Was Boyd Really The Dark Knight?

It’s unlikely. But  I think he might have liked the movie.


The Joker: I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets.

Now compare that with:

The ability to operate at a faster tempo or rhythm than an adversary enables one to fold adversary back inside himself so that he can neither appreciate nor keep‑up with what’s going on. He will become disoriented or confused;

which suggests that

Unless such menacing pressure is relieved, adversary will experience various combinations of uncertainty, doubt, confusion, self‑deception, indecision, fear, panic, discouragement, despair, etc., … (Strategic Game, Chart 44)

Absolutely.  The Joker was operating inside Batman’s and Harvey Dent’s (and pretty much everybody else’s) OODA loops.  He was changing the situation and exploiting it before his opponents could comprehend.  Textbook case.

As Boyd observed in Patterns of Conflict, chart 132, if you can operate inside your opponents’ OODA loops, you can do all sorts of neat things, including:

Generate uncertainty, confusion, disorder, panic, chaos … to shatter cohesion, produce paralysis and bring about collapse.

Should seem familiar to Batman, Dent, etc.

I do hope The Dark Knight wins tonight.

[Fabius Maximus has also written about The Dark Knight:

“Some people just want to see the world burn”, 17 January 2009.

A philosophical basis for the Batman saga, 23 July 2008.]

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6 Responses to “Was Boyd Really The Dark Knight?”

  1. Walter Norrison 22 Feb 2009 at 11:41 pm 1

    I didn’t care for the Dark Knight. They got everyone but the central character right. I don’t know who that was up on the screen whining I want a normal life, but it wasn’t Batman. Somehow, I don’t see John Boyd whining “I want a normal life,” either.

    [CR: Under the right circumstances, it could be a useful tactic. Still, though, I don’t see Boyd as Batman either. The Joker? I’m sure there were lots of people in the Pentagon in the 60s and 70s who wouldn’t have thought that comparison outrageous.]

  2. Maxon 23 Feb 2009 at 9:45 am 2

    “I’m sure there were lots of people in the Pentagon in the 60s and 70s who wouldn’t have thought that comparison outrageous.”

    I agree, amoung the elties and the staus quo, from that perspective Boyd constituted counter culture and anarchy.

    Boyd and let’s not forget his close friends, whom are still amoung us
    saw the endemic problems emerging, and were visionary in
    predicting the logical conclusion, in the nightmare we’re
    dealing with today.

    Unlike the Joker character though who had no ambition behond
    anarchy, or becoming the king among anarchists, Boyd and friends sought to reform and SAVE western civilisation by appealing to the best aspirations and human nature.

    Not to glorify, aid, or abet in any way shape or form, like the Joker
    character, Osama Bin Laden is cut soemwhat from the same cloth.

    I find it astonishing that with all increadible pointification about the world finaincal collpahs, that very few have aknowlaged the connection between this, and 9-11. Exactly as planned, AlQuida sought to humble, if not collpahs westerised industrialised civiliisation.

    My opinion is that we’ve played right into his hands, with myriad inane decisions, and sinking to the lowest common denominator amoung human nature, flawlessly as if by orchistrated script.



    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Renowned investor George Soros said on Friday the world financial system has effectively disintegrated, adding that there is yet no prospect of a near-term resolution to the crisis.

    Soros said the turbulence is actually more severe than during the Great Depression, comparing the current situation to the demise of the Soviet Union.

  3. Newjarheaddeanon 23 Feb 2009 at 9:55 am 3

    AHOY, just posted yesterday on Strategy Page about how life is like the movie Signs, you no the theme are you a person that sees signs in everything or do you think its all coincidences, is it possible there are no such things as coincidences.

    I see signs, however IMO Uncle Sam is the master of producing false signs, especially for the Book Thumpers and the media including the movies is part of that illusion machine. And I like to think Boyd would agree with me.


  4. rmhitchenson 23 Feb 2009 at 2:42 pm 4

    Well, clearly Batman was hampered in terms of situation awareness by the fact that he, as much as the Joker, was an outsider. No doubt local law enforcement was reluctant to give the Caped Crusader full access to their proprietary information stream on nefarious events within the city, tips from the multitude of informants, 911 calls, etc. This attitude undoubtedly grew out of jealousy over Batman’s high public profile which the municipal police — quite naturally — interpreted in zero-sum terms. The only way Batman was going to have a shot at winning this particular 4GW contest was to lose the mask & cape, and collaborate on an equal basis with the local authorities. Offer seminars and training in his amazing crimefighting skills. License the Batmobile for series production. That sort of thing.

    [CR: Never thought of that. Branding: DC Comics figured it out, but not the Caped Crusader himself.]

  5. jaylemeuxon 23 Feb 2009 at 4:11 pm 5

    One of the things that interested me about the movie was the Joker as an irrational actor-he says something like, “I don’t care about money, etc. I just want chaos.” How do you prepare against/counteract someone who seeks no gain? There’s nothing to take away from him.

  6. Maxon 24 Feb 2009 at 9:14 am 6


    “How do you prepare against/counteract someone who seeks no gain? There’s nothing to take away from him.”

    Think about Boyd, particuarly, but also many of his collaberators,
    lived painfully modestly, and very much at the expense, in his
    case of his family, among his group, he was not alone.

    Now think about Bin Laden.

    “lives in a hole in the ocean, trying to make a dovetail joint”*

    * The Beatles/John Lennon/Glass Onion.