“People from your world have so much to lose.”
– Carmine Falcone, Batman Begins
This comes from one of the most pivotal scenes of Bruce Wayne’s backstory, when he confronted the crime lord who murdered the man who murdered his parents. Being robbed of the chance to kill the man himself, and faced with the truth that Falcone is worse, Bruce tries to prove that not everyone fears the man, but instead he has more truth, cold and harsh, thrown in his face.
Bruce is dark and brooding, thinking that he knows how ugly life is because his parents were shot in front of him, but Falcone reminds him that there is so much worse out there. Bruce has never been desperate to survive, for instance, driven to steal because he was starving. As much as he pushes people away, he still has people in his life who care about him, and who he cares about. He’s safe, rich, well-fed, loved… all the things that are dreamed about by the people who don’t have them. He suffered one loss, albeit a most terrible one, as a child, but he still has so much.
Falcone makes the point that Bruce Wayne has all these things as a means to try and check him, to scare him, in effect. That doesn’t work so well, but he’s still right in what he says: Bruce has more than he realizes. What he does not realize is how unbreakable Bruce’s will is.
In light of what one has lost, one may forget what one still has, but having “so much to lose” is also having so much to live for, and fight for.
That is why it does us so much good to remember what we have. Even if we have suffered losses, and especially if we find ourselves too often dreaming of things that we don’t believe we’ll ever have, it is remembering what we have right now that inspires our determination to endure and overcome. It is what we are built for, to keep what is ours and expand it.
To remember what we have is to remember that we have purpose. Purpose gives us drive, drive gives us will, and will gives us strength.
Of course, evil people try to use what we have against us. “That is such a nice home you have built for your beautiful family with what you have earned from your honest job,” they say. “It would be a shame if you lost it all.” And that threat of loss can cripple us, and our character, with fear, anger, desperation, and sorrow. That’s what Falcone was going for when he reminded Bruce of what he had. And it backfired gloriously.
There is very little that is more dangerous, or more determined, than one who is willing to fight, and kill, and die for what is theirs.
Whether what we have, what we can lose, weighs us down or drives us forward is entirely a matter of our own choice.
Does protecting what we have mean meekly tolerating the constant threat to it, or does it mean doing something about it?