Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Avoiding War, Murdering Souls

The other night I re-watched the movie Equilibrium. (Written and directed by Kurt Wimmer, 2002.) The story follows the journey of John Preston (Christian Bale) who is a law-enforcement officer and warrior-priest. The setting is a future dystopia (post-WW III) where the State has outlawed feelings and artistic expression, so as to ensure there will be no more war.

How can you require people to not feel? Easy: each and every citizen is required to take a daily injection of drugs. (Prozium) Voila! No more war or conflicts of any kind … except for the sense-offenders who, refusing the drugs, secretly cherish Beethoven, revel in the poetry of Yeats, fall in love, and adore their pets. Anyone caught experiencing emotions or possessing objects with Emotional Content are in violation of the law. These people, when discovered, are summarily incinerated, along with their memorabilia and art.

When Preston decides to begin to secretly stop taking his daily dose of Prozium, he starts discovering beauty and love, anger and heartache. He also begins seeing that, while wars have ceased, the State has declared a war against individual freedom and self-expression, and is committing heinous crimes against its own citizens.

Avoiding War But Murdering Souls
Whether it is the external wars of family conflicts or marital debacles, or the internal wars of, say, self-hatred or bitterness, so many people “deal” with the accompanying tumultuous emotions by some form of Prozium: the favorites are numbing-agents (drugs, booze or comfort foods), escapism (TV, recreation, or work), and denial (I am doing GREAT). Some of us devise cocktails that include all three! And sure enough, the pain “disappears”!

The problem here is that “the absence of war” is not the same thing as achieving peace. Those emotions that have now been medicated into silence or placed into a vault you never open, were seeking to communicate with you. When you cut off this communication, you are committing an act of violence against your soul, inflicting wound after wound, and are slowly bleeding to death.

Refusing to feel what you feel in your relationships also leads, metaphorically, to acts of violence. Preston actually witnessed his sense-offending wife being taken away for execution and he didn’t experience the slightest bit of emotion. Just as the Zombie-like State in Equilibrium had no qualms about devouring the living, individuals who ignore, stifle, or deny their own emotions and, thus, their souls, don’t lose any sleep over all the dead bodies and relationships stacking up around them. If my soul doesn’t matter, neither does yours.

The Road to Hell is paved with Prozium.  

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2013

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