Hi, my name is D and this is my writings on subjects. I'm no rapscallion or anything at all. If you want to you can read my writings on subjects if you have free time. If you want to argue with me or call me names then please comment. Negative feedback is very welcome...I love dat shit. Me? I'm not even a noun, I'm a fucking verb, dude.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

On the Duality of Individuality and Harmony...as explored by the final episode of "The Prisoner"

On one side you want to be a good little worker bee and produce for your society and live in complete harmony with the human race...yet on the other side you want to live free and at ease and do whatever you feel like doing. Part of you wants to work hard and play your role yet the other part of you wants to yell, dance, go bunjee jumping and have fun. We live with this duality everyday and it is pretty interesting.

How shaky is this balance? Can we be too stingy and adhere to rules too much at times, and similarly can we be too selfish and just do what pleases our own selves at times? Both statements are true, and it's not hard to lose the precious balance at all.

One of the best shows ever made, that great show "The Prisoner" takes this into account in its final episode "Fallout." The Prisoner starred Patrick McGoohan as a former James Bond-esque spy who every morning wakes up on a beautiful prison colony island yet doesn't know how he got there or why. The island has no names, it only has numbers, and you are referred to by your number (The Prisoner was assigned the number 6 for instance). He spends his days attempting to escape the island and trying to figure out who's in charge of it. All he knows is the leader's name is Number 1 but no one has ever seen this person.

The Island frowns upon individuality and exists only for harmony. They preach that "Questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself" and that a "a still tongue makes a happy life.” Do your assigned task and shutup is basically what the motto was there. Yet to the Prisoner this motto is a little too hard to swallow, as he refuses to adopt this lifestyle, letting it be known by stating "I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my own."

48: Da Bones is YOURS!!
In the final (and best) episode the big wigs of the Island put 2 individuals on trial for the crime of being an individual and expressing their individuality and a third on trial for failing to do his tasks. The first prisoner on trial Number 48, lives life out loud as he sings and dances and talks back to the authority figure, he is meant according to McGoohan to represent youthful rebellion. A great line from this scene is while 48 is doing his flashy resistance they pan to Number 6 who says, "Don't knock yourself out...young...man." Rebelling and arguing with authority really does wear you down, and 6 is right, there's gotta be a better and more creative way to challenge the status quo.

Number 6 then takes a 180 and completely goes against what he preaches and picks up a machine gun and starts killing the guards while Beatles music plays in the background. This probably represents violent opposition to authority. Why this complete 180 reversal of opinion? Do we think one way one day and another the next?

The show ends with The Prisoner meeting number 1...and (sorry to spoil it) but after #1 takes off all his deceptive masks it's The Prisoner's own face looking back at him. I guess he's trying to say that we live in this delicate duality every day, with our thoughts and opinions taking 180s and going in circles at whim. This whole delicate balance of wanting to do your role for society yet at the same time wanting to be free and at ease... makes you your own worst enemy.

Fallout (entire episode): http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2714ls_the-prisoner-e17-fall-out_shortfilms


cool but unrelated songs about bein' a prisoner: 1. Death (1975), and also 2. D.O.A. (198X)

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