This Is Not The End! (Reflection)

I have learned through the capstone process that I tend to learn more from videos where I can hear them speaking about the subject and therefore teaching me what is happening. I learned that when reading I tend to get unfocused and that I have to read it multiple times. I also found out that once I learn something, I should probably write it down; otherwise I’ll forget it and that would be quite troubling. I have gained the knowledge of the workings behind the brain, I know now that procrastination is not very good and that I’m a slow worker, usually because I like to make things perfect and when I rush I make a lot of mistakes. So I will use this information for when I am working on bigger projects next year for school and for college and even in whatever working field I go into. Through the capstone I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I love villains, though to be honest I think I already knew that. I love that the villains can be themselves even when the whole world is against them. I learned that I tend to daydream about things I want to do and then I just never do them, which to be honest is very disappointing. In an overall reflection of my capstone project, I really want to progress in this research and not just stop because of the school year being done.

Final Post (School-wise)

The man turned to Lynda and grinned maniacally when he heard her pathetic whimper slip from her lips. He lifted the knife into the air and swung his knife down onto the, pause. How did your mind finish the ending of the sentence? The words chosen perfectly describes how an author portrays the classic horror villain. So how does that description change the way you view a person? Through research I found that perspective can change how the words villain and hero can become null. That culture, morals, their background, and certain parts of a person’s brain can control who they become and how they view right and wrong.

What I originally knew before I started researching was my own perspective, that Loki was wronged by Odin. That Magneto was just trying to save his own race and shouldn’t have been viewed as a villain. I knew that background meant the world to a person’s mind. That some cultures today believe in things that Americans or “refined” cultures believe to be outdated. I felt that maybe villains played into life more than I knew. Perhaps in the grand scheme everyone becomes their own villain.

A villain isn’t always a being with special powers, sometimes the villain is just an average human being. Anyone can be a hero or a villain and maybe even sometimes both. There are a bunch of sub categories of villains, such as those driven to villainy and there is also those who are stuck in villainous acts. One thing to rely on is that there will always be the classic villain, to tell that this person is a villain is that they usually disregard morals, are selfish, and they don’t care about who gets hurt as long as they reach their own goals. While there is the anti-villain, they are portrayed as a villain but they are generally helping the hero. The characteristics of an anti-villain is that they are misunderstood, they help the hero in the end, follows their morals, some are revengeful, and generally can have a tragic background.

I learned that there is the Freudian Excuse that gives the criminal a background, which is normally tragic. Out of the three sections involved, superego controls the morals we grow up with and how we mold them into our own. I found out that power that is used selfishly and wrong can get to a persons head, and cause an astounding transformation. This is best portrayed by the Lucifer Effect. The Lucifer Effect has an infinite potential that has the capacity to make us behave kind or cruel, creative or destructive, caring or indifferent, and make us villains or heroes. What can also show this amazing transformation is the Yin and Yang theory. That in every person, no matter if they are good or evil, there is a little bit of the opposite in them. That in every good person there is a part of them that thinks bad things. In every evil person there is a spot in them where good thoughts come from. To further believe this I read about a study that was runned by Philip Zimbardo. In this study 24 men were selected and put through a prison scenario. What surprised me was that the men who were guards become cruel and crude towards the men who were playing the prisoners. The guards kind of became infected with power and this is how the study changed my view on how people think and work. One quote that I had found really took shape of how I looked at things too. The quote where Glinda from Wicked says “Are people born Wicked? Or do they have Wickedness thrust upon them?”; this quote then changed my original theory to questioning morals and culture, to questioning whether someone was destined for evil. I now firmly believe that selfishness of power can create a villain from anyone, good or bad.

I learned that it takes multiple steps for a person to go wrong. That there are multiple types of evil. I feel like this was important to know, because we all travel on the Slippery Slope of Evil at some point in our lives and it think it would be beneficial to know the steps when you’re edging on doing the right or wrong thing. To relate villainous characters to the real world, I used the idea of criminals. With all of the information on criminals I narrowed down my search to the brain and the use of power. I researched Super-ego to get a grasp on what goes through a person’s brain, and the Stanford Prison Experiment to get a view on how power can change someone’s morals quickly and efficiently. The information changed me minimally, from the beginning of this research I knew that I had just barely scratched the tip of the iceberg and really I still have so much more researching to do. I think the only thing that really changed throughout this research is my thought processes. My views on criminals changed drastically and made me really wonder how many prisoners are in prison because of how they were raised, or what happened to them before they fell down the Slippery Slope of Evil. The Freudian Excuse made me realize that it’s not just a change of heart when a villain does a good thing, but their morals and culture make the decisions for them.I really hope that from this research people will pull out that the words hero and villain are just that, words. I hope that people will know that hero and villain are words that are too black and white and that there is a gray area in between that can change the perspective field size enormously.

Honestly, I hope that the outlook on villains and criminals will not be so black and white. That people have enough information to determine the right actions for justice. One thing I am worried about is that I have done all this research for nothing and people will keep on judging the wrong mistakes and won’t look past their own morals. I think that what we can do is recognize the difference between a true, evil, person and someone who has a justified reason for what they do.

      He lifted the knife into the air and swung his knife down onto the bindings tying her to the chair, he sawed of the ropes and bent down to kiss her on the cheek, grinning. “Lynda, what would you do if I wasn’t here to save you all the time?”

Alone

When I read the poem Alone, written by Edgar Allen Poe, I found a connection to what I have been trying to get at in my research. In the poem I believe that the narrator is explaining his childhood and how it affected him growing up. I picked that even from an early age the narrator saw the things around him differently. Even though his views stemmed off of the same place everyone else had. The narrator cared about different things than what the others normally care about, thus making him abnormal. In the poem, I found that he hints at a troubling childhood, it was as if he didn’t feel the same joy out the same things others did. Towards the end of them poem we get a glimpse at what he does between his childhood and where he is in the end. I believe that he is trying to search for something to answer the mystery as to why he is so different, and then only finds nothing and that time seemed to have flown by. In the very last few sentences, the narrator realizes that his childhood is film over his eyes and that he can’t escape it.

Overall I think that this poem explains what I have been trying to get at, that the past can change how a  person believes things. The past is a power thing, because honestly it takes step by step to grow from it and learn the mistakes you made.

Tom Riddle

Now most of you know Tom Marvolo Riddle as Lord Voldemort, but today the topic is not how evil Lord Voldemort was towards the end, but how the circumstances little Tom Riddle had to deal with. A lot of people know the general history of Tom, but if you were like me and kind of yawned your way through watching Harry Potter the first time through, (Hey, I didn’t know I’d someday swoon at the words Harry Potter!) then just like me originally you probably only know that Tom is a half-blood whose mother was a witch and was descended from Slytherin’s blood. That his mother was love-crazed for a muggle man who didn’t harbor any of the same feelings and had to use a love potion to marry him. And finally that Tom kills his own father because Tom Sr. had abandoned him and didn’t bother to pull him out of the rotten orphanage. When Tom was a little boy he discovered that he wasn’t ‘normal’, he could move things with his mind and manipulate animals and creatures as he wished, speak Parseltongue, and use his power to inflict harm on other orphans. He got into a lot of fights because of these abnormal talents and because of these fights he grew bitter towards the other orphans that lived with him. It’s speculated that Tom liked the idea of being different, and I agree. Tom grew up with orphans who hated him because of his abnormalities, so really why would he want to fit in with the ‘normal’ people? Now I’m not saying the Tom is innocent and should be called anything but a villain, because we all know that he is, but what I am trying to point out is how he could have turned out differently if things had taken a different turn. Had Tom tried to fit in and lay low, would he turn out to be a great wizard for other reasons? See, some people are born into circumstances, while others are driven to villainy. Could Tom have the perfect mixture of both to turn him into the Britain’s most feared Wizard, Lord Voldemort? 

Gotham

One reason I really wished that I didn’t start this project until next fall, because next fall a new series produced from FOX is going to show the lives of young villains and heroes of Gotham; hence why the title of this new series is going to be called Gotham. So far from the one trailer I have seen and an analysis of the same trailer by some other youtuber, I can say that this show will be epic! Not just because we get to see some background on the villains but because we get to see how they interact before they were enemies! This show seems to look as though it is going to mainly focus on young Bruce Wayne getting to know the “to-be villains” and how he may or may not befriend him. The reason that this would be so perfect for my own blog is because we can get a closer look into the background of both villain and hero. In the end though, we have to focus on whether or not this show will either focus on the tragedies or portray them in a darker shade and really give them no excuse for why they become who we know them as.

Morals

I have found that when a person sticks to their morals, they tend to lead a better life. Usually when someone firmly believes in what they do, they don’t worry about whether or not what they’re doing is the right thing and they don’t have guilt coursing through them. When you are raised, you are either unknowingly or knowingly being given a set of morals from your parents, guardians, friends, family, or culture. These morals are then edited by yourself and you begin to have a picture of what is right and wrong. When someone goes against these morals they have gone by, they can feel guilty and also become bitter and hardened against these situations; once they are hardened and used to the feeling of being guilty to the point it’s normal, they will repeat the previous actions to cause the guilt in the first place. These actions can range from drinking all the way to the sinister deeds we see in crime shows. This is how average people can be deemed a criminal/villain not just to the public, but to themselves as well.

What Makes People Go Wrong? (Part Two)

Right in the beginning of the Ted Talk, Philip Zimbardo talks about how there really is no fixed line between good and evil; that there is always good and evil in all of us. The line between good and evil is permeable, good people can be swayed and seduced across the line and bad people can be pushed and counselled into doing the right things. Most people like to believe that the line begins with them on the good side and everyone else on the other side. This is the last point that I’d like to talk about. In my proposal I stated that in the end it all relies on perspective to decide who is evil and who is not, so why is it that these heroes are put into a good light; when in the end the word hero is just a title placed on them.  Most people believe they are doing the right thing, sometimes they know what they’re doing is not really what they would like to do, but they still push through and do it. My favorite lesson I learned from Mr. Zimbardo is that heroes aren’t usually in capes and have superpower, and that villains aren’t always stronger than the average person; but that we all have the potential to be a hero and there will be a time when we have a situation that will provide us with a choice. This situation has the power to do three things:

  • The very same situation that can inflame the Hostile Imagination in those who become perpetrators of evil.
  • Can also inspire the Heroic Imagination in others of us.
  • Or render most people passive bystanders and then be guilty of The Evil of Inaction.

So really in the end the right situation and perspective is also a part of what makes us into who we become.

What Makes People Go Wrong? (Part One)

In the Ted Talk, The Psychology of Evil, the main question that Philip Zimbardo asks is ‘what makes people go wrong?’. He began to talk on about the line between good and evil, as well as Ying and Yang. Mr. Zimbardo has researched the subject of evil and criminology to the point that he has a book he’s written about; in this book he explores The Lucifer Effect. The Lucifer Effect has an infinite potential that has the capacity to make us behave kind or cruel, creative or destructive, caring or indifferent, and make us villains or heroes. Zimbardo defined evil as the exercise of power to intentionally harm, hurt, destroy, and commit crimes against humanity. With this definition I completely agree, but then again I believe that there is so much more to just plain black and white. In my eyes I believe there are millions of shades of grey out there that have made mistakes and regret them, or even the opposite. One thing that Zimbardo stressed is that there are steps to falling into the slippery slope of evil.

These are the seven social processes that grease the slippery slope of evil:

  • Mindlessly taking the first small step
  • Dehumanization of others
  • De-individualization of self
  • Diffusion of personal responsibility
  • Blind obedience to Authority
  • Uncritical conformity to group norms
  • Passive intolerance of evil through inaction/indifference.

 

With these steps I really do agree on what he is thinking. To make me even further believe these steps he provided information on one of his own studies where he took 24 healthy, normal college students and randomly assigned twelve to be the ‘guards’ and the others to be ‘prisoners’.  The interesting thing about this study is that it failed. It failed in less than a week. They found that the ‘prisoners’ were breaking from the treatment. It astounded me, the results were so vivid. To really think that normal, healthy people could transform so quickly once they got the power in their grubby hands.