I love reading biographies and autobiographies.
Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Jack Lalanne, Bruce Lee, the Dalai Lama and others are dudes I really admire.
Not so much for their heroics and their achievements, which are well known and certainly impressive.
No, the reasons I admire these dudes more than anything is for their humility and radical honesty.
In a world of criticism and constant judgement, guys like Martin Luther King, Bruce Lee or old Tenzin Gyatso (the Dalai Lama) had the kind of honesty and integrity you just can’t fake. They were not afraid to stand up for what they believed in, and openly challenged their critics and those who would seek to take them down a notch or two.
Reading autobiographies and personal memoirs makes these titans, these demi-gods who seem so impossibly high on the mountain of Olympus with their incredible achievements of self-actualization, generosity, kindness and social reform seem more human and relateable.
When I read about some of Gandhi or Bruce Lee’s bad habits and think “yeah, I’ve done that too”, it makes them so much more human and ordinary.
Those flaws and quirks are also one of the things I love about Batman. He’s more human than other superheroes in my eyes, despite being awesome at practically everything.
Batman is arrogant, brash and at times obnoxious, but he is also humble and honest. He owns his flaws.
You can say the same of Bruce, Mohandas, Jack, Tenzin or Martin.
You can talk trash about somebody, and try to cut them down – but when they are their own worst critic, and have already openly talked about their worst faults, flaws and character traits, what could you hope to accomplish by cutting down such a character?
Batman is the same. On the one hand, he don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks. He is immune to criticism – be it malicious or well intentioned – Batman’s mind, his thoughts, his self-perception is his own domain, not to be polluted with the stinking thinking of those who feel the often unconscious need to judge others.
Batman is his own man, and lives on his own terms, basically answering to nobody. But along with that he is also humble and he never forgets where he came from, and he never forgets to give back to the community. He’s no saint, he’s got problems no doubt, but ever day he gets up and faces whatever challenges come his way.
Batman lives by his own internal principles and values, and at times he is like a rock that can not be moved, such is his iron will.
The world keeps on spinning, and no matter what is popular, or how society changes, the values Batman lives by do not change.
He is brave and tough and ferocious, but he is also humble and yes, even kind when he wants to be.