Batman Begins – Esoteric Analysis

Batman becomes the dark side.

By: Jay See Also: Batman: The Dark Knight Rises - Esoteric Analysis Batman Begins marks a substantive renewal for the popular franchise. Taking the story in a much more serious direction from the 90s version (replete with Prince flopping around, humping the ground), the new version is much more sophisticated. And, along with being much more sophisticated, it also calls for an esoteric analysis. Just as with Christopher Nolan's Inception I analyzed, so his earlier Batman Begins was modeled along the same lines of Jungian psychoanalysis, mixed with occult and gnostic themes, as well as other prevalent popular conspiracy theories and secret societies, as we will see. The film begins with Bruce Wayne experiencing childhood trauma where he falls down a well, breaks his leg, and is terrified by a sudden battalion of bats. Falling down wells and trips to the underworld are common in Jungian, gnostic and literary exploits. It's an archetypal scheme for both the inner subconscious, as well as the exterior metaphysical realm of the dead. The “underworld” of Homer and Virgil, is also, by association the subconscious from which our dreams arise, manifesting archetypal patterns. Bruce Wayne's falling down the well is also a window into his unconscious mind, just as are the several layers of dreams in Cobb's subconscious in Inception. Childhood traumas and fixations are often formed from this stage in development, as both Freud and Jung noted, and this is precisely where Bruce Wayne experiences the defining moment of his future existence—he will eventually become the thing he fears—the dark and the demonic. Now that may sound strange, given that Batman is a good guy, and the Joker and others villains, but once one understands the pagan and gnostic scheme of reality, these words end up purely relative denominators. “Good” as an actual, absolute category is non-existent in this relativistic scheme. This is why Bruce Wayne's journey will be to become his “higher self,” the alter ego “Batman.” Batman is the embodiment of Bruce Wayne's “shade” or shadow self, his dark side incarnate. Batman is not bound by laws, but is instead a Nietzschian vigilante overman, beyond good and evil: rex lex. Since the normative social structure of Gotham City is corrupt, Batman is a law unto himself. This is why Bruce is the billionaire capitalist: he is the representation of elite capital, but which also provides Gotham its vast social programs and welfare system, as well as public transportation, etc. This is yet another hint at the actual system that runs the real world—it is controlled by those at the top who are neither capitalist nor socialist. They are elitist, and who (in their minds) transcend dialectics. The Cold War, for example, was a closely steered conflict that allowed a vast intelligence and surveillance grid to be established under the auspices of nuclear threat. Now, our threats are repackaged as environmentalism and the “global war on terror.” Bruce Wayne thus embodies the “third way” which is where we are headed—a global corporate financial system that is the synthesis of communism and capitalism, under the guise of world “democracy.”

This is also why Bruce Wayne has as his right hand man the sage archetype, “Lucius” (played by Morgan Freeman), who functions as a representation of the vast intelligence/military industrial complex apparatus. Due to Bruce’s billionaire status, he is able to obtain any technology or weapon needed, especially since Wayne Enterprises is who builds it. As with all ages, a cultures art mirrors reality, and modern cinema is far more of a mirror of reality than 99% of the viewing audience realizes, as I (and others) argue at length on my blog.

And, it goes without saying, that “Lucius” brings to mind “Lucifer,” the fallen angel from Isaiah 14 who is cast down from heaven, seeking to exalt his throne above God, under the image of the King of Tyre. “Lucifer” also means the light-bearer and morning star, and so it makes sense that the sage archetype would be the character that molds, shapes and grants Batman his technological “powers.” Recall, of course, that Batman does not have any superpowers. He is merely a technologically empowered elite, and that is again much closer to the real world system than anything else presented in comic books. Batman, then, is unique in that his “power” is technological wizardry from Lucius/Lucifer.

Back to the film: “Ducard” (Liam Neeson) appears early on and represents the criminal underworld and ends up recruiting Wayne in Tibet, who had gone on an extended road trip to find truth, divesting himself from the upper echelon existence he had been raised with. “Ducard” eventually recruits Wayne for his secret society, the League of Shadows, which appears to have some affiliation with Buddhism, at least exoterically. After learning the arts of the ninja, as well as enduring other feats of physical endurance, Wayne undergoes a hallucinogenic initiation where he “travels inward” and confronts his “bat demon” (his shade), shall we say. Notably, this occurs after he climbs a mountain to obtain a rare blue flower from which the powerful hallucinogen is drawn.

This is interesting, inasmuch as many esoteric secret societies do utilize drugs as a path to obtaining esoteric knowledge. It is also interesting that the League of Shadows seems to be based in the mountains of Tibet, and appears as a composite of a number of actual occult orders. Borrowing from the notorious Helena Blavatsky and her Theosophical sect and it’s Tibetan “Great White Brotherhood” of ascended masters, as well as Satanist Aleister Crowley’s groups, and possibly even the Nazi esoteric philosophies of those like Himmler, who also obsessed over Tibetan myths. As with Nazi ideology, the focus of the League of Shadow’s doctrines is the triumph of will. “Will is everything,” Ducard hammers home to Wayne. It also appears to borrow elements of masonic initiation, as Ducard asks Wayne, “What do you seek?” To which the masonic initiate responds, “Light.”

Ducard is Ra’s al Ghul, “head” of the dark side.

After participating in the criminal underworld to come to know the dark side, Wayne is told that he must exercise judgment and kill a guilty man before the “Ra’s al Ghul,” the League’s current head. Ducard explains that the League has existed for aeons, steering the fates of civilizations until they become too decadent and must be destroyed. When they are destroyed, Ducard explains, it “restores balance.” This, of course, is the classical dualism fallacy that pervades all of Eastern thought, and its western offshoot, gnosticism. In this scheme, good and evil are, again, relative, and actually flip sides of the same coin.

This is why two-face plays a prominent role in the sequel, Batman: Dark Knight. At the end of that film, we learn that Batman and the Joker “need each other.” God needs the devil, you see. To the masses, of course, this unfortunately appears to be wisdom, but upon a few minutes reflection is nothing but contradictory nonsense. If good and evil are flip sides of the same coin, there is no good or evil, and thus the idea of “restoring balance” (assumed to be a good!) is completely useless and contradictory. Further, no one could ever know the “balance” without some sense of standards by which to adjudge excess and balance. While this is painfully obvious, most humans don’t and can’t reason this out.

Another interesting thing Wayne learns from Ducard is the power of the dramatic—the theatrical. This will be the reason Wayne creates the Kevlar bat costume—to make himself into a myth. To hype himself up as a threat, far more than he actually is. This also is relevant to the way the present world system’s control grid operates. The “elites” are, in fact, a miniscule minority to the rest of the population. They consist of a few thousand “superclass” as David Rothkopf explains. However, while they do wield much power and command armies, the globalists are also propped up by a vast mass media and entertainment complex that are avidly involved in the promotion and popularity of “conspiracy” literature and topics. “Full spectrum dominance,” the best description of the modus oprandi of the global powers, crucially employs the talents of the top psychological warfare and social engineering experts.

The largest part of warfare is psychological, in fact, and Bruce Wayne embodies this with his flair for the dramatic that is later used upon Gotham’s criminal syndicates. However, once Wayne learns that the League of Shadows has determined that Gotham is too corrupt and must be destroyed, he backs out. The teachings of the League are too much for him, and constitute a violation of the principles he was taught exoterically. This, too, is common fare amongst secret societies, who have a farcical, watered down teaching given to the “profane” outsiders and neophytes. Bruce ends up destroying the Leagues monastery headquarters, and saved Ducard’s life, but abandons him and returns to Gotham after years of absence. Ducard follows Wayne to Gotham and shows up to destroy stately Wayne Manor, which signifies the death of “Bruce Wayne” with his fears and hangups.

To make a long story short, it turns out the League of Shadows is drugging the water of Gotham City, and is planning on using stolen Wayne Enterprises’ technology to wage an airborne chemical warfare assault on Gotham. The chemical turns out to derive from the flower that Wayne obtained for Ducard, who, it turns out, is not the League’s spokesman, but instead its actual “Ra’s al Ghul.” Interesting that it is possessive, possibly signifying the representative of the Egyptian sun-god, Ra, bringing to light further esoteric associations. Wikipedia states that he is named after a star that means “demon’s head.” Wayne, having now “owned” his dark side/alter ego, “Batman,” has newfound power and is unstoppable. He has now mastered the dark and light side, and is a law unto himself, we are to believe.

It is also relevant to consider that the drugging of the water supply, an old Soviet and Nazi tactic, is, in fact, still practiced today, as much of the United States’ water supply is purposefully drugged in order to chemically attack the masses, reducing Iqs and causing sterilization. See this video.  Psychoactive drugs have also been proposed for addition to water supplies, as well as actual antidepressants, rocket fuel and radiation, turning up in samples. Drugs are also being sprayed in geo-engineering and “chemtrail” programs. For the League of Shadows, the purpose is mass insanity directed towards an engineered social collapse. Again, art mirrors reality. The hallucinogen mind control chemical is developed by “Scarecrow” (Cillian Murphy), who is a doctor specializing in mental health and brainwashing. Scarecrow represents the pharmaceutical complex which works in tandem with the military industrial complex to engineer and control society. The Scarecrow character brings to mind the famed MKULTRA program which did experiment with various methods, including drugs, to solve and control the human mind.

The film ends with Batman victorious, and Wayne Manor destroyed. Batman tells his love Rachel that she can join him now, but she knows it cannot work, and tells him that Bruce Wayne is now the mask for Batman—his real identity. All in all, the film is excellent, but the message, though containing many truths about how the world really works, being run by a shadow government, presents a false solution. Instead of looking to a personal, absolute God, the solution presented is to “go within” and become a gnostic, having imbibed a heavy dose of the dark side. Once you’ve been really evil for a long time, you’ll be balanced inside, and your inner demon will come out and control you. The old you must die, as in many occult rituals, and the new, higher self must be “set free,” and is bizarrely also an inner demon. The world really is run like the film presents, but the solution to the world’s problems is not some inward retreat into contradictory, nonsensical eastern philosophies or occultism. As it turns out, Batman’s philosophy isn’t any different from Ra’s al Ghul’s. We may just ask why is it that we are supposed to become evil to become good, if these terms are purely subjective descriptors of inner psychological states, and all things are relative? If this is the case, then we don’t need Batman to defend justice.

15 Comments on Batman Begins – Esoteric Analysis

  1. Wow! Terrific article, Jay! Bravo! Though, as far as I remember Cillian Murphy’s character was named “Scarecrow”, not Sandman.

  2. Interesting analysis. Sorry, I can’t seem to find my Dark Knight article amongst any of my old files. It probably would have been a good companion piece to your review.

    Though unexplored in the film, in the comic book Ra’s al Ghul is a Malthusian Environmentalist, determined to destroy the majority of humanity to restore a supposed balance to nature.

    Wonder what the 3rd movie will be like. I hear it’s Anne Hathaway as Cat-Woman.

    On a largely unrelated note, I thought you might be interested in this: You’ve probably never seen Canadian MTV as it’s terrible, confined to Canada and only started a few years ago. Basically it’s as bad, or perhaps even worse, than it’s U.S progenitor but what’s really interesting is where it’s headquartered.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masonic_Temple_(Toronto)
    I usually avoid watching this awful network but when flipping through the channels, I came across a show on MTV Canada and was surprised to see the Masonic square and compass emblazed on the studio walls. Later a friend, who had lived in Toronto and knew someone who worked at MTV, explained to me that the studio was located within a former Masonic Temple. He told me he got to do a grand tour of the place and they showed him a room that, as he put it, looked like something out of “Eyes Wide Shut.”

    Speaking of Eyes Wide Shut, have you seen your neighbour Nicole Kidman around town? If memory serves me correct she was in one of the 90’s Bat-Man movies (there, I actually managed to go full circle, back to the original topic of the article.)

  3. Hi,

    I’ve been reading your analyses for a while now, like them and mostly agree, but feel the need to point out one thing. In many cases you write about good and evil when in fact you should be writing about social conventions of good and evil.

    I agree with you, there is good and evil, very few would disagree with that. The issue is your inerpretation of philosophical and mythical conseptualisations of good and evil. You often see things as criticisim or repudiation of existence of good and evil, I don’t think that’s the case. In many cases (Nietzsche for example) what is criticised is the way people tend to take good and evil as a given, dictated by someone outside of themselves, such as society, their parents, the government or the church. Same thing with gnosticism. In my view gnostics are proponents of self kowledge and self reliance, which does not require you to be evil or turn you to it.

    There is good and evil, and going inside means deciding yourself what is good and what is evil. And you don’t have to exclude God from this equation either, maybe God is consciense, who knows.

    • Miika,

      Thanks for your comments. I have read Nietzsche, and I understand where you are coming from, but I do think that good and evil are external absolute realities, and so that is the viewpoint I take. I think this because, if one makes them purely subjective and internal, one ends up with a purely relativistic scheme, which, philosophically, ends in absurdity.

      Jay

  4. Wow, cool story bro. I once tried to make my way into the underworld to extrapolate my shadow but then I took an arrow to the knee.

  5. But Batman isn’t “balanced inside” and nor is he “set free” just by merely accessing, controlling, and becoming his dark side, and I don’t think this is even implied in the movie nor especially its sequel as in ‘The Dark Knight’ he will soon come to clumsily (and controversially) stumble around grappling with how to understand and effectively deal with his next moral crisis: the Joker. What kind of genuine “balance” and being “set free” is it if his new-found power from his dark side doesn’t come with the wisdom to better understand and deal with people like the Joker? People who are whole and absolute within don’t get caught up in these hang-ups like how the Batman still is.

    Bullshit.

    Batman isn’t “balanced” and nor is he “free” going well into the events of ‘The Dark Knight.’ He may have learned to effectively co-opt and leverage his dark-side in order to better face-pummel Gotham’s criminality (including with it the Joker) to the ground, a kind of a mind-body inwardly-focused “full-spectrum dominance” at the level of the self, but so what? Batman is still a fool in hyper-focusing on eradicating crime and corruption once and for all, despite his own supposed soul-searching and will-to-power. Crime and corruption are much bigger and more complex social phenomena than the mere individuals perpetrating them; without this wisdom, Batman is only going to end up corrupting and stressing out the very mind-body/light-dark balance and sense of purpose that he has but which he also sought after in the first movie. When this happens, his sense of “balance” and “freedom” will break and he will be back in his dignified position where he was in the beginning of the first movie: most likely in a Chinese political prison playing endless fisty-cuffs with hoodlums and ruffians in the mud. Now this is most definitely an absolute-objective evil I would say.

    But what if Batman truly learned better and studied from the implications of his fleeting and shallow balance and freedom? He may just have an epiphany and realize that crime and “legitimate” society are more intertwined and reflective of each other than even he would care to see. With this greater knowledge he could go and truly fight the root evils of society (which in my opinion are capitalism and state socialism) and not just suppress its symptoms. He could advocate a non-violent non-cooperative movement approach like Gandhi and King that would better retain his sense of mind-body balance. Since it was his father, Thomas Wayne, who’s own will was to marry capitalism and socialism into an ultimately flawed and unholy union in order to stabilize the economic depression, then it would be fitting for Bruce, the legacy, to revisit and revolutionize this formulation. A kind of an old father-son conflict rehash. But this time, Bruce could give absolution and final redemption to his father in finally creating what his father should have focused on in the first place: libertarian socialism, the only way forward for humanity’s absolution and redemption, with this being most definitely the absolute-objective good, too.

  6. Like Jung once said, progress is not made by worshipping a hypotetical ray of Light, but rather by uncovering and controlling your very own Darkness. The movie pictures this, and this way of growth has been proclaimed in every true spiritual traditions of all ages. Peace.

  7. Great analysis! Thanks for the article!

  8. Great article. Just re-watched this film, and wow how much more did I get out of it compared to 10 years ago.

    Scarecrow may be kind of a pharmaceutical-complex / CIA character rolled into one. You have mentioned hallucinogenic experiments and MK-Ultra. CIA’s involvement in the drug trade may also have to do with macroeconomics. Drug money increases the overall cash flow which lubricates the economy. Arguably, without this cash-heavy industry, Gotham’s (America’s) economy would collapse.

    Cash is also called currency, and so metaphorically the plot has to do with the dispensation of the lethal agent through the water supply, the current running through the pipes. Drug money being “laundered” quite literally. That the dollar sign is analogous to the medical Caduceus (or rod of Asclepius), and that snakes are in archetypal language often associated with water, is another interesting synchronicity (?)

    in astrology Ra’s al Ghul is Algol, or the head of Medusa. Algology being the study of pain. “Med”-usa also conjures snakes and medicine.

  9. Yxm, a point you might find interesting.
    The name of the star Algol is al-Ghul in Arabic: the language from which the star was named. Algol is a Latinization of al-Ghul (you can also transliterate it as al-Ghoul or el-Ghoul or el-Ghul – English/Latin phonetics only approximates the original Arabic phonemes.

    You could consider the Ghul or Ghoul to be a demon of sorts, it’s a malevolent Jinn/Djinn/Genie in Arabic mythology, who is known for eating living humans and the dead. The Ghoul is actually the source of the modern “Zombie apocalypse” genre. The filmmaker who made the original Night of the Living Dead explicitly intended his undead flesh-eaters to be Ghouls, and even stated this in interviews. What happened was the Argento brothers (Uncle and Father to the actress Asia Argento of European quasi-pornographic artistic cult-movie fame) purchased European distribution rights to Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, one of the Argentos decided to rename in “Zombi”

    Prior to this the Zombie, from Haitian/Creole voodoo mythology, was a quite different type of undead being. They were slaves of sorcerers and roots-doctors, basically Gollems of sorts. Argento but re-naming the creatures in Night of the Living Dead severed their link with Arabic-Islamic mythology and essentially also severed the Afro-Caribbean linkage to the Zombie, and produced the multi-billion dollar horror genre we see today.

    But in doing so cut both the Ghoul and the Zombie from the original cultural and mythic contexts from whence they came. I’d be interested in Jay’s reflection on that…

  10. Wow…. Really enjoying your site, love reading up about all things illuminati/esoteric and it’s great to find your site as your views are really well researched and balanced. You probably know this already but Wayne Towers acually Mentmore Towers, a Rothschild built mansion about 5 miles from my house. Eyes Wide Shut also filmed there!

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentmore_Towers

    Many thanks Jay, your newest convert! L

  11. in weird ways, there are lots of elements of the batman trilogy drawn from the life of jesus in the gospels. it’s easier to work from the last to this movie, which fits less well in this schema. In the Bane movie, Batman is dead at the beginning. He’s in Hades. This is shown more explicitly when he’s in the prison, The Pit, and satan figure, Bane has taken over. Batman (Wayne actually) resurrects by doing more push-ups, angered by what’s on the Teevee (Bane has CNN piped into the Pit?) comes back and kicks harder ass this time. He also gets the real Virgin, the one w/the clean slate. Happy marriage, integration of male/female, end of story, Christ & His Bride.

    Why is he “dead” when the 3rd movie begins? B/c he has become The Scapegoat at the end of the 2nd movie, as head cop Gordon says. It’s the devil figure here, the joker, who, a la the tempation in the wilderness, says, you need me, i complete you, etc. “i saw what i’d have to become to defeat men like him,” batman says at one point. The 3rd movie begins on “Black Saturday”; this movie ends on “Good Friday”.

    The 1st movie, is the Incarnation, the coming of the Son into the world. This movie fits my schema the weakest, but bruce wayne goes & lives among “the sinners”, the criminals, rejecting the glory of the father. This movie & and the 2nd up to the end are also “the ministry of jesus” b/n birth & death. Batman even offers his own interpretation of the command to love your enemies in his killing of Liam Neeson.

    this does not necessarily contradict any of your analysis above. Nolan has a mishmash of things going on here, no doubt partly arising from trying to elucidate complex social phenomena thru the prism of individualistic superhero bullshit. When the Joker says in the 2nd movie to batman, we are the same person, he’s more right than not. The movies try to gloss this over (why can’t Batman use guns again? he kidnaps people, employs “noble lies,” basically tortures the joker, uses a panopticon device but only for good, etc., etc.) but the joker’s right.

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