The Shadow of Conflict

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The Masks We Wear, Part 1

Gone is the glimmer of spring. Vanished is the tranquility of summer. Soon will come the festivity of winter. But first are the ghouls of October. Cut in between one joy and another, October stands as a twisted spire, casting haunted shadows reminiscent of fabled and baleful Gotham City.

October, like Gotham, is surrounded by arguably happier things. The theme of Halloween itself is one of conflict—human versus monster, even life versus death, as evidenced by its origin in Samhain. While perhaps not as severe as these, conflict nonetheless exists for each of us. Some might experience it with our managers or teammates, or—given the season—our children as we intercept their candy consumption.

Discussed here by David Ludden, PhD, each of us approach disagreement differently. We might prefer to avoid tense situations. Others might try to accommodate an opponent. Some might venture down the shadowed path of the Batman and compete against the harbingers of contention. Others still, as depicted by the SurePeople Prism® Portrait, might defer to multiple approaches, perhaps not dissimilar to Gotham villain Two-Face’s struggle between the collaborating persona of Harvey Dent and the competing nature of his alter ego.

Two-Face, like many of Gotham’s tormented denizens, is the embodiment of conflict mismanaged, as conveyed by Dr. Travis Langley’s acclaimed book, Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight. Like Two-Face, some of our battles are fought within, against our own internal dialogue. How we talk to ourselves can sometimes distort situations with nightmarish narratives, as explored in this video by Big Think.

Like masks on Halloween, conflict wears many faces, each different from the last. How we deal with it similarly varies. Avoidance of contention paves the twisted road along the tragedy of Two-Face. The Batman, meanwhile, competes against some while collaborating with others for the greater good.

However we approach conflict, do so with the intention to cast aside the shadows of anger and doubt. Only then can we be a caped crusader for those around us.

“Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”
– Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer, Batman Begins

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