Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Coerced goodness is not goodness at all

"Why We Need The Giver" is about a film that will appear in theaters at the end of next week. I rarely go to theaters any more but this may get me to one.
.... In this future world, the sun shines, homes are clean and white, and children ride bikes in safety and security through well-manicured paths. This dystopia looks a lot like utopia. Until you dig deeper.

There is a cost. Differences are negated. Dissent is hushed away as distressingly impolite. Passion is outlawed. Even the idea of choice is an archaic concept. The state dictates your mate, your family, your career. Prefer loneliness or the life of a ne’er-do-well? Too bad. Not an option. For your own benefit, your future is determined.

Music? Too emotionally liberating. Family? Irrational and unpredictable. Love? Too messy, too uncontrolled, as likely to end in murder as in bliss. After all, if the individual is allowed to choose, he or she might choose poorly. ....

For perfect order, those who don’t fall inside the lines must be sacrificed. A tyranny that lays claim to the inside of your own mind, for your own good, allows no dissent, no differing views. It can only end in re-education camps, some sort of opiate, or death. ....

The Giver is concerned less with the how—the specifics of Jonas’s rebellion—than the why. And the why is where it soars. In beautiful flashes of image and emotion, we feel, rather than are told, the why. The thrill of danger on a sled ride. The smile on a bride’s face. The pride on a father’s. The agony of losing a friend. The heroism of a man standing alone in front of a line of tanks.

Without freedom to do wrong, there can be no right. Without the ability to choose evil, the option of choosing good is negated. Coerced goodness is not goodness at all, but something else entirely. .... [more]