I 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 mentioned.
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 website teenscreentruth.com 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.
January 10, 2008