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Electric Dreams S01E07 - A Short Analysis

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posted on Jan, 28 2018 @ 11:41 AM
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WARNING: there will be spoilers!

Just finished watching episode 7 of Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, which is a show very similar to Black Mirror, and dare I say just as good. I wouldn't say this is the best episode of the 10 but I feel it contains some interesting philosophical criticisms aimed towards globalism and the group mentality. The episode follows a depressed middle aged man named Philbert who is one of the few remaining workers in a factory which has been largely automated by robots. The episode portrays a future world where North America is a single "mega-nation" and although people are told their vote still matters there is only one presidential candidate they can choose from.

The presidential candidate at this time is a well presented female lady with the slogan "yes us can". She uses typical socialist rhetoric crafted to appeal to our emotions and sense of belonging by constantly reiterating how important it is to work together as a group without any division. When asked about the rigged election process she claims it is still important to vote because it shows "solidarity". During a speech one night Philbert notices her say "kill all others" and at first everyone acts like nothing happens, then they try to play it off as by saying she misspoke. No one seems to know what "others" means at first but over time it comes to mean anyone who opposes her candidacy.

At this point "the candidate" fully embraces the phrase and begins putting up billboards saying "kill all others". The vast majority of people support the candidate and they begin beating up people on the street and even murdering them if they are found to be an "other". Philbert has become jaded and sees how unfair the election process is, and he quickly becomes disturbed by the billboards and upon seeing a mob of people attack a women he confronts them and attempts to protect the women, for which he gets into trouble. After multiple incidents he becomes fed up and attempts to phone into a live debate with the candidate in order to convey that the violence needs to stop.

I wont say exactly how it ends but it's not good news for old Philbert. In response to his death the candidate says something I found particularly disturbing: "We want to believe the best in ourselves, but before we can access our best we must first acknowledge and root out the worst in ourselves". I find this disturbing because it's a mentality I'm seeing slowly arise in different forms, a desire to rid society of the "deplorables" and create a world where there are no disagreements or differences of opinion. Overall I feel the episode is a political commentary warning against a future where we give up our sovereignty and aim for a socialist utopia, aka techno-communism.

Communist ideologies, although seemingly righteous and appealing to our sense of community, inherently promote mob behavior and collectivism. Almost anything becomes permissible in the name of the "greater good", people can have careers forced upon regardless of their life dreams, an entire future decided for them at birth because that's the most "logical" and efficient way to do it. And when the herd mentality really gets out of control killing isn't a big step to take, anyone should be shocked when they research Mass killings under Communist regimes, Hitler is a small fry compared to these people.

The aptly named "Great Leap Forward" is a particularly disturbing example I only recently learned about. It is estimated around 50 million people died due to this social campaign by the Communist Party of China. Wikipedia states "The campaign was led by Chairman Mao Zedong and aimed to rapidly transform the country from an agrarian economy into a socialist society through rapid industrialization and collectivization". Mao Zedong also "argued that the best way to finance industrialization was for the government to take control of agriculture, thereby establishing a monopoly over grain distribution and supply".

Of course these ill considered policies led to a great deal of poverty, and although millions were killed due to violence, most of the deaths were caused by famine. Wikipedia goes on to say "The ban on private holdings ruined peasant life at its most basic level, according to Mirsky. Villagers were unable to secure enough food to go on living because they were deprived by the commune system of their traditional means of being able to rent, sell, or use their land as collateral for loans". If it's not the insane mobs of people that kill you then it will be a lack of resources required to keep yourself alive because the government took everything from you.

We need to seriously consider the cost of creating a one world government where everything is highly centralized and our choices are highly limited. All communist systems call for a highly centralized means of production so that they can control levels of equality, imagine if you're choice of cell phones was limited to some government manufactured models. The mere idea of that causes my soul to shrivel up and die a little bit. It may seem like the most logical and progressive way forward but it's toxic, people are never going to agree on everything and nor should they. Building a cult-like group mentality is not at all healthy and wont lead to a good future.
edit on 28/1/2018 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 28 2018 @ 11:44 AM
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posted on Jan, 28 2018 @ 12:05 PM
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originally posted by: ChaoticOrder
Communist ideologies, although seemingly righteous and appealing to our sense of community, inherently promote mob behavior and collectivism.


Pure BS. Marx's criticisms of laissez faire capitalism ring true to me. Anyone with half a brain would agree. Only a fool ignores the obvious:




posted on Jan, 28 2018 @ 12:10 PM
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Are YOU an other?




posted on Jan, 28 2018 @ 12:14 PM
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a reply to: ausername

Damn straight lol.



posted on Jan, 28 2018 @ 12:25 PM
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a reply to: dfnj2015

Interesting video, I will respond to most of the points made in it shortly.



posted on Jan, 28 2018 @ 01:56 PM
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a reply to: dfnj2015

Ok lets go through each point made in the video one by one:

1. Modern work is alienated

This argument seems to boils down to "people cannot do fulfilling work under capitalism", which is a terrible argument for several reasons. First of all, and as I already mentioned, a communist system may pre-allocate people to specific careers to ensure there is always the required number of professionals in each field. That is clearly the most logical way to maximize security and safety for the greatest number of people. Secondly, when the video talks about people working in factories what it is really critisizing is industrialization, which I have already shown can occur under communist systems. Under a capitalist system that factory worker can choose to go get an education and aim for the career they truly want in their heart. Buildings in communist cities often look very similar because they are all based on the same plans, and let me tell you the sight of that tends to alienate one from the feeling of happiness and fulfillment. Capitalism allows for more product diversity than any other economic system because it promotes competition instead of centralized manufactures. Under capitalism people can express their individuality in a way that no communist system has ever been able to because they shun individualism in preference of collectivism.

The Venus project is one of the best and well known examples of what I would call techno-communism and it promotes the exact same ideas of centralized manufacturers in order to create everything we need. The idea being people can work on anything they like and get everything they need for for free. Of course if everything was perfectly automated and no one had to work then it's possible for people to work on anything they want and I have to admit that sounds pretty good, but there still flaws in this idea, some of which I discussed in my recent thread titled Debunking Post Capitalism. These flaws include things such as the fact there are always going to be items which are scarce and without money there's no way to decide who should own them. Or if someone needs a lot of resources for a project but there's limited rations to go around, they can never get those resources. On an even broader level, if people didn't work consistent hours I argue society would collapse. Who's going run all the businesses and services that humans require in order to maintain this complex modern society we have? We need politicians to pass new laws and regulations, or can we just leave that to machines as well? Many jobs simply cannot be automated without self-aware general intelligence and that's not automation, it's slave labor if the machine is conscious.

2. Modern work is insecure

I think this point is best summed up when the narrator of the video says "we're terrified of being abandoned, communism isn't just an economic theory, understood emotionally it expresses a deep seeded longing that we always have a place in the worlds heart, that we will not be cast out". There are so many points to pick apart in this statement... I would begin by pointing out that communist systems literally encourage a lack of jobs, but for the same of argument lets assume we're talking about the type of communism where they encourage industrialization. Under that type of system you're highly likely to have a specific job forced upon you and you may not be allowed to do work which contributes nothing useful to society even if it's fulfilling for you, taking us back to point 1. The job may be very secure just like most government jobs are in todays world but is the cost really worth it? Sure everyone has a job which is useful and they know they're adding something to society that someone else needs, especially for people who fulfill critical needs like doctors because without them there might not be enough doctors to treat all the sick people and that would be a tragedy for the greater good.

My response to this point is basically "get over it and stop letting fear rule you". Life is going to throw you challenges at times, we will all face the loss of loved ones and that is far worse than losing any job. If you cannot handle lifes simpler trials then how will you ever cope with the truly tough ones? Also there is a strong appeal to the sense of belonging once again, like being rejected by your peers is the worst thing that could possibly happen. This is a common trend I see in communist thinking, that it's best to conform to society in order to avoid being cast out, it suppresses free thought and different opinions and is another terrible side effect of collectivism. They worship the commune above all else while trampling all over individual liberty as if it meant nothing. Lastly, communists often try to tell me communism is "just an economic theory", but as the narrator even admits it's more than that, it's emotionally driven and constructed. As I recently said in another thread, Socialism is also a set of ideological principals upon which those economic theories are based, and it takes a certain type of mindset to agree with those ideologies.

Just because an economic system seems righteous and makes you feel good inside doesn't mean it will work the way you expect it to, especially when the system in question was designed with an emotional underpinning. It is naive to support an economic system based only on your emotions or the virtues behind that system. Cold hard facts and science are what work in this world, not feelings or visions of utopia. And I know much of what I've said may sound some what heartless but I believe the things I'm saying ultimately because I believe free market capitalism is the best way for the largest number of people to attain the highest possible living standards. Well maybe it's not the best possible system but it's far better than any communist system I've ever seen proposed and history is all the proof we should need of which system works better and which gives more power to individuals. This is also just as much about the philosophical principle of individual liberty, because without that we may as well have no soul. It's not my responsibility to help society by becoming a doctor if we need more doctors, but I can choose to do that if I wish. An over-emotional obsession to end all suffering entirely will get us no where.

To be continued...



posted on Jan, 28 2018 @ 03:09 PM
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a reply to: dfnj2015

3. Workers get paid while capitalists get rich

And under communism no one's rich and many people get underpaid. You get equality at the expense of prosperity. I'd much rather live in a society where I at least have a chance to get rich than one where I do not. Hong Kong has the highest degree of economic freedom in the world with very low taxes, one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world, however the average income per household is very high and the standards of living are extremely high. Wikipedia states that "Hong Kong has one of the longest life expectancies of any country or territory in the world". Also there are regulations and natural balancing forces which will prevent business from exploiting workers beyond a certain point because they will quit and find a job else where, or the company will simply fail because the quality of their product or service reduced substantially as a result of their cost cutting efforts. I have seen many companies who try to cut costs and then have it backfire dramatically when customers stop buying the item or stop paying for the service because the employees are doing a terrible job since they aren't paid enough and have no motivation.

Also there's nothing stopping anyone from going out and creating a business which pays its employees fairly, many already do in fact. Also, the narrator presents this idea that asking for more than what it cost you to create something is equivalent to exploitation is seriously flawed. That added value is because the product has more utility to those who purchase than those who don't. For example a painter may go buy some paint at a cost which is higher than the whole sale price but he may then proceed to use that paint to create some art which is worth much more than the paint, thus making a profit by selling the art to someone who sees utility in the painting. It's no different to farmers trading a horse for a pig, they will only trade if they think the items they will get in return has more utility to them compared to the item they already have. Of course capitalism does have problems with monopolization and that is one problem I will grant is valid against capitalism but I think government-corporate collusion has a lot to do with it, particularly the bailing out of large companies when they fail.

4. Capitalism is very unstable

I don't necessarily disagree with this point, however I don't think the narrator really understands the reasons behind it. He seems to pin it on overabundance or overproduction, because capitalism is so efficient and so good at creating stuff it creates more than we need, leaving many people unemployed. Well firstly I don't really see how this is so bad considering that is the apparent goal of things like the Venus Project; to create such abundance no one ever has to work again. As I said it would be unstable if people stopped working, kind of ironic he's admitting that now. However that's not really the main cause of bubbles and busts in a free market capitalist economy because unemployed rates don't really shift that rapidly and it's a rather small percentage of the population who are totally unemployed. What really causes the unstable market forces is complex economic forces primarily driven by banks and speculators. For example the global debt crisis, was as the name suggests, a crisis caused by toxic debt assets. It doesn't help that we have a debt based money system or that the federal reserve often makes bubbles worse by kicking them along and letting them grow instead of letting natural market forces play out.

Essentially I believe some bumps and dips along the way are unavoidable and that's just the nature of the free market, but they should be minimal when the free market is working properly without humans trying to guide it. Having said that I agree with the basic point the narrator makes about unemployment being seen as a bad thing when really it should be seen as freedom. I've always believed humans work far too much and live far too little, we are told from birth we need to go to school, get a job where we spend most of the daylight hours, get married and have kids, work until we cannot work anymore, then die. I wrote a thread some time ago on this exact issue and how it could be remedied if businesses hired more people but gave them less hours so they could all work part time. Obviously you would also have to increase wages to make up for lost hours. People would have more free time to actually spend their money, they'd have more money than before so businesses would be earning more to make up the difference of higher wages, and more people would be spending money since more people would be employed.
edit on 28/1/2018 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 28 2018 @ 07:57 PM
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If they'd edit out all the useless sex scenes, this anthology might actually be good.



posted on Jan, 29 2018 @ 12:47 AM
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a reply to: Lurker1

I don't believe there was any such scenes in this episode or many others. Wouldn't matter if there was though.



posted on Jan, 29 2018 @ 11:09 AM
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originally posted by: ChaoticOrder
a reply to: Lurker1

I don't believe there was any such scenes in this episode or many others. Wouldn't matter if there was though.


No, by Episode 5 they finally wised up.




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