Saturday, February 14, 2009

Violence and micromanagement of the human psyche

"There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening. The Korova milkbar sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence."

A Clockwork Orange


Stanley Kubrick

Tim Dirks wrote in his review:

The frightening, chilling and tantalizing film (a morality play) raises many thematic questions and presents a thought-provoking parable: How can evil be eradicated in modern society? If the state can deprive an individual of his free will, making him 'a clockwork orange,' what does this say about the nightmarish, behavioral modification technologies of punishment and crime? Do we lose our humanity if we are deprived of the free-will choice between good and evil?

A life of violence for Alex and his droogs...a mirror of contemporary society? To a point, yes, and little is actually done save some micromanagement methodologies of a questionable nature to, not cure, but control violent human behavior. The cure, save a Brave New World environment, will probably never happen but society tries assorted methods of controlling adverse human behavior. First we capture the violent, convict [to make it all legal], imprison, medicate, if necessary, and in some rare cases treat...make an attempt to change behavior. And in spite of behavioral changes, the subject will never be released into society. And, sometimes when the crime is so violent and the subject incorrigible, we simply exterminate. For Alex, he was treated by Dr. Brodsky's Ludovico Technique [aversion therapy]. The protagonist, suffering much physical and mental pain declares: "You've proved to me that all this ultra-violence and killing is wrong, wrong, and terribly wrong. I've learned my lesson, sir. I see now what I've never seen before. I'm cured, praise God!...I see that it's wrong! It's wrong because it's like against society. It's wrong because everybody has the right to live and be happy without being tolchocked and knifed." In the end Alex sheds the therapy and regains his freewill and lives a life of fantasy and violence. I seriously doubt that science will permanently alter human behavior and eliminate the presence of evil/violence.

In memory of my old friend George Schlosser.

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