I have been a fan of the cult sixties television series, The Prisoner, since it was re-shown in the Eighties. It fascinated me and fired up my intellectual reasoning like no other show I had watched up to that point.
As a librarian/researcher who is involved in the dissemination and interpretation of information, it speaks loudly to me of the huge value of knowledge and how it can be distorted and warped to fit a narrative, re-write historical events or brainwash the ‘plebs’. The storyline of how the character of Number Six arrives in the Village is because he has resigned from his job (from what we can gather from subsequent episodes, this is in some kind of ‘intelligence/secret service’ role) and the knowledge or secrets he holds in his head is described as “valuable”.
We never know the “side” of the individuals who run the village and the unanswered question of who are the jailers is explored in a few episodes like “Checkmate”, “The Schizoid Man”. In the Sixties, “the other side” would have referred to the Russians or Chinese or, alternatively, is the Village run by our own side to “protect national security”, a phrase we hear so much of in today’s political sphere.
Number Two, the head of the Village, is obsessed with obtaining the information held within Number Six’s brain but without damaging it. He wants to have the ultimate satisfaction of holding the knowledge of Number Six and to get his total, unconditional surrender. If they damaged his brain, a “cabbage” Number Six would not understand what he has become. A fully sentient Number Six made to witness his own failure appeals to the various incarnations of his “torturers” (No.2). These range from the purely sadistic (“It’s Your Funeral”, “Hammer Into Anvil”, “Checkmate”) to the more genial (“Schizoid Man”, “Chimes of Big Ben”, “Arrival” and “Free For All”).
One of the concepts that fascinates me about The Prisoner is the concept of the “cult of the individual”. This is mentioned in detail in the episode “Checkmate” but is a current that runs through most of the episodes. From the first act of rebellion by Number Six in Arrival where he throws away his hat and his badge with his number on, to how he drives the sadistic Number 2 in “Hammer Into Anvil” to his own destruction. He is not going to play by the rules and become one of the brainwashed sheep in the Village. He will stand out and be himself.
In society today we have seen both with Brexit and Covid-19 how brainwashed our society has become and how noticeable that brainwashing is in many under the age of 40. The Sixties were all about challenging the “norms” of society, experimenting with new ideologies and pushing the societal envelope. In the 90’s, this has been turned on its head and Cultural Marxism is now King. Everything has been dumbed down to a low level, education, television programmes, literature and the mainstream media drones that infest our waking hours.
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Being an individual is now a heinous crime, standing out and voicing unpopular opinions is a crime. We only have to look at Katie Hopkins, Nigel Farage, Tommy Robinson, Sargon of Akkad (to name a few) to see how the cult of the individual is frowned upon and discouraged. You are an outcast, a pariah, a troublemaker. The Deep State and MSM put labels on you such as “right wing”, “racist”, “agitators” and “thick” because you dare to go against the grain and point out that many in society do not share the same “warped sense of reality” like everyone else. The other prisoners in the Village talk about the weather, willingly participate in the experimentation as if it is a good thing (the episode “The General” is a good example of this) and continue to be an amorphous blob of “controlled putty”. This is how society today views us and wants us to be. Reject BLM, the Covid-19 scam or call out the Deep State and you become dangerous. You have to be silenced or, in drastic cases, removed from the planet.
In the Village, the police are represented by Rover, the huge balloon/bubble that suffocates it’s victims for becoming uncompliant. Rover is the “prison guard”, Number 2 is the “prison warden”. In today’s society, Rover has become sedated. We have a cucked police force, taking the knee to savage black protesters, indulging and turning a blind eye to the rape of underage girls and protecting savage cultures who are the perpetrators of these rapes, terrified of upsetting “cultural differences”. However, if you are an individual who puts bacon on a mosque doorknob, writes hurty words on social media or flies a “white lives matter” banner, then you are locked up and you may never see the light of day again.
It appears to me that many today are like the brainwashed inhabitants of the Village. One of the posters on the wall of the Labour Exchange in the first episode “Arrival” states that “Questions are a burden to others, Answers a prison to oneself”. This, to me, is our society at the present time. Don’t ask awkward questions, don’t question the narrative, and don’t question the media or the politicians. Keep watching shit TV where we bastardize and destroy your culture, call you out as evil for past historical events, you can watch Reality TV which is no more real than the people in it. We are all used and abused, threatened and mocked and told to take it because everyone else is doing it. You will submit, you will be happy watching soaps and reality TV perversion because we tell you to.
I for one celebrate the cult of the individual. Thanks to Patrick McGoohan and The Prisoner, it made me realise at eighteen that I was not alone. I wasn’t weird or peculiar for asking questions and wanting to seek knowledge about what was really going on in our society. Being an individual is to be proud of these things. I will not conform to the Village way of life. Like Number Six, I tear off my societal “badge” and throw it away. No-one labels an individual or tells it what to do.
In The Prisoner, Number Six only gives a very superficial nod to becoming “naturalised” to Village life, mostly to suit his own ends and enquiries. Even though, with the last two episodes, we don’t know if he is the master of himself (he is Number One and always has been?) or is the final clip of him going through the doors of his London home meaning he is now one of them or is society The Village and one that we have to mould ourselves to, accepting bits of it but rejecting other parts of it. Many a dissertation student who has based his or her work on the Prisoner has their own interpretation.
All I know is that the Village is real and the concepts contained within The Prisoner are more relevant now than they have ever been. I see it every day in big and small ways. I am definitely not a number. I am a free woman and an individual with a mind of my own.
© Middleearthbarbie 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file