INFINITY WAR SPOILERS

the heroes represent different power constructs, human or otherwise, and the story is about the ways in which Thanos is able to transcend them.

I see a few levels. First, the gods. The power metaphors.

Thor is a human god, or if you prefer: Jesus. or like, human belief as a concept. Or a super-evolved alien that for all intents and purposes is to us a god, and who loves our world enough to sacrifice himself for it.

Groot is a god of nature, effectively immortal and unstoppable, but ambivalent to everything but the most dramatic of gestures. Thor has to crucify himself just to get Groot’s attention for long enough for him to notice and help with the hammer.

Rocket is a god of science, an animal who literally steals power from the universe for himself, because he can. He’s entranced by his newest friend Thor– the revelation that god-like power is real and attainable.

The gods forged their ultimate weapon, taking the power of the stars themselves, just like Thanos did. In the end, Thor wielded a power that could have killed Thanos even at the very height of his power. He just should have gone for the head.

The second level I see is the demi-gods. The space-humans. I see them all as different metaphors for intelligence.

Iron Man is the industrialist. His moral compass keeps him grounded, though he is still hopelessly addicted to the power that his craft has given him.

Spiderman is his protege, the new generation. he gains all the power of the Iron Man but unlike Stark he’s superhuman even without the suit. But he still needs Iron Man to show him what to do.

Doctor Strange is a man who can change reality. He holds the power of time itself but never uses it except as a tool to see.

Star Lord is the man who believes in love. He’s created his own team in space, a higher plane where gods and mortals can live together and share power.

Their plan was great, and would have defeated Thanos but for Star Lord’s ego, and his failure to understand why Thanos would murder his daughter.

The next level; the heroes of Earth. The philosophies.

Black Panther and his Wakanda represent the concept of place-based identity, ie nations. The people fighting Thanos on Earth only have a chance because he decides to open his borders not just to the heroes, but even to the enemy.

Hulk is the god of money. Bruce Banner represents the impotence of power suffered by cultural elites who are completely failing to get angry enough to use their true power against the enemy.

Steve Rogers is the spirit of the Avengers, freedom, self-improvement, happiness pursuit and what have you. Um… what was his arc again? Oh right it was to be forgiven for slavery, like really early on in the film. But mainly to be the uniting ideal– the branding. He is the man who shows us who the enemy is.

The Winter Soldier is an anarchist I think. At the start of the film he’s welcomed back to the fight and re-armed by Wakanda.

I guess I see the various minorities represented in token Avenger roles. Or did you forget to notice that the space humans were all white men?

The next level: the lovers. The biology of human meaning.

Wanda and Vision are the most powerful of all the Avengers still on Earth, but they spend their time fucking instead of fighting. I see them represent the two faces of human thought: intellect and emotion. Too much of either incapacitates a person.

Wanda would rather be in love than save the world. In a way it’s the sanest decision, but at the same time, it robs her of the will to fight.

Vision sees more meaning in the world than in himself (or his relationship). He is a slave to his concept of extrinsic order, tormented by the nihilistic chaos he perceives all around him.

In the end, Vision attempts to save the world via glorious suicide, and Wanda kills him because he asks her to. And. all. for. nothing. Vision gets resurrected to have his mind ripped out. Nihilism proven. Let’s go back to being animals.

no no no hang on. this is GENDERED. EXPLICITLY GENDERED. pay attention. He’s become a fucking autistic robot in love with his own mind, and she just wants to be in love and attaches herself to the first powerful man that enters her life. they don’t notice that they don’t really notice each other. that their romance simply *became* is no story accident. it’s our story. love just is. dumb stupid love, ruining everything by becoming everything.

Nick Fury, right before he took *way* longer than anyone else to die, signaled perhaps our last hope: Captain Marvel. google it.

let me begin again.

A titan named Thanos has gained the infinity stone of power by commiting a genocide. anyone can be a killer if they believe it is right to kill. Thanos’ belief in himself makes him capable of destroying people for disagreeing with him. transcendence of extrinsic faith is power over one’s own will, which is the foundation of power over reality.

Thanos gains the infinity stone of space by ambushing the gods of Asgard. Because in the end they aren’t really gods, just a higher stage of evolution with more power. Loki recants his nihilism at the last minute to save Thor’s life and gives up the space stone to Thanos. the space stone represents the knowledge that we in fact *are* the centre of the universe: that faith is the foundation of all knowledge.

The Collector holds the stone of reality, representing the knowledge that reality is simply information. once we had collected enough, it was there for the taking.

the soul stone. a power of absolute faith. Thanos believed he was doing the right thing. He transcended his ability to love for the sake of his goal.

the time stone. Doctor Strange said giving it to Thanos was the only way. he saw only one future in which we survive, and judging by his choice, it’s the one where protecting Tony Stark was more important than protecting half the universe. will we ever understand his decision? What was the future that he saw?

Or, was he just in love with Tony?

We will never ever know.

Wanda could have defended the mind stone, if she wasn’t so busy killing Vision at his request. She didn’t seem to notice how strong she was.

And Thor simply failed to kill Thanos for his crimes.

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imagining gender

when we learn that someone else imagines the gender divide differently to us, either we take the side of our own gender, or we give the other gender the benefit of the doubt.

this choice seems to come down to ego: we have a way of calculating our own gender’s worth and a way of calculating the worth of someone else’s gender and people don’t seem to notice that the place it pivots is within our own identity concept.

Unless it’s somehow a massive coincidence that feminists are more likely to be women and most misogynists are more likely to be men?

Some people get off on righteous anger, (a group of people I like to call “the entire human race”) and you can see this emotion come out of a lot of people when they talk about gender issues. we’re all extremely pissed off at the lack of empathy our gender experiences from all the awful angry wrong people on the other side.

if only those people would simply wait until they were *extremely* sure they were right, instead of just mostly sure, that would solve everything.

or, maybe we can show empathy to people even when they’re pissed off and yelling at us the exact thing were yelling at them. maybe figuring out who’s right and who’s wrong isn’t what’s going to solve problems.

an untitled poem

tomorrow will be born a new man
an innocent virgin

who dreamed a very long time
dreams of another man, just like him
who was born, who grew, who learned, who lost, who loved, who cried, who felt ecstatic joys he never thought possible

but that was all a dream
tomorrow he will wake into the world of this dreamed man
he will hope that the man in the dream was kind
to him

fiction

there is truth in absolutely everything if you know how to see it.

what we think of as fiction is just the inner reality of its inventor.

the best fictions are the ones which represent a truth that we recognise.

How?

How do you get what you want?

One day you hear a story about someone just like you, who did {blank}, and got exactly what you want. If the story is to be believed, then if you do {blank} in the same way, you are likely to get what you want.

You want the story to be true because it’s the only story you’ve heard that ends in you getting what you want. The alternative to this story being true is that you don’t have any clue how to get what you want. You wonder whether not following the story as closely as you could might be causing you to lose the thing you want. You resolve to believe in the story as much as you believe in the thing you want.

We all want to believe the story that ends in us getting what we want.

developing nation

because some nations are fully developed and need develop no more. the adult nations. the nations that know better. the nations that oppress people. the nations that enslave people. the nations that kill people. the nations that war. the nations that believe in perfect human freedom– for *their* nation.

Nationalism is a kind of fascism that everyone still seems to believe in. and the powerful nations reeeally don’t see how it could be a bad thing. and of course we all have to listen to the powerful nations. they know better.

I think we can all keep developing.

trusting the government

I’m starting to suspect the people who complain that the government isn’t trustworthy are not actually the same people who keep voting for obviously untrustworthy politicians.

Is there such a thing as national therapy? We need that.

…let me try that again.

Okay so I see a spectrum of engagement with democracy. I see a group of people who notice that the government isn’t trustworthy. I see a group of people voting for untrustworthy politicians. How much are these the same people? Are there people who don’t understand that authorities can be untrustworthy? Are there people who believe that untrustworthy people are still qualified to run their society? Are there people who have lost faith in the idea of public trust and are following another value system like identity politics?

Mainly I see a lot of confusion about what exactly is happening in western democracies. Smart people are refusing to talk to each other because their identity politics puts them at odds.

If identity politics is the thing that people care about now I don’t see why more good people haven’t gotten on board with it yet. Seriously man, OPRAH. WE NEED OPRAH. I AM NOT EVEN FUCKING KIDDING HERE. OPRAH CAN LITERALLY SAVE THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.

Bad people

Dehumanisation doesn’t have to be conscious to be real.

It’s in the scary uncertain situations that our unconscious fear of the other causes us to shoot first and only figure out later whether the danger was real. From a pure survival standpoint it’s completely rational. But that doesn’t mean that our society shouldn’t aspire to be better than that.

No human is born bad. I fully believe that any person is capable of dehumanising others should the right emotional conditioning be applied.

The only way to figure out how to stop bad things from happening is to first understand how that conditioning works; to figure out what influences caused someone to conclude that the pain they’re going to cause is irrelevant compared to getting what they feel like they need.

It’s worth noting at this point: Empathy is not the same thing as agreement. I feel like there are far too many people who fail to see this distinction. I believe in universal empathy. I believe that there is no person who is beyond help. I know that no matter how many times I or anyone else gets hurt, punishing bad people wont fix anything.

Keeping people safe does not require us to dehumanise anyone.