The Maier Files | The darker road of selfhood
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The darker road of selfhood

The Prisoner

03 Jul The darker road of selfhood

“Walking the darker road of selfhood is the hardest thing you can do.” – Albruna Gudrun.
One of the best series ever – The Prisoner! Even if you’ve not seen it yet you’ll probably know the song Prisoner from the band Iron Maiden.
Number 6 is the central character in the 1960s television series The Prisoner, played by Patrick McGoohan.
A central theme in the series was Number 2’s attempt to discover why Number 6 resigned from his position. Many people as well as the series itself postulate that those in control of the Village are either testing Number 6, or actually want to know why he resigned. Even according to McGoohan during subsequent interviews, the answer is not clear: others suggest the Village first wants to find why he resigned, hoping this revelation would unleash a torrent of other information. (At least one Number 2 believes it would: in “The Chimes of Big Ben”, Number 2 says, “If he will answer one simple question, the rest will follow: Why did he resign?”)


A similar struggle occurs on several levels and inside the different characters of Maier files and in the reality of our own world. As the Albruna Gudrun teaches: “Being free comes with its own burdens…”  if you fail, no one helps you. You are all alone. Period.


Wouldn’t it be easier if someone took care of things for you? That is what the Village in the series Prisoner represented. That is what many people want our world’s government to provide. That is what I am afraid we have become: Children who want someone else to take Control for us. So we can enjoy our bread and circuses. And that brings us also to ALDOUS HUXLEY (1958) who once wrote:
From the time of Magna Carta and even earlier, the makers of English law have been concerned to protect the physical freedom of the individual. A person who is being kept in prison on grounds of doubtful legality has the right, under the Common Law as clarified by the statute of 1679, to appeal to one of the higher courts of justice for a writ of habeas corpus. This writ is addressed by a judge of the high court to a sheriff or jailer, and commands him, within a specified period of time, to bring the person he is holding in custody to the court for an examination of his case — to bring, be it noted, not the person’s written complaint, nor his legal representatives, but his corpus, his body, the too too solid flesh which has been made to sleep on boards, to smell the fetid prison air, to eat the revolting prison food. This concern with the basic condition of freedom — the absence of physical constraint — is unquestionably necessary, but is not all that is necessary. It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison, and yet not free — to be under no physical constraint and yet to be a psychological captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the national State, or of some private interest within the nation, want him to think, feel and act. There will never be such a thing as a writ of habeas mentem; for no sheriff or jailer can bring an illegally imprisoned mind into court, and no person whose mind had been made captive by the methods outlined in earlier articles would be in a position to complain of his captivity. The nature of psychological compulsion is such that those who act under constraint remain under the impression that they are acting on their own initiative. The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him, the walls of his prison are invisible, and he believes himself to be free. That he is not free is apparent only to other people. His servitude is strictly objective.


Who is Number I? Well, it’s McGoohan – the free man, who became the leader of the very thing he rebelled against. The power of control was too tempting, so he accepted … then he rejected … the show folds into its own self … he was rebelling against his own ego, his own prison, all the time. The eternal test and trials from Celtic and Germanic tales, the never ending cycle which in turn brings us almost always back to square one … unless you become aware as the true heroes and Teutonic spirits do in those ancient folktales and breakaway.


The Prisoner

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