We worked our way through the next two instalments of Atlas Shrugged and while there were good bits, it fell apart, losing the whole original purpose of the story. I’m sure Ayn Rand would not have been pleased as it declined into a mix between Dynasty and a John Cusack-style love story. Not that there’s much wrong with John Cusack – in fact, I often pity his character for the type of women he’s expected to pretend to love in these films, just that..well, the moment when John Galt was sanding a boat…yes, sanding a boat, the classic scene to help an audience know a man is sincere, thoughtful and caring. It didn’t fit in this film at all.
It reminds me though of another film Hollywood has proffered upon us. It’s actually one of those ones that you are left wondering how did that even get made? It’s the Truman show.
In this excellent film, Jim Carrey leads a seemingly average life in a seemingly average town, with seemingly average people. One or two things occur though which begin to make him wonder whether all is what it seems. Seemingly solid, reassuring and trustworthy structures – both physical and mental are exposed for what they really are – hollow facades, frauds and well, again if you haven’t seen it, I won’t ruin it. Watch it.
After watching you will fall into two camps. You’ll either think it was all a fantasy story and get on with your own familiar life and never think of it again. Probably a familiar average life in a seemingly average town, with seemingly average people. Just like Jim there. Alternatively, you may begin to wonder about those seemingly solid, reassuring and trustworthy structures that exist in your life and begin to ask questions.
I’ve already mentioned the welfare state, but look at it again. What is it but a state-managed layer that steals from one set of people to redistribute from another set of people, using the power of “law” to justify their actions, while taking a healthy cut for themselves along the way? What kind of “law” is it anyway when they get to write the laws themselves to suit their purposes? Think of it a bit like the TV producers in the Truman show, getting buttons pressed, actors to play roles so that the desired stimulus is fired within Truman himself to achieve the desired result.
How about money? There’s a Truman-esque illusion if ever there was one. We all think of a fistful of pound notes or those electronic on screen credits when viewing your bank account as money. They aren’t. It’s just currency and worse, it’s fiat currency -a one that derives it’s value from the mandate of the state, not one that people actually choose to use themselves. The only true money is gold and silver and every now and then the illusion is exposed. This too is right there in Atlas Shrugged, the moment Hank decides to shrug, to walk away from everything he once held dear, he quietly opens his drawer and removes the one possession he has decided to take to his new life at Galt’s Gulch – a solitary gold bar.
Of course, Truman can only believe in this world if everyone colludes to make him believe. The woman who plays his wife is a major factor in this. When he has doubts, it’s her job to persuade him otherwise, while simultaneously trying to sell what the advertisers want sold. The whole show is brainwashing. Poor Truman.
So many of us live in Truman shows without even realising it. In fact, most of us do and while I like to believe I am an aware adult I bet there are even massive frauds being perpetrated against me that I know nothing about. I realise now I was right to fear school as a 4 year-old, it is the very place where most of the brainwashing to condition us is done.
Children are the most susceptible of all. As Oz said in Auf Wiedersehen Pet, with his views on dog control. They are bound to believe that the influences close to them are telling them the truth and presenting the world as it really is. It’s hard for a child to see that quite possibly they are not – whether their motives in doing so are accidental or malicious is another question altogether. It’d be a shame for a child to then grow up into Truman and learn about the lies and untruths they had been told as youngsters. There would be no way for them to recover those lost years. I sense they’d also be very angry with those adults that had misled them or schemed against their best interests during that crucial time.
So consider some of the posts in this blog as the doorway to the truth, just like the moment Truman discovers the door in the film. I hope it still opens for you, if you ever find it.