The first quote on my list plays on how society’s structure and organisation gives citizens a false sense of security. It comes from the voice of an antagonist who considers himself a ‘better class of criminal’ because he does not desire something logical like money. Because the principles of his philosophy are transferable, the audience can’t help but listen to him with morbid curiosity.
5. The Joker played by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008)
”You know what I’ve noticed? Nobody panics when things go “according to plan.” Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it’s all “part of the plan”. But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds! Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I’m an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It’s fair.”
The next quote is similar to the last in the respect that structures of society has rendered mankind morally lazy. It raises the question of whether our goals are based in reality and are we living our limited time on earth to the full.
4. Tyler Durden played by Brad Pitt in Fight Club (1999)
”God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”
Now for the one quote in the list that comes from a novel, though it was adapted to the big screen. The quote did not actually feature in the movie version, but either way sums up the protagonists enduring worthlessness perfectly. It reminds me of the lessons we learn at school about the interdependence of mankind, but our man here raises a very good point about the limits of human interaction.
3. Patrick Batemen written by Bret Easton Ellis in the novel American Psycho (1991)
”I stare into a thin, web-like crack above the urinal’s handle and think to myself that if I were to disappear into that crack, say somehow miniaturize and slip into it, the odds are good that no one would notice I was gone. No… one… would… care. In fact some, if they noticed my absence, might feel an odd, indefinable sense of relief. This is true: the world is better off with some people gone. Our lives are not all interconnected. That theory is crock. Some people truly do not need to be here.”
Up next, another allusion to society locking us in to restrict our free will. It is from a discussion about the hatred directed at people who are free from human limitation by those who most like to think of themselves as free.
2. George Hanson played by Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider (1969).
”But talkin’ about it (freedom) and bein’ it, that’s two different things. I mean, it’s real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don’t ever tell anybody that they’re not free, ’cause then they’re gonna get real busy killin’ and maimin’ to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they’re gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it’s gonna scare ’em. (… ) It makes ’em dangerous.”
The final quote is a harrowing account of a memory. It draws on the concept of the human will and how it effectively exists independently of the concepts of right and wrong. At some point in all our lives we are faced with the decision whether or not to do what it takes to get a certain result.
1. Colonel Kurtz played by Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now (1979).
”I remember when I was with Special Forces… seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate some children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn’t see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember… I… I… I cried, I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out; I didn’t know what I wanted to do! And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it… I never want to forget. And then I realized… like I was shot… like I was shot with a diamond… a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, my God… the genius of that! The genius! The will to do that! Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we, because they could stand that these were not monsters, these were men… trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love… but they had the strength… the strength… to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, our troubles here would be over very quickly. ”