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Similarity, Community, Values and Human Nature - Part X


All Of Us Are Prisoners

You have expressed your conclusion that 'Human Nature' allows for the commission of evil, but that the ability to overcome this failing is possible through man's efforts. We disagree on this view. I will not attempt to dissuade you from your view at this time. Nor will I provide a litany of examples where the evil actions have taken place. Any sane and perceptive person who is capable of observing the historical record, must conclude that man is capable of committing the greatest cruelty, war and tyranny against his fellow man. But for us to reach a correct understanding of 'Human Nature', we need to seek the 'Similarities' that are within us. The urge that drives men to resist the forces and influences to conform from governments and social mores, is central to his being. This requirement of 'Human Nature' has been seen in the lives of Spartacus, Thomas More, Joan of Arc, William Wallace and Patrick Henry. All were willing to give up their lives for being true to their integrity of being Free. The 'Individual'may not always, or even frequently, demonstrate this drive; but this quality is essential to achieve the his 'Human Nature'.

I will use another example from a media program that produced a series that is the quintessential analogy for man's resistance against modern society. Several links are included:


This series, The Prisoner, captures the conflict in our modern technological society is a way that no other mass distributed visual art project has ever reached. The following will best describe the level that is best to view this work:

The Prisoner As Allegory is a detailed analysis and commentary of each episode which traces the evolution of the ongoing story, from the Prisoner's early attempts to escape to his eventual attempts to subvert and destroy the authority of the Village. The series is examined as an allegory - a symbolic story depicting the modern condition - with each episode focusing on different aspects of our society - such as education, psychology, gender relations, politics and social control.

The episodes are grouped along lines suggested by the mythological archetypes of the inner, allegorical journey of the mythical hero. The final episodes are examined in detail in terms of political, social and spiritual interpretations. We examine who Number 1 really is and look at the finally circular, symbolic nature of the unfolding story.

The second description adds accordingly:

Many search for symbolism and hidden meaning in The Prisoner, and volumes of interpretation and speculation have been written in the thirty years since the series premiered. The Prisoner has even been the focus of university courses as well as a few doctoral theses.

Did Patrick McGoohan anticipate the level of attention the series has generated? Does he still delight as new viewers attempt to solve the puzzle? Surprisingly, McGoohan has on at least one occasion stated that he finds it "marvellous" that people discussed the meaning of The Prisoner, but that if they did actually understand it, he would appreciate them explaining it to him! He generally refutes notions of hidden meanings, and regarding characterizations of the series as "Kafka-esque," he claims he has never read any Kafka!

Reportedly, McGoohan's primary intention was to produce a fast-moving adventure series involving the loss of freedom and dehumanization of the individual. He says that, because of the experimental, arty and "pop" nature of the 1960's, he mixed some of those elements in as well. The remainder he credits to being dreamed up by the art director, the script editor and the various writers.

His denials aside, there is no doubt that genius was at play here, particularly in episodes such as "Free For All" and "Fall Out" which were scripted by McGoohan, the latter in seclusion and under complete secrecy. No matter what one believes or what meaning one wishes to derive from The Prisoner, the series remains today one of the most original and intriguing works ever brought to the small screen, and continues to appeal to its appreciators in a variety of ways and at many levels.

What does it all mean? Perhaps it's up to you to decide. Be seeing you.

If you have not had the good fortunate to see the series, consider taking the opportunity to seek it out.

Rahner statement: "The ability to put reality into question is what constitutes the human being", is the fundamental message that No 6, struggles for his 'Individual' Freedom against a Village 'Community' of oppression and control. This 'Community' is not that we seek, but what we flee. The 'Situation Ethics' of the Village, the 'Value' that failure is not tolerated and the coercive force, or its threat from No 2, requires that the 'Individual' resist to attain his 'Human Nature'. The spiritual aspect of this struggle, bears upon our search for understanding this 'Similarity' of our common 'Human Nature'.

The next topic that we will look at will examine if a sign in harmony with 'Nature' and a crowning achievement of 'Civilization' may have an insight into this 'Human Nature' and our place in this 'Nature'. You will either become intrigued or reject the entire topic.


It is the nature of slavery to render its victims so abject that at last, fearing to be free, they multiply their own chains. You can liberate a freeman, but you cannot liberate a slave.

Louis J. Halle

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