This long holiday break saw me renting four films that were all linked on a superficial level by the code of warriors and/or thieves.
"Letters of Iwo Jima"
"The Wild Bunch"
Yes all very macho, violent, action filled, blood and guts. I watched alone so I chose what I wanted.
In all of them the characters were morally ambiguous. They all killed for various motivations, but they maintained a code of honor, integrity, and discipline which were shaped by a life of extreme violence and circumstances.
When speaking with a friend about these codes, and the often sexist and racist settings in which the stories took place, I asked if artistically should filmmakers sugar coat the past in fiction in order to present not so sexist, racist and stereotypical images. They responded immediately with" "Of course they should, it would make their audience much bigger and the main point of making movies is to entertain and make a lot of money." I was asking if it was artistically or morally correct to change history in a work of fiction for a greater good. Needless to say, said friend works for a major multinational media monster which often dishonors historical facts for a cheesy love story.
They presented the capitalist motto: Profits at any cost.
In the context of the the broader conversation the codes of warriors and thieves seem to be a better alternative than today's psychopathic capitalism.
The samurai, the soldiers, and the former members of military branches turned thieves and shady businessmen, were ruthless and brutal, but they had rules. Most of the rules were to protect themselves, but at the same time served as a stop to potentially greater violence, loss of life and money. There was a limit.
We need honor, integrity and discipline to come back into mode. These give us limits.
Right now we can look around and see that our leaders were never in any situation that helped shape their honor, integrity or discipline, so they act without restriction or any real remorse. Moral compasses are twisted so that, multi million dollar homes that were burned are visited for photo opportunities, but entire bays that are environmental catastrophes are treated as every day accidents. Overeating contests and $1,500 desserts get 5 minutes of media coverage, while drought conditions are ignored until it is time to institute water police, which contribute to the police state/union.
I gotta pull out my old Carlos Castaneda books and re-read the parts of being an impeccable warrior. I know I need to work on my honor, integrity and discipline, because I have not seen many examples of that in a long time... except in bloody morally ambiguous films.