The Future Is HERE

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was idly refreshing my memory on the plot of George Lucas's THX-1138
(American Zoetrope, 1971) in which the title character, played by
Robert Duvall, flees his subterranean, post-apocalyptic, robot-controlled
world after breaking free of his programming by falling in love.
However, in my refresher, it was not the plot of the film that interested
me, but the background. As the story progresses we learn that the
robot masters of the society keep the humans under control with
the use of a combination of state-religion and Big Pharma, making
people take drugs to suppress their emotions. In every human's home
there is a kind of confessional-cum-pharmacy where people talk about
their problems to a computer called OMM, who then dispenses the
appropriate drugs.

If the
drugs fail (or a person manages to avoid taking them) then the government
can actually shut down a person's mind to examine it. This happens
to THX while he is at his job, which apparently has something to
do with nuclear material, causing him to lose control over transportation
of the material and nearly causing a disaster.

While a
familiar plot element from many science fiction novels and films
— Ira Levin's This
Perfect Day
and Aldous Huxley's Brave
New World
are two of the most well-known examples and Ayn
Rand made a contribution herself with Anthem — my familiarity
with George Lucas's work is greater than with any of the others

The background
of THX reminded me of something I had read — something real:
Karen De Coster's posts about the "Freedom
Commission on Mental Health
" and Teen Screen. Teen Screen
is a program established by the Commission to identify mental health
problems in children attending public schools and then provide them
with the medications necessary to combat them at public expense,
saving the innocent children from a lifetime of misery; all because
of the benevolence of the State and Big Pharma. At least, that's
the program's purpose (even if not explicitly stated as such).

In reality,
the program is creating a crisis that does not exist and providing
a solution that is not needed, damning the children to a lifetime
of bureaucratic Hell and dependency on State-administered medication
— I know people who must take Ritalin and similar drugs just
to concentrate when studying or doing homework. Unfortunately, the
Teen Screen website does not have the questionnaires; moreover the
website does not even make any mention of the Freedom Commission
and seems mostly concerned with suicide risks.

But the
has testing transcripts and examples of how Teen Screen violates
federal law and perfectly healthy children get caught up in the
gears of the Machine. For instance, refusing to answer certain questions
on the questionnaire is regarded as a positive screen. Using lack
of evidence as evidence is of course illogical and unscientific
in the extreme, although the method has been used in psychiatry
since Freud founded the "science." More disturbing is
the fact that of the questions, about half of them concern behavior
that every teen-ager experiences.

Once the
high probability of a mental illness or disorder is established
through the rigged test the nightmare begins. First the "patient"
is given (at government expense) psychiatric evaluation where the
quack diagnoses them with one of the "disorders" from
the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a list
of "mental illnesses" created by the American Psychiatric
Association. Some of the "disorders" include Disorder
of Written Expression (poor handwriting), Circadian Rhythm Sleep
Disorder (jet lag), Breathing Related Sleep Disorder (snoring),
Chronic Tax Anxiety Disorder (anxiety over filing tax returns),
Lottery Stress Disorder (feelings of hopelessness when one doesn't
win the lottery), and my personal favorite: Developmental
Arithmetic Disorder
(dislike of doing homework).

Yes, according
to the APA, everyone in America suffers from a mental illness or
disorder and the only solution is to medicate everyone on all-purpose
drugs to keep us happy and obedient and reduce us to peonage to
pay for it all. With all of these "mental disorders" going
around that can be "diagnosed" with a written test and
computer test it would not be surprising if Big Pharma lobbied Congress
to create programs similar to Teen Screen but for college students,
the military, business, and bureaucracy. After all, we cannot have
the future leaders of American science, industry, and government
succumb to debilitating mental illness; nor can we truly be safe
from terrorists if our troops suffer from them either. Perhaps one
day in the future, a psychiatrist will identify Chronic Archophobia
Disorder — the constant predilection of many people to dissent from
the rulers — and we can all be medicated for that silent insanity.

Then the
predictions of THX-1138 will be fulfilled: the state religion
(psychiatry — L. Ron Hubbard referred to it as a religion, and Freud's
success with it inspired him to create Scientology) and Big Pharma
will have produced a perfect society of drug-addicted drones who
obey practically every order. Yes, that is one of the futures already
upon us and one more pillar of the Machine/Empire that can't come
crashing down soon enough.

10, 2008

M. Robare [send him mail]
is a freshman at the University of Massachsetts-Amherst where he
majors in physics and writes for the Daily Collegian.

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