A few days ago, I managed to watch a rerun of the 1976 sci-fi movie Logan’s Run . Set in the 23rd century it depicts a domed city, whose inhabitants exist in a hi-tech materialistic Utopia where all needs are met and live a hedonistic lifestyle .
But there is one drawback to this ‘heaven’ . At the age of 30, all inhabitants must undergo “Carrousel” in public where they are vapourised by the computer who controls the city, and believe they will be ‘renewed’ when in fact, they are terminated .
Without going into too much detail and spoiling it for anyone, the two heroes played by Michael York and Jenny Agutter escape from the city to discover life outside its walls and also that life does go beyond the age of 30 . To be honest, it’s worth watching for a young Jenny Agutter, in a very skimpy outfit, which gets less and less as the film proceeds . Watch it if you can .
But what struck me was the similarity between the hedonistic prison in Logan’s Run and the brutal totalitarian society in 1984 . In 1984, the proles are spied on and controlled by Big Brother who uses scarcity and war to keep everyone in their place but in Logan’s Run, the computer ensures people’s needs are met to sedate them and keep the public compliant .
In the 20th century both types of control have been used . In Nazi Germany, Soviet Union and China overt methods of repression were used to control the populace and dissent was never tolerated for long . The State was all and the public’s energy was put into its survival but very few ever managed to reap material rewards, apart from an elite .
After the 2nd World War, the West decided to use the Logan’s Run form of control . Governments would try and meet the needs of their publics and with work, TV and booze managed to keep everyone in check . It gave the outward appearance of democracy but as the saying goes “the government always won” . But like the eastern bloc, it appears the western post war material world is now collapsing and who knows what will take its place .
With hindsight, we can see both the eastern ‘1984’ and western ‘Logan’s Run’ worlds were essentially the same place, a prison for its peoples . One may have been more comfortable but still a prison, with death the only certainty, as in Logan’s Run .
At the end of Logan’s Run, the two heroes return to the city to tell the inhabitants there is life outside its walls and with this knowledge, the city self destructs and the populace venture outside for the first time . We are in a similar position at present, as all the systems of the world implode .
But the battle is not in the physical world but in our Mind . We have only scratched the surface of who we are but are too afraid to leave our metaphorical city, where we feel safe . The control mechanisms in the world are reflections of the barbed wire in our Mind . It is safe to leave the ‘City’ and go outside . There is nothing to fear .