I had the pleasure of seeing the new X-men film yesterday and let me tell you, it’s good. I am not a big fan of comic books (mostly due to lack of opportunity and the need to conform in post-communist society) but I am a comic book film geek (which makes me quite despicable) and as such X-men 3 did wonders for me. I can not compare the film to the original comic books, all I can say is that there is only one thing that was wrong with the new film – and that was pace. The latest in the series (and rumour has it, the last) is much faster, much more hectic than its predecessors. The plot revolves around a mutant cure, the battle between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ mutants, new players in the mutant arena, and the deaths of many old heroes of the X-men world. It may almost seem like the creators tried to include too much material in one film.
The integral philosophical dialogue of X-men is about consciousness, what it means to be human, and whether mutants are human (as the good mutants say), or if they are defective and diseased (as some humans say), or whether they are the next step in human evolution (as Magneto says). This reminded me of an earlier work that I have written on people suffering from mental disorders. In this work I argued that people with mental disorders are perceived as being defective for the simple reason that they are unable to funtion in modern society, which is falsely believed to mean that there is something wrong with them. In this belief system the mainstream person who suffers of no visible defects is normal, as opposed to the minority whose differences make them wrong and defective – not different but defective. I for one do not agree that the majority are always right in their judgements and in the values they set, or that everyone who can not function in modern society is defective. It is clear that modern society is not going to change and will continue to try to change those who do not conform to its rules. We have an issue at hand.
So far we have established that modern society and people suffering from mental disorders don’t mix. Whose fault is it? Who should be corrected – or is there anything to correct? To approach this from the empirical angle I can name numerous scientists, philosophers and other geniuses who suffered from mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder, but did great things for humanity (Descartes, Einstein). In some societies people who ‘see more’ are celebrated and cared for in a different manner so as to create a safe environment for them, while not infringing on anyone’s freedom or personal rights. In the modern Western world psychological problems are viewed as diseases that have to be cured. All I can say is, you know, fuck this. Look at schizophreniacs – in the shamanic tradition schizophrenia is a quite common affliction, but one that is used in order to benefit society. In eastern and western religions, occultism and other traditions, the ‘inner voice’ or ‘the voice of god’ is celebrated. I think that it was Steiner who said that schizophrenics should be viewed as gifted people who could not control their gift and became controlled by it instead.
So is there a conclusion to all this? Well, not really. The only thing that truly scares me is that all signs of uniqueness and individuality are viewed as defects and this trend is becoming more and more popular, the need to conform is being felt by more people today than ever before. Some changes are going to be necessary if we all want to co-exist in a peaceful manner. It is up to you to do your part – not to frown on differences and to accept others without judgement. Think hard whether the values and rules to which you conform are righteous.