An Inspiring Story: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Dark Knight Rises
is a 2012 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, featuring the DC Comics character Batman. In the film, Bane delivers a crippling blow to Batman's back, and then takes him to a foreign, underground prison where escape is virtually impossible.
Let’s lift the mask off Bruce’s daring escape from a deep, cavernous well and expose a life-affirming allegory of one man’s spiritual odyssey. The prison sits hundreds of feet below earth. It is virtually impossible to escape. However, one of the prisoners tells Bruce that a child had managed to scale the wall to freedom.
Bruce has literally and figuratively hit rock bottom. His body is broken. He is stuck both physically and emotionally. The days are dark and the nights are frightfully lonely. But there is a fire burning below. In the pit of Bruce's stomach, he is determined to save Gotham from destruction.
He begins a mission of rebuilding his body and increasing his core strength. His new hope becomes having the might and stamina to climb the rock wall like the little boy before him. It is a grueling process that would've defeated most men, but Bruce is fighting for his city -- his spiritual home. Feeling rejuvenated, he attempts to climb the wall. He does not succeed. He tries again and falls back down.
A Paralyzing Fear
After the second attempt, Bruce plays the comparison game. He questions how a child, lacking the strength of an adult, could have escaped managed such a Herculean task and he's failed multiple times? A fellow prisoner explains that the child had no fear of death.
In that moment, Bruce has an epiphany. He is being anchored by fear. If he falls while scaling the wall, he will die. He will not be able to return to Gotham and fight for her survival. He is impeded by an irrational fear of a negative outcome.
Bruce learns that the child managed to scale the rock wall without a safety rope. Bruce makes the decision to put away his crutches. Without a rope or a safety net to fall back on, he clearly understands the risk. This risk propels him to reach deep enough to miraculously scale up the wall on his third attempt.
Let’s continue to pull the mask off this parable. Bruce suffered a crushing defeat that knocked him off the path of his heart. He suddenly found himself wandering in the wilderness. While Bruce could have faded away in those barren lands, he listened to his intuition to guide him back to his anointed path. The voice within Bruce became his moral compass.
Following The Voice Within
Bruce's intuition instructed him to begin a process of healing. If he didn't set aside time to allow his body to heal, he would never have the necessary strength to scale the towering wall. He set clear goals (akin to Chuck in Cast Away) to repair his broken back. He then worked all the muscles necessary to endure a wall that defeated so many men before him.
When Bruce finally got to the point where he could put his body through the rigors of rock climbing, he made a startling discovery that strength alone would not be enough. The rope tied around his waist was designed to break his fall. This also impeded his success. He made the decision to remove the harness to break free of psychological crutches holding him back. He also "cut the rope" to gain that optimum level of strength that springs forth when it is all on the line.
Our Intuition, Our Compass
This allegory challenges us to take a look at the traps of life we battle each and every day to escape. There are many traps that threaten to distract us from the promise, the way of our heart, and our ideal selves. One of the single greatest traps is that of fear.
We’ve heard the gentle whisper and felt a special calling on our lives. We’ve seen the way of our heart in our mind’s eye, but self-doubt and crippling fear remain for many of us the single greatest impediment to our success.
Bruce had a passion to fight for Gotham. When he was racked with pain, he still had that passion. When he failed after several attempts to extricate himself, he still had that passion fixed in his mind’s eye.
Most importantly, Bruce made decisions. He refused to be stuck and wander aimlessly in the wilderness. His greatest choice, however, to get back on the path of his heart was to "cut the rope". Without it, without the safety net to break his fall, he had to find a deeper reserve of untapped power to spring out.
What are the safety nets or comfort zones in our lives that keep us from chasing after our passion? What are the ropes that keep us from making a daring escape from a current, stagnant situation? Do we trust our intuition?
If we can look beyond the veil, we learn the following invaluable motifs: you can rise up from any ditch, passion can fuel your escape, and dare to cut off any "rope" holding you back from your unlimited inheritance.
Christopher Nolan's Trilogy
Which is your favorite?
Favorite Iconic Villain?
© 2013 Oswalda Purcell