As I am waiting for the chance to go to the movies and watch the 3rd movie in the Hunger Games series, I am revisiting the 1st one and again I am strongly reminded that this is not just another suspense movie where teenagers kills each other.
There are some serious underlying political and human rights topics here, which is probably why the movie speaks to so many of us. It portraits a farfetched game in a farfetched society. We all know it is far form the United States today. But, is it really that farfetched?
We are introduced to a society where you have the privileged and the underdogs, and when the less privileged are causing riots to voice their hopelessness, they are struck down, with blunt force. And, as if that were not enough, they are since kept in check, by sacrificing some of their young ones every year, making that sacrifice edible for the rest of the population by making it into a game.
The people in power see fit to change the rules as they go, to make sure that there is enough intimidation to sustain their power. And, when that is not enough, and a young girl stands up with courage, they answer with real threats. Not towards her, because she may seem fearless, but towards her family – hey, we all know that works far better.
The game is a survival-of-the-fittest game, and an unfair one, because the privileged few were provided with the necessary training and protection.
I am no expert in politics, but I think I have just described several societies and countries throughout the world, though out the time. There are societies that are less than democratic, and rule people with fear, we have recent examples of that.
But, even the countries that claim to be democratic, are we any better? Are we not just part of those privileged few who can sit here and watch the news, unliking it on Facebook and sleep well at night? We can complain about others who travel to Africa to help, being afraid they would bring Ebola back into our privileged lives. Money does not help against Ebola, at least not yet (until we have a treatment), so let it be their problem. We are, at least rarely, incarcerated for something that we did not do, or can not defend ourselves, because there is no such system. So, as long as we have our lawyers and the money to pay for them, we let it remain “their” problem. We let “them” kill one another.
It may not seem a game to us. But as humans we tend to distinguish between “them” and “us”. It is an instinct that we have, in order to survive. That is something our reptile brain subconsciously reacts to. When we stick to people who reminds us of ourselves, we have a better chance of survival, because we protect our “own”. But, should we not have evolved from there?
We often think that we have, and we even have many good examples that it happens, that we use our frontal cortex and our empathy, and act in ways that are beneficial for others. But, when it comes down to it, we still have that reptile brain, and if the “game” can only pick one winner, it has to be me! And not you!