult called the "League of Shadows." This shadowy secret society echoes a group known as the Hashshashin which existed (as "League of Shadows" is said to have existed) for centuries. They too operated in a remote mountainous region and they too had a belief system that was apocalyptic.

The Hashshashin of the 8th to 14th centuries were founded by a man named Hasan i Sabbah. Sabbah subjected his followers to rites very similar to those of other mystery cults in which the ititiate was made to believe that he was in imminent danger of death. The drug-using employed in the "Leage of Shadows" initatory rite is nearly identical to this.

The "League of Shadows" also brings to mind Alice Bailey and Benjamin Creme's "Ascended Masters" AKA "White Brotherhood" who supposedly habitate in the Himalayas and conduct international affairs from afar. In fact, Bailey's co-author and sujbect of "Prophecy on trial : dated prophecies from the Djwhal Khul" is a mystic and Ascended Master named Djwhal Khul, a name which sounds curiously similar to the "League's" Ra's Al Ghul.

Finally, back to the Hashshashin:

The group inspired terror out of all proportion to their scant numbers and territory. The members were organized into rigid classes, based upon their initiation into the secrets of the order. The devotees constituted a class that sought martyrdom and followed orders with unquestioned devotion, orders which included assassination.
Sound like any other "terrorist" groups you know?


Blogger equilibrium4 said...

Hi Tim,

I thought your take on Batman; as having a trauma induced identity split was an interesting new view of the character.

I have come to think of the Batman as embracing an archetype in order to acheive his aim. The first gnostic superhero, if you will, who has honed in on his abilities and 'subverted' the hashashin's methods to serve other faces of god.

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