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A fellow pilgrim once asked me as I applied for the 10th flat on my TradeMe watchlist, (I was starting to feel a tad rejected by this time, but you will be pleased to know, or possibly not care and be rather indifferent about my accommodation status, that I have found a lovely new abode) “What is the ultimate injustice to you?”
Inquiring of my worldview, the pilgrim asked me a stark question and quite quickly the answer sprung to my tongue. Not the sour taste buds side, or the sweet side, that tip where words are or are not formed, I replied…
“Control”. (No, not Anton Corbijn’s incredible biopic about post-modern Shakespearian icon Ian Curtis’ star-crossed life) but the invisible hand that attempts and succeeds to govern both society and the individual. If freedom is the ultimate gift to us then surely logically, would control not be the ultimate injustice in its various forms?
So who are the enemies of this wonderful so-called gift of freewill?
The Media—even in its movies, music, news, papers, magazines? Yes, you should even question what you are reading now—I can handle criticism.
Poor little Coraline discovered that her so-called freedom under the other mother was actually a prison in disguise. The only way to test her freedom was to perhaps ask for the key?
Celebrities—or as I like to call them, ‘big faces’. These individuals we celebrate and are subterfugley coerced by to look like, smell like, sound like, even believe like.
Though entertainment was once a public form of appeasing the masses, now our celebration and amusement seems to me another way of handing over our precious cargo.
Political Power—Just this morning we were discussing silencing the minority. It seems that anyone who disagrees with the majority is considered a loner, fringe-ey activist, and frightfully so, a terrorist. If we no longer have the right to have our say, apart from ticking or crossing a box on a piece of paper, then how will we be heard? How has such an educated, mostly literate and socially aware society been reduced to being handed a tick and a cross? Why don’t you just hand us a crayola changeable and be done with it? Come to think of it, it kind of does look like one?
Freedom has been cried for, bled for, lied for, died for. And yet I get the sneaking suspicion that we don’t really use it that often here, in the “land of the long white cloud”.
It seems, if anything, that our minds have been clouded over to keep us from seeing our cage.
Howard Beale’s infamous rant in the 1976 classic Network is quite a telling reflection and could even be applied to our current scenarios:
Because you people, and sixty-two million other Americans, are listening to me right now. Because less than three percent of you people read books! Because less than fifteen percent of you read newspapers! Because the only truth you know is what you get over this tube. Right now, there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn’t come out of this tube! This tube is the Gospel, the ultimate revelation. This tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers… This tube is the most awesome God-damned force in the whole godless world, and woe is us if it ever falls in to the hands of the wrong people.
I think Howard is really hitting the nail on the head here. He’s saying, think for yourselves, break the hive mentality, don’t let “the tube” be your great dicatator.
I like what another Howard says to his beloved friend…
Howard Moon: I’m an explorer.
Vince Noir: I thought you were a writer?
Howard Moon: I do many things. I span the genres—they call me the genre spanner.
Vince Noir: Yeah, they call you the spanner.
Maybe Vince Noir and Howard Moon (our also post-modern philosphers) are collaborating on a societal truth, that might well possibly hold the vital ingredient and conclusion to this rant?
Maybe we can be both explorers of freedom in our own worlds and simultaneously a spanner in the great infamous machine called “control”…