Monday, March 19, 2007

Part 2: The Trap: What Happened to Our Dreams of Freedom

Lots of us have been banging on about disenfranchisement and the sham of 'democracy' for a long time. Last night's The Trap: What Happened to our Dreams Of Freedom, the second in this three-part series by Adam Curtis verified and validated our view.

This part, called 'The Lonely Robot' "tells the story of how, in the Nineties, politicians from both Right and Left tried to apply an idea of freedom modelled on the freedom of the market to all other areas of society. This was something that previously no one – not even the high priest of capitalism, Adam Smith - had thought possible or appropriate.

"But now it was seen as inevitable because underlying it was a scientific model of ourselves as simplified robots – rational, calculating beings whose behaviour and even feelings could be analysed and managed by numbers. Out of this came today's systems of management – from performance targets to the new categories of mental disorder and the predictions about people's behaviour from the genetic codes buried inside them. However, what resulted was the very opposite of freedom.

"The numbers took on a power of their own which began to create new forms of control, greater inequalities and the return of a rigid class structure based on the power of money. As The Trap shows, however, the mathematical and biological theories on which this simplified vision of ourselves is based may not be true. The very way in which we think of ourselves as human beings is actually an ideology, not a scientific truth."

I didn't realise the extent to which Clinton abandoned his manifesto so close to his election, due to intervention from Federal Reserve Board head Alan Greenspan, for example, and I can't see how such a move could possibly be justified. If a politician comes to power on the basis of one set of policies and then proceeds to deliberately implement a completely different set, voters must reach the view that they're being conned and that voting is a waste of time.

In last night's programme, Curtis succeeded in explaining very well (much better than I have) why the turnout at elections has dramatically slumped, and I was applauding the way he explained the motives, activities and effects of the drug conglomerates in our current situation with such raw, simple clarity.

So we have a Western world population full of disenfranchised, drugged-up, obedient consumers. What next? The title of episode 3 ("We Will Force You To Be Free") sounds ominous in this respect.

To quote the ever-astute Daniel Kurtzman, Orwell's 1984 "was intended to be read as a warning about the evils of totalitarianism - not a how-to manual."

The eternal optimist in me can't help seeing this series as something of a watershed in what seems like the process of our eternal subjugation. I mean, come on people: it's on prime time TV. It's in your face, spelling out exactly what's been going on in stark, unmistakable terms. Surely that has to have some kind of an effect.


Blogger Tech said...

Damn, I forgot it was on :-( Must look out for a repeat.

11:14 am, March 19, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Oh no! :'(

It's sure to be repeated Tech

11:24 am, March 19, 2007  
Blogger Tech said...

Interview with Adam Curtis here - thought you might be interested in.

12:02 am, March 23, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Thanks, I certainly was.

"The thing that I find fascinating about the whole Iraq venture, which is really what I look at in the last film, is the way that they went into Baghdad with an economic plan which basically said that you get rid of all the elitist institutions that have ruled this society and spontaneously then people will rise up as these individuals in the marketplace."

!! Brilliant analysis IMO

7:41 am, March 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

first two episodes are here:

3:53 am, March 24, 2007  

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