By: John D. Pepe
The first time I watched the Iron Fist series I was left with a feeling of disappointment. It just seemed to miss that “something” that the other Netflix Marvel Series had. I reluctantly decided to give it a second viewing, but watched with a bit more intent, looking for that “something” I had missed. Low and behold, I discovered what I had not seen: Danny Rand was actually a much more complex character than he appeared at first glance. I began to vet his character with more scrutiny. Then his girlfriend on the show, Connie Wing, mention a phrase I had not heard before: The Duality of Life.
I looked up this phrase, Duality of Life, and realized it was a concept I was already familiar with, in fact I have even written about in a book I’m authoring, “The Lone Wolf.” Duality of Life really is just the Ying and the Yang. But I began to think about this concept yet again, and how the Danny Rand character fit into that concept. That prompted me to think about how we, as people, deal with the Duality of Life. I don’t believe that most people ever think of this concept, let alone are aware it. The Duality of Life, if you grasp the concept and put it into effect, in my opinion, can benefit one greatly.
You see we all experience good and bad, that is life, and we can’t escape it. When our experiences are bad we tend wallow in the negative, and fail to see that within those bad experiences exists good as well, you just have to look closely. (Goes the adage: “Every cloud has a silver lining”) Learning to accept the fact that we are going to have bad experiences will help us deal with them when they arise. Just like Danny’s parents dying in a plane crash, without those painful, dark, or bad experiences we cannot grow as people. Without them, at times, we can’t learn. Without them we can’t define the good experiences. Sometimes, without the bad experiences a good one cannot be born. If we can change our mindset, and look for the positive embedded within the negative, I think that will help us learn to find a way to navigate through the pain, and mollify it.
Danny Rand’s parents died when he was ten years old and he never dealt with it; he never accepted that horrifically painful experience. Instead, he tried to wash it away by immersing himself in his martial arts training, trusting that if he became The Iron Fist, it would quash all his hurt. It did not.
It’s not until Danny leaves K’un-Lun, and returns to New York, that he beings to find himself. That is when he finally begins to face his demons. That is when he begins to grow. That is when we see the two sides of Danny Rand, the ten-year-old emotionally charged boy, and the emotionless weapon of K’un-Lun, beginning to merge. That is when Danny starts to find balance.
Yet, none of this would have happened had that plane not crashed, and Danny’s parents died. That tragic experience is what molded him into an Iron Fist that could forgo killing The Hand, his sworn enemy, pushing aside the Iron Fist’s only purpose in order to save a young girl, Sabine. An Iron Fist that could dare to love someone who is a member of his sworn enemy, The Hand. An Iron Fist that isn’t just programmed to destroy, but also can heal. I believe Danny has become a better Iron Fist, and a better person, because of his pain. That pain is what allows him to feel, and in the end those feelings help him make the right decisions about life.
God never promised that life would be easy. It is fraught with pain and anguish. But if you look with a careful eye, you might see, how in the long run, God put that obstacle, that negative experience in your life, to provide something richer and grander down the road. So remember, when you are going through pain, it will eventually pass, and you will again find peace. But when it hurts, take the time to learn from the pain, grow with the pain, and become a better, strong human being.
At the end of the day, even with all the ugliness we encounter there is still a great deal of beauty that God has bestowed upon this earth. Look for it, here and beyond. That is the Duality of Life.