Population, Environment and Balance

I had just re-seen the movie Logan’s Run (1976) on DVD, a science fiction story written in the early 60s, then made into a motion picture in 1975, which I find entertaining still to this day. I like the Sci Fi genre, and when I was a teenager seeing this movie for the first time, I was forever changed by the characters and concepts that the story told. Now over thirty years, the story seems pertinent more then ever as we focus on the environment, global populations and food shortages, the “isolationist theories,” and Millenniumists are beating their drums even louder. Yet the story of Logan’s Run casts an even wider shadow over the problems to its solution: such as complete control over mankind, and the idea of humanity battling with survival, and the struggle to maintain the human population in line with the Earth’s ecosystems, yet finding it problematic in keeping our human ethics intact. In the screen play’s plot, a group of people who cut themselves off from the rest of the world after an atomic war live inside domes that house a complete city. In order to maintain the city to its optimum performance and livability, only a certain amount of people could live at one time. Further, people live in a utopia, sex all the time,no long term relationships, no work, plenty of food and free housing; however, only as long as you are younger than the age of 30, (21 if you read the book) then you must be killed to keep the balance within the city.

The preservation “slash” conservation theory has being around for a long time, and Logan’s Run peers into the eventual breakdown of this perfect harmony of conservation and technology. The idea of enforcers who carry out the authority of the “Thinker,” a huge computer that runs the Life Clock, that has symbiont-servo devices inserted onto the left hand of all those born inside the city to keep track of their age, are insured that they will die when their time is up. These enforcers, called Sandmen, are deployed when ever someone fails to carry out the reborn (termination) ritual, are then killed, usually very painfully, and according to the dominate beliefs, these “Runner’s” will not be reborn. Not surprisingly, fear, ignorance and laziness keeps the masses in check while the city continues to hum. The Thinker sends one if its enforcers out to find out why 1056 of its citizens are not accounted for. To the Thinker’s demise, not only does the Sandman, who is called Logan 5, figures out what happened to the 1056, he also discovers something far more devastating–freedom outside the city and to grow old. So the preservation and conservation cycle simultaneously breaks down, causing city to explode and is now seemingly unlivable.

Could this future still come true, even if we somehow obtain the technology to achieve such a place, create a utopia like the city, after suffering through a atomic war?  Would we even allow such a place to be built, if it meant shutting people out who are trying to get in? Worse yet, what if you find yourself like Logan 5 and Jessica 6, would you be able to face the outside world, leaving all the comforts of the protective city, and survive?

Damn good movie–I highly recommend you seeing it on DVD, the out-takes and tails behind the scenes are fascinating.

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