The Ultimate truth According to the Joker.
Hopefully everyone here has seen the Dark Knight by now. Thus, discussion about the Joker's overall view of the world and humanity needs to be discussed. The lingering question many might have concerning the Joker is: what the hell was he trying to accomplish? Which is a perfectly reasonable question. He hates plans yet devises some of the most intricate schemes in cinematic history and ultimately decides not to kill Batman because it would just "not be fun" if Batman wasn't around. He seems to contradict himself in each passing scene and Alfred even warns Bruce Wayne of the type of man the Joker is i.e. one who cannot be reasononed with since he simply just wants to partake in evil deeds as if they are ends in themselves. However, there is a method to his madness, so to speak, and, if you watched closely and paid attention, he does have a certain goal, even if its not a basic and straight forward goal that can be thwarted by a mere fist fight (as he makes clear in the climax). No, I am not talking about turning Harvey Dent into Two-face even though that is related.
So what exactly is the Joker after? The popular words used in this case are chaos, anarchy, and even nihilism. However, I think these, at best, are a superficial readings of the Joker's motivation. What do I beleive he is after than? Truth, wherever it may lead. Take the pivotal scene in the hospital for instance in which he analyzes humanity through the common reliance on plans. He clearly demonstrates how killing and even murder is purely contextual upon a particualr plan, thus, has no real objective wrongness since, killing one person, Rachel Dawes brought the city to a stand still but if he killed a terroists or a busload of soldiers, it would be fine or not as horrible as the killing of Rachel Dawes since killing a terrorist or even a busload of soldiers is more compatble with the "plan" whereas killing Rachel Dawes is not. He then builds from this, in the interrogation scene, to claiming that any morality system one can have is, at best, a facade since it only functions as long as the plan goes right. If the plan falters, he argues, whatever morality is being employed will also fall and people will revert to beasts.
So whats really going on here with the Joker and Batman? To put it simply, it is the nuanced, and unwinnable debate of what do to when finding out that most of what one will beleive is a psychological pillow, as opposed to a verifiable truth. Now, both the Joker and Batman know how unforgiving the world and people can be so niether of them are ignorant of the terrors of humanity. Where they differ is that Batman beleives that, along with the people needing a symbol of good, that this symbol is representing the truth about what humanity really is. The Joker, on the other hand believes this to be a fiction, lie and deception, thus, he will do what he can to destroy it. So, in this sense, the Joker is not necessarily evil since that would imply he accepts that there is a good and that he is a opposed to it. However, as exlained already, he rejects the very idea of The Good and believes this is more detrimental to the public than anything he could ever do on his own since he, at least, is not trying to decieve people into beleving something that is just plain false. Everything he is doing, he would maintain, is an attempt to reveal what he beleives to be the real truth.
So why do I say this debate is unwinnable? Well, to put it simply, both positions are unfalsiable in their own way. Yes, we have seen many examples of orderly societies with a workbale idea of the good flourish and prosper. We have also seen such societies destroy themselves. Conversly, on the other side, yes, if pushed the right (or wrong) way, every huamn will revert to a violent and viscious tool but this hardly means that there is no such thing as the Good. It jsut means that one can become so altered and distanced from the Good that the Good becomes unrecognizable.
So now the question is: which side am I on? Batman's side or the Joker's? based on my claim of the debate being unwinnable, you might be inclined to think that I choose neither side. However, if you paid attention to the ending, aside from Harvey Dent embracing Chaos and mayhem, you will notice that Batman and the commisioner, ultimatly justify decieving all of Gotham city becuase they beleive they know what the people need, namely, a "white knight". To put it another way, they justify concealing a truth, and maintaining a falsity, in order to keep their idea of the Good alive. Now, you can call the Joker insane but at least hes not going against the very prinibles he beleives to be the real truth and ultimately the Good in order to keep his idea of The Good alive. In fact, it is a logical contradiction for the Joker to make such an ethical fopua since he rejects all ethics and priincbles as falsities and delusions so there is nothing for him to go against in order for him to continue his quest to reveal the truth as he understands it to be.
So now I pose the question to you: which side are you on?
" Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff