Happiness, Capitalism and the Joker

During the last weeks the Joker movie has been one of the main topics that everyone is talking about. People seem quite impressed not only about the performance of Joaquin Phoenix, but also about how the film exposes the human misery in capitalist society.

Happiness, success, craziness, violence, poverty, discrimination and inequality are part of the construction of the film’s argument. Those elements play relevant roles on how the main character changes his identity (if sometime has had one). Besides, I could say that for many people to have a connection and identification with Arthur Fleck (Joker) could be really easy. Why? Because he shows how difficult could be life when the happiness depends on what the system establishes as normal and good. 

This dual vision of life brought some thoughts to my mind. For example, I remembered Michel Foucault’s postulates regarding how power could be applied by determining normal and not normal practices in society according to the stereotypes and roles that everyone should comply with.  I also, remembered the Freud’s studies about the id, ego and super ego elements which explain how culture rules are introjected by the individuals and how these elements conditionate their behavior.

In this sense, the Joker movie shows how the power operates at the individual level oppressing human beings until breaking them. This is maybe not the reality that many people want to see as the main message of the movie because it is disturbing, but it is what many people are currently living in real life.

In the world millions of individuals are fighting against social and economic gaps every day. To give value to the people just because of their money, to give to an elite the decision of what is wrong or what is acceptable in our society and also to let the power define what is worth and what is not , are daily practices in our system.  

Not only the poorest people are victims of systematic practices to maintain the “order”, but also the so-called media class is fighting to fulfill a “happiness” concept that implies preconceptions of desires, aspirations and ways that have been already defined an accepted by the capitalist culture. However, people do not notice that it is not likely that the happiness they are looking for will become reality.

In brief, the Joker shows that the misery is a common feeling in places where inequality and a blind State exist. It is a reminder of the importance of reducing gaps and having a society which brings real and equal opportunities to all individuals. It is a reminder that the main joke of capitalist society is to let us destroy ourselves trying to reach a happiness that is understood as money and power.

By Alejandra. FM Thought


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