“I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating.”
In the movie Batman : Under the Red Hood, we are taken back to a bruising memory in Bruce Wayne’s life as the Dark Knight. His sidekick Robin was brutally tortured by the Joker, imprinting a scar of never-ending guilt in Bruce, for he couldn’t be there in time to save Robin’s life. He had no choice but to live with the notion that Robin died.
But he lived (How? — Well, let’s not spoil the story here).
Years later Robin returned in Gotham as an antihero, cleansing crime off its streets in his own gruesome ways — Seeking vengeance on Gotham’s villains, especially and without a shadow of doubt, the Joker.
When confronted by Bruce, Robin questioned his moral code — Why couldn’t he simply murder a criminal? Wouldn’t the world be much more at peace if he had killed someone so insane like the Joker? How could he ignore the fact that he was responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people? And wouldn’t Robin, his dearest student, be the last person that he would leave to suffer?
“All I’ve ever wanted to do is kill him. A day doesn’t go by where I don’t think about subjecting him to every horrendous torture he’s dealt out to others and then end him,” Bruce responded, “But if I allow myself to go down into that place, I’ll never come back.”
It was an answer that didn’t sate Robin’s anger, but Bruce was right after all.
In every human being there’s a struggle between one’s philosophy and one’s emotions. When tough times come, a question arises — “Do I do what’s right — The thing which I know I should do, or do I take the easy path?”
Bruce was doing the right thing, however puzzling it may seem, because if he let himself murder the Joker, what could happen? As with almost anything unusual to us, first it’s a strange feeling, then you get used to it.
Bruce might be pulled into the dark path of a murderer as he would possibly murder more of Gotham’s villains — Batman might not even be known as Gotham’s hero anymore, but a twisted soul who uses evil means to get to good ends — No different from his former mentor, Ra’s Al Ghul who intends to achieve world harmony by mass murdering its wrongdoers.
“I always knew what the right path was. Without exception, I knew. But I never took it. You know why? It was too damn hard.”
Scent of a Woman
It’s not easy to do what’s right, which is why it’s a test from God. God doesn’t test you on easy things. But as His servants, we must believe in His bountiful rewards, even if they do not come immediately.
Not just that, but if you do what’s right, you bloom in places that others never get to. You obtain unfair advantages because you walked along that hard path and gained valuable experiences.
I remember a time when my sister was still in medical school. She was feeling a little down because she didn’t perform as well as her friends did on her assignments — She did the best she possibly could, but the results were just average. She felt that the world wasn’t fair.
She told me of how many of her friends actually cheated. They were really hard tasks, needless to say. But when she felt like following the crowd, she asked herself, why did she want to be a doctor in the first place?
That’s really something to think about. If you needed a heart surgery, would you want to be treated by a doctor who cheated her way through medical school? Probably not.
I can never be in a position to give someone advice. I’m not an exception to the struggle. Therefore as I write this, I’m really giving myself advice.
It might seem fine when you think “A little wouldn’t hurt” — But it’s not.
If you do what you shouldn’t do, you’re not just doing wrong unto other people; you’re doing wrong unto yourself, because the heart recognizes what’s wrong and what’s right. You have to live with that. And maybe you won’t even realize as it becomes a norm, as it becomes a part of who you are.
The message of this article? Be like Batman. Don’t fool yourself into taking the easy road.