Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blogathon 44: I'm Coming Down Fast but Don't Let Me Break You Part Three

[Continuing my discussion of The Programme.]

Max is an argument against the validity of free will. First, he's a liberal hippie type despite that being his programmed personality. Yet, that's who he is, it's all he's ever known himself to be. It's what he defends and what he sacrifices when he realises that it's not doing him any good. When he's reprogrammed, it's like that other Max never existed. He becomes everything that the United States government wants him to be and he keeps on being that, doing things he would have never done before and hate anyone else for doing. He perceives nothing wrong with, though. No matter what they program him to be, that's what he is. It's a recognition that an absence of free will would not actually affect a person; as far as he's concerned, he has free will even if he consciously knows he's been programmed to behave a certain way -- because the programming makes him think it's his choice!

Senator Joe, on the other hand, struggles with his programming quite a bit. He breaks free of it in a sense. His struggle with what he should do, who he should be is never finalised. Even when he shows up to back up Max in the fight against the Russians, there's not a feeling that that's his final choice of who he is. He shows up because he thinks it's the right thing to do. That doesn't mean he sides with the US government ultimately. But, his showing up to fight the Russians is his choice. Too bad he dies in the fight.

The Dolls function in the same way. They were programmed to embody specific ideals and some of them do struggle with it or take those ideals to a strange logical conclusion like Stalingrad's insistance on raping an American woman because that's what the Red Army did. Mostly, they are completely loyal to their maker and their ideals.

Everything is politics in The Programme. It's not necessarily a traditional argument about free will, it's simply about ideology and politics with these constructions as pawns. Max was meant to be the German superman, was taken by the Americans at the end of World War 2 before he was grown, meant to make him the American superman, and, instead, some random guy turned him into a liberal pacifist. He never had a chance, honestly. None of them did. They represent the fictional constructs we have that exist to justify and embody specific ideas. Max is basically a character that is written one way by someone and, then, that writer is fired and his personality shifts to suit the new needs.

To be continued in 30 minutes...

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