Ethic of Consequences (Ego vs. Thanos)

In the recent cinematic production of Marvel Studios Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), a ruthless “Celestial” (deity), who came into existence millions of years ago and goes by the name “Ego,” has grown bored of his own immortality, not to mention being deeply disappointed with the inferior beings who inhabit the universe. So he plans to use his cosmic powers to destroy and terraform all life in the universe as extensions of himself by implanting his celestial genes into various species. But to accomplish this omnicidal plan, called the Expansion, he will need the help of another Celestial, his son–Peter Quill (“Star-Lord”).

The Avengers cinematic saga by Marvel Studios, spanning from 2012 to 2019, has brought another supervillain, who’s called “Mad Titan” (born on Saturn’s moon, Titan) and “Worshipper of Death” into the pop culture. As the comic books explain, young Thanos became obsessed with nihilism and death, eventually worshipping and falling in love with the embodiment of death, Mistress Death. The movies do an excellent job of showcasing his genocidal power and mania. With the DNA of the Eternals and Deviants, not to mention his hyper-intelligence, Thanos seeks to restore balance to the universe by destroying half its population with the aid of the infinity stones.

Similarities Between Ego and Thanos

Ego and Thanos, although god-like, both came into existence and went out of existence. They inexorably followed their act-oriented ethic of consequences (Ego, an ethical egoist, and Thanos, an act utilitarian). And they craved power to a blood-thirsty fault.

Differences Between Ego and Thanos

Ego sought to rule the universe for his own rational self-interest. That is, the telos or end-goal for Ego is to benefit himself by having his seedlings obey him and his megalomaniacal ways or die. His EGO-ism on steroids bends the law of nature (Thomas Hobbes’s “lust for power”) to further his self-preservation. In this case, there is no Leviathan–an absolute sovereign needed to protect man from others, including Ego–except Ego, himself.

Thanos, on the other hand, sought control of the universe for the end-goal of the greatest good for the greatest number of species. To some, Thanos’s method of genocide may seem draconian, but to him he sought to revitalize the universe that was once ravaged by its own self-consumption via depletion of natural resources. Simply put, for the Mad Titan, the end justifies the means.

Comparing Ego and Thanos to Jehovah

The God of Judeo-Christianity is eternal and everlasting. That is, He never came into existence and He will never cease to exist. He is all-powerful and fully in control of His power, which means He does not thirst for power. He is also all-good, which means He does not abuse His power like dictators or bullies. Jehovah is motivated to follow His character virtues of love, justice, wisdom, etc., setting the example of a character-oriented ethic, especially as depicted in Jehovah’s Son–the God-man, Jesus Christ–who was sacrificed for us rather than having us be sacrificed for Him or for His cause. Lastly, He seeks worship not because He is bored, but because of the enjoyment He receives in being worshipped. In this worship, we participate in His joy and thus the purpose of worship is complete.

Chester Delagneau

4 Responses to “Ethic of Consequences (Ego vs. Thanos)”

  • A greatful student says:

    I love the blogs! They always share so much wisdom.

  • Rusty says:

    Nice comparison there… While I did think somewhat about the contrasts of theses characters to Christ, you sure were more complete in the comparison. I enjoyed the read and thank you for putting in the effort.

    • Chester Delagneau says:

      Thanks for the comment! It’s important to consider that while we may enjoy watching movies like these, we’re careful not to swallow the philosophies they espouse or, minimally, we try to understand their moral dilemmas involved.


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