(Image: DC Comics, Greg Capullo)

The Dark Knight’s Joker is a seemingly unstoppable force of nature, Batman: The Animated Series’ Joker is a total madman who could be laughing one minute and killing you the next, and Suicide Squad’s Joker is the singer from an alt-rock band, but all of them are still relatively consistent with each other. Weirdly, while some movies that shall remain nameless have inexplicably presented Batman in a weird or off-putting way, the Joker is almost always a recognizable incarnation of the same Clown Prince Of Crime who started terrorizing Gotham City decades ago. That’s because he’s always driven by the same kinds of impulses and desires, even if the circumstances surrounding him are different.

But what are those impulses and desires? A YouTube channel called Wisecrack has put together a video laying out what exactly makes the Joker tick, and it seems pretty safe to say that Wisecrack has put an almost-terrifying level of thought and research into this. (The Joker himself would either be proud or offended.) Titled “The Philosophy Of The Joker,” the video examines a bunch of different incarnations of the villain and matches him up with the writings of famous philosophers in order to try and develop an outline of his worldview. It’s pretty fascinating stuff, especially if you’re interested in figuring out why the Joker has persisted while other comic book villains haven’t managed to reach the same status in popular culture.

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