I was just watching Sean Connery in one of those old James Bond movies, and frankly, his character seems like a psychopath. Of course he is suave and cool under pressure, but it’s legitimately frightening once you start seriously considering how many people have died around him and his constant “cool”. He shows affection towards his coworkers, but it’s more respect than genuine connection. He almost dies and is surrounded by danger all day, every day, and yet he doesn’t show severe psychological trauma as a result.
But even so, there is something intangibly fascinating with his character. His intellect, cunning, charisma, the gadgets, the fact his efforts make a difference– James Bond is cool because he seems to be the version of ourselves we want to be: exciting yet put-together. In most instances, we have to choose if we want to be responsible or want to have fun, and neither will make a difference like busting a diamond-smuggling ring. Compared to that mirage of 007, our lives seem to pale in comparison.
The key then, is to stop comparing. While there are definitely key aspects of the James Bond myth that are unreasonable and lacking, one of powers Bond seems to have is the power to act. Being a psychopath should absolutely not be our goal because it doesn’t make us cool, it makes us lonely. However, he thinks on his feet and goes with it. He gets things done. People are flawed, even fictional characters are flawed, but if we learn anything from a flawed James Bond, it’s that we can always do more than we think if we just go after it.