Comfort is Freedom

JOHNATHAN
I’ve been thinkin’, Ella. Thinkin’ a lot. I’ve been watching. It’s like people had a choice a long time ago between…well, having all them nice things or freedom. Of course, they chose comfort.

ELLA
But comfort is freedom. It always has been. The history of civilisation is the struggle against poverty.

JOHNATHAN
No! No, that’s not it. That’s never been it. I mean, them privileges just buy us off.

[…]

LIBRARIAN
Can I help you, please?

JOHNATHAN
Yeah. I tried to order some books and they said I had to appear at the centre personally.

LIBRARIAN
That’s right, this is our circulation unit. Make your choice here or by catalogue….There must be a mistake. These books are classified. They have been transcribed and summarised.

JOHNATHAN
Who summarises them?

LIBRARIAN
I suppose the computers do.

MOONPIE
What do you need books for?

JOHNATHAN
I wanna study up on some things.

LIBRARIAN
You could go to the computer centre where the real librarians are. But we have all the edited versions here. Anything I think you’d want.

JOHNATHAN
Let’s see, then. This is not a library and you’re really not a librarian.

LIBRARIAN
I’m only a clerk, that’s right. I’m sorry, really.

JOHNATHAN
The books are really in computer banks being summarised. Where is that?

LIBRARIAN
There’s a computer bank in Washington. The biggest is in Geneva. That’s a nice place to visit.

[…]

BARTHOLOMEW
Jonathan, let’s think this through together. You know how the game serves us. It has a definite social purpose. The Nations are bankrupt, gone. None of that tribal warfare any more. Even the corporate wars are a thing of the past.

JONATHAN
I know that…

BARTHOLOMEW
So now we have The Majors and their executives. Transport, food, communication, housing, luxury, energy. A few of us making decisions on a global basis for the common good.

JONATHAN
The team is a unit. It plays with certain rhythms.

BARTHOLOMEW
So does an executive team, Jonathan. Now everyone has all the comforts, you know that. No poverty, no sickness. No needs and many luxuries, which you enjoy just as if you were in the executive class. Corporate society takes care of everything. And all it asks of anyone, all it has ever asked of anyone ever, is not to interfere with management decisions.

JONATHAN
I don’t mean to resist. I’m just tryin’ to understand.

BARTHOLOMEW
This is for your own benefit. You must know that, Jonathan.

[…]

CLETUS
Everything was much simpler when I was a kid. We still had three nations. That was before the corporate wars, even before Rollerball. Before everything.

[…]

Rollerball

Yet another film that predicts the future with pinpoint accuracy.

According to the Rollerball timeline, we would be at the stage where the Nation States are about to go bankrupt, before the New World Order consolidation into three super-states, to be followed by corporate governance, then the corporate wars and then the era of The Majors and the Executive class and Rolerball.

It seems so plausible now, more plausible than when I first saw this film decades ago. Books all digitized and the dangerous ones classified and summarized; many years ago, this was pure fantasy, now not only it is absolutely real, but it is entirely conceivable that this might be the only way people read books in the very near future. And we all know about the censorship.

The beautiful, brainwashed Ella, intones, “comfort is freedom”. These words … you do not have to struggle to imagine hearing them spoken today as if they were a truth. Who would be surprised by someone saying that at a dinner party?

This is how far everything has degenerated.

The Rollerball future is of course, not inevitable, even though it and all the other dystopian outcomes seem to be variations on the same path to the locus that we are being pulled towards.

In MY imagination, there are other, attainable and far preferable futures to achieve that do not involve going through a culling, a weeding, a winnowing or a burning out.

What is for sure, is that we cannot allow the Rollerball outcome to take root, because once it does, it will be nearly impossible to dislodge. There will be no will for it, no desire for it. This is in spite of the fact that all the women in the future are prostitutes and everyone is paralyzed with fear and paranoia. No one will remember exactly how it used to be. There will be no books describing it. No footage or recordings. The past will have been cut off. You think the zombies of today are bad, take a look at Rollerball to see what the future holds.

Do not despair, and remember…. there is always a ‘Johnathan’.

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One comment on “Comfort is Freedom
  1. irdial says:

    Brazil: South America Union Born

    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Published: May 24, 2008

    A new South American union was created as leaders of the continent’s 12 independent nations signed a treaty creating the organization and set out to devise a continental parliament. Some view the union, known as Unasur, as the region’s version of the European Union. Brazil, which organized the meeting in Brasília, where the union was born, wants it to help coordinate defense affairs across South America. But the nations were not able to reach a consensus on how to do that.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/24/world/americas/24briefs-SOUTHAMERICA_BRF.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=login

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