I'm grateful you're reading this. Hey, I'm Vishal and I like doing a lot of things. Reading is cool, writing is hot, football is the greatest sport, the gym is fun, hustle is great, and coding seems interesting. The future of technology excites me, hell, the future itself is exciting. Why? Opportunities, man. It's everywhere. My IG: @_vizzz_

Imagine your city dies out of starvation. Try to meditate on that a bit. In that place, everybody you loved, everybody you knew and everybody you ever heard of, no more. Adding salt to your wounds, you knew this was certain, and a possible solution that would’ve probably saved the fate of at least some of your people was on your mind too. Nevertheless, your own people reject your idea by calling you mad and insane. You escape with some of your friends who agree with you, however, your world is no more. So, what do you do next? You hope no one else has the same fate your world had. Welcome to the World of Thanos.

Everybody likes to be the hero. Thanos, the man who murdered half of life in the universe (at least for now) believes he’s a hero or at least a martyr. He thinks he’s saving half of life by killing the other fifty-percent because according to his theory, the alternative is much worse resulting in the death of all life in the universe. His diabolical yet good-hearted idea was rejected by his own people. When I came out of the theatre, I didn’t walk-out thinking Thanos was demonic or evil. He was neither resentful nor vengeful. He didn’t hate humanity. Moreover, it was the contrary. He loved humanity, and life itself. The latter, a bit more. He probably liked the way birds sang, the way children laughed, the way men fought for what’s right, and he knew how to love.

When there’s no other way, if it meant for you to sacrifice half of life to at least save the other, wouldn’t you do it too? I thought I definitely would. However, this is where it gets complex. A variety of his actions were absolutely reprehensible and downright unethical. Most of all, killing Gamora. I think that was the most profound scene in the whole movie and I believe most people would’ve felt it too.

Would you kill your own daughter(or somebody else, whom you love the most) if it meant that you’re saving the universe? This question tore me apart because we had a similar scenario on our planet not too long ago.

An Ordinary Man in Nazi Germany

It was during the Second World War in Nazi Germany. Ha! It was all Hitler’s fault! It turns out it wasn’t. It’s much worse.

Nazi Germany was one of the most educated countries and had the best educational institutions the world offered. So, the people of Nazi Germany weren’t illiterates nor unaware of their wicked actions. They weren’t trolls. Almost all the horrific acts were carried out by ‘Ordinary’ men and women, like you and me. The differences between someone reading this and them is simply trivial. So, what could make a normal person, such as you or anybody around you, shoot naked pregnant women in the open fields? It’s a tough question but more than that, it is a rough one. The answer seems to be usually a variant of the below.

If you protest to what the Führer says, you die. Not just you, but also your whole family or anybody close to you (This was also a threat in Communist Russia, by the way). In this scenario, the deed wasn’t done by fellow ordinary men but by absolute, brute monsters who genuinely liked their job. If you can imagine a little bit, they never just killed anybody. Their psyche was equipped with precision to cause the utmost suffering a human being can endure both physically and mentally.  They had the ability and the will to create your worst nightmare. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. The other reason why some people didn’t want to leave their post though they had the option was that they were unwilling to leave their friends alone. Yup, that happened.

The alternative to this was, killing the Jews and going home at the end of the day.

“I fear that we live in a world in which war and racism are ubiquitous, in which the powers of government mobilization and legitimization are powerful and increasing, in which a sense of personal responsibility is increasingly attenuated by specialization and bureaucratization, and in which the peer group exerts tremendous pressures on behavior and sets moral norms. In such a world, I fear, modern governments that wish to commit mass murder will seldom fail in their efforts for being unable to induce “ordinary men” to become their “willing executioners.“- Christopher Browning, writer of ‘Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101’

Now, looking at these odds, it isn’t too obvious that a person in this turmoil would choose to save the life of a random 15-year-old Jewish girl named Anne Frank. Not surprisingly, an overwhelming majority, almost all of the population complied (by complied I mean, to not protest by action, and choose what is expedient) with the Führer’s ideas. This might surprise you but the odds are in favour of you being a perpetrator instead of the hero if you were a citizen of Nazi Germany, considering 99% of the German population were unwilling to act against the Führer though they didn’t like him at all. 

One probable cause of this would be because of a lack of objective/universal moral truths instead of relative moral truths. A universal moral truth would be – you don’t kill people unjustly no matter what, and you kill only when they voluntarily point a gun at you. A relative moral truth would be what happened in Germany – They threaten me, therefore, I shoot to save myself and the people around me. If everybody had picked the universal moral truth road, history would’ve been different in Germany. Men like Hitler would’ve had no chance of corrupting the people. So, how do you know what is a universal moral truth and how many are there? We’ll try talking about that, no one really knows the answer to those questions but in some sense, it is intrinsic and is known by every human being. It’s in your conscience as long as you don’t do enough things against its will.  

This is partly why I think we need to know who the ideal person is. To know how to act when existence itself goes against you and face it with your shoulders back and back straight.

So, what would an Ideal Person do in such perplexing situations? It’s tough to answer for a wide-range of reasons. But, then again, that’s why we have movies and books. Down below, I’ve picked a character who could help figure out the characteristics that could comprise an ideal person.

Maximus Decimus Meridius 

No, those are not three people. I’d 10/10 recommend anybody to watch the movie, Gladiator. I don’t think people love this movie for the VFX or the great battle scenes, they love it because of the man Maximus is. Maximus in Gladiator (2000),  is arguably the most ideal character to have been portrayed in the theatres. Maximus is a Roman,  the Commander of the Armies of the North and the General of the Felix Legions. Let’s break his characteristics down.

1. Competence:

You cannot help but respect a person who’s exceptionally good at something even if that person has other parts of their life in entanglement (reminds me of Dr. House). Maximus is exceptional at his job. You can tell that he’s been working his back off since he was a youngster by just watching him slay the barbarians, definitely high on conscientiousness. He’s the kind of general that goes to the frontline with his men.  Maximus’ men irrevocably respect him for this. At one point in the story, Maximus loses everything he had, except himself. Among other traits, his skills play a pivotal role in reaching his goals. High-level of competence helps a person to get into chaos with less neuroticism and a higher probability of success.  

Morality becomes virtue-signaling if this trait is lacking completely.

32693334_1898984053505411_963624132455432192_n
The Emperor hopes to redeem Rome by passing on his position to Maximus instead of his own tyrannical son. 

 

32470971_1898983720172111_3732548423874772992_n
Marcus Aurelius dies and his psychopathic son, Commodus takes his place. Commodus then decides to annihilate Maximus as he is resentful for the man Maximus is. However, the chain of events takes a gripping turn.

2. Ideals:

This is what makes Maximus so remarkable. Maximus’ belief system comprises of a wide range of elements. The central characters in it seem to be his kingdom, family, and his ancestors who’d built his world. Whatever he does revolves around them. Moreover, they are that which keeps him alive and helps him go through hell. Remember when we talked about universal moral truths? Those truths are at work based on these ideals. However, if he was deceived by his forefathers by guiding him into believing in the wrong ideas, he would’ve messed up big time. Luckily, he isn’t misguided like the folks in the middle-east. Most of what he believes are of great utility for not only himself but also for everybody around him.

32721353_1898987296838420_5672162195983564800_n
Enough said. But, I’d expand on the last photo. What it means is probably the dreams that were once in Rome. The idea of the republic, peace and other principles that’d made Rome great. The memory of his ancestors exist in those beliefs and Maximus would die for them.

 

32737084_1898984223505394_8074982147946971136_n
After serving in the army for almost a year, he feels he should get back to his home to get back in touch with family. He had another option to become a politician.
32652405_1898984013505415_1260949913605242880_n

This is Maximus showing his devotion to Rome. Though the future of Rome looks dim with the possibility of having an ambitious and immoral emperor – Commodus, he still focuses on his country alone. 

3. Empathy:

I’m sure even if Maximus was misguided he still would have done what’s right because of this trait that he so tremendously has. Maximus understands the minds of the people with him, and against him. He doesn’t like to kill but considers the ability to do it absolutely necessary (coming back to competence). He forgives the ones who betray him and has colossal (pun intended) respect for his opponents. How does he have this trait? It’s easy, he truthfully puts himself in their shoes. He doesn’t do anything that which he wouldn’t want someone else do to him as long as that person does not hurt his ideals. That’s why he takes the sword only when the barbarians are at his gates.

Since he seems to get into chaotic affairs frequently and comes out successfully, he always comes out with profound knowledge. Thereby, it’s not easy to fool him. It would’ve been impossible to convince to kill his countrymen based on their race (what happened in Germany).

32367239_1898984310172052_6149920652749963264_n
In this scene, the Romans go for battle against the last front of the barbarians. Even though defeat seems evident to the barbarians, they still refuse to give up. Quintus then mocks their stupidity whereas Maximus looks deeper.

 

32587420_1898984606838689_3084974184359526400_n
Quintus who was under Maximus in the Felix Legions betrayed Maximus in obedience to the new tyrannical emperor. He gives a quasi-apology in this scene, and  Maximus replies by quoting Marcus Aurelius indicating that Quintus had a choice. It’s interesting to note that Maximus doesn’t show any contempt towards him.

4. Faith:

He sacrifices the present for the future and it seems as though the nature of existence favours this kind of a man.  I think this is deeply difficult because it is always easy to choose what is expedient as we saw what happened in Nazi Germany among the common people. However, it is in these moments where Maximus’ principles get the best of him. He lives according to his ideals and lets the consequences follow with the assumption that it’s the best that the future could give at that point of time. Call it irrational and you’d be right. That’s why I kept this for the end. A suicide bomber in Syria could believe that blowing up Americans is the only way to save his people. This is first of all, rare. Most human beings aren’t as misguided and if they genuinely do the things which they want others do to them without the expectation of others returning them back the favour, they seem to go straight to the top of the pyramid.

32723683_1898984510172032_5805296759001317376_n
Here, Maximus acknowledges the fear of death. He does not question its existence in his mind. However, unlike Commodus who was afraid of being a warrior all his life, he chooses to embrace it.

 

This is Commodus describing the horrific death of Maximus’ family. Maximus is surrounded by Commodus’ men at the Colosseum. I think this is the most important scene of the movie because if Maximus had lost his cool in at this point, Rome would’ve been in ruins. He instead chooses to wait and hopes for the best opportunity where he can kill the tyrannical ruler and redeem Rome.

 

Imitating these characteristics of Maximus seem to be vital towards creating a meaningful life for not only yourself but a lot of other people around you. It’s all-around good. Do whatever you want, but always get your ‘why’ strong enough so that you never think about giving up, this is what I learned from Maximus.

Maximus never considered himself ideal, by the way.

Bottom Line:

You don’t push your daughter off a cliff even if it meant you’re saving the universe. You don’t kill half of life too. Thanos should’ve tried harder to look for alternatives to solve this problem. By the way, why didn’t Tony Stark and his team try debating him first? XD.


The ideal person is quite difficult to articulate. The plan was to publish this about a week ago but no matter what I’d written about him, I never felt content. This is the best I could do for now and if you’re further interested in this topic, there are great books related to this. Just google it.

The amazing video that inspired me to write about Maximus: https://youtu.be/u-LsLd4RP5g

Feel free to comment, and if you really liked it, we’d be grateful if you shared us on any social media platform. Much love.  🙂


 

Comments

  1. Mind blowing bro!!
    It’s epic and getting better and better than the last blog!
    Good luck and rock on!!!

  2. Mind blowing bro!!
    It’s epic and getting better and better than the last blog!
    Good luck and rock on!!!

Leave a Reply to Thej Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *