The Advancement of Technology
‘The Prisoner’ is seen by many to be a remarkable television series, as a art form, an allegory, a parable, a moralistic tale, a wonderful piece of escapism, even an action adventure series. But what about ‘the Prisoner’ as a prediction for the future, an International community, a blue print for world order the whole world as The Village in fact?! Well look about you, especially those reading this in Great Britain, look about you at all the surveillance cameras there are. Has not Europe become an International community, the European Union? The Village has a single currency the Work or Credit Unit, while many European countries has the Euro. So in this regard, and in others, The Village is a prediction for the future, through the eyes of Patrick McGoohan might you not think? And that would include the use of identity cards, one thing Great Britain did avoid!
And then there is the relentless gathering of information, information about you, the wife, your family, sisters, brothers‘, nephews, nieces. Who wants to know all about us, and what do they do with all that information when they get it? The administration behind The Village wants to know everything about every citizen in The Village, that’s why they could not rest until they knew why the Prisoner known as Number 6 told them the reason behind his resignation. So that they could complete his file!
Surveillance cameras are everywhere in the Village. Some simply mounted on concrete plinths, while others are hidden in statues or busts set on stone plinths.
And then there is the Seltzman machine, take two men of their choosing, exchange their minds. Then wipe all the unpleasant memories of the Village, send him out to gather information, bring him back to the Village and extract the information in his head, then wipe his mind of all unpleasant memories of the Village, and send him out again to gather yet more information.
But is the Seltzman machine an advancement in technology? What about the advancement of technology in The Village? The cordless telephone, which appears to work much like the mobiles phones people the world over can no longer live without! Then there are those black speakers which cannot be turned of, as they have no on/of switch. Neither do they have an aerial, this then is the first form of what we are pleased to call “Wireless” technology, which is enjoyed today the world over.
The first “Bio-Thumb Recognition System” which is now incorporated into Security systems around the world, first developed in the Village, and demonstrated to ‘The Schizoid Man.’
The Village Guardian, is that an advancement in technology, or genetic engineering? Of course the first Village Guardian, or ROVER MK1 was a totally mechanical device. It was supposed to go over any terrain. To go in the sea like a submarine, or on the sea like a ship. To ascend and descend steps, as well as climb walls, ROVER MK1 failed at the first test! Which caused the sudden development of ROVER MKII And could that be said of the educational process of speed learn and the General?
Speedlearn was the greatest human experiment that had been conducted in the Village, and upon the citizens. The General has been described by some as being a “super” computer. Well it wasn’t looking very smart by the time No.6 had finished with it. No.2 enthused about the General and it’s capabilities.
“There is no question, no question from advanced mathematics to molecular structure, from philosophy to crop spraying that the General cannot answer.” But it would seem that a computer is only as good as it’s programmer. I mean you can’t take out what you don’t put in. The General of course is an import. The Professor gave birth to it, and loves it with a passion, probably hates it even more. But then it’s said that the Professor was introduced to the General. So which is it? And the beam used to bring down a pigeon in ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ it’s quite obvious an electronic beam of some kind. Perhaps the electronic defence system invented by the Rook in ‘Checkmate, and the Village having swiped the bag belonging to some blundering bureaucrat which contained the plans of the electronic defence system, and the Village’s administration then put it to good use in protecting the Village! Well fictionally it’s possible.
And then there is the electronic force field of the Town Hall, which not only guards the entrance, but inside as well, at a security checkpoint. A person has but one attempt if struck by the force field, a second attempt is fatal! Then there is the technology to fly aircraft remotely, as in the Alouette helicopter. To control sea vessels via remote control.
However, the Village Administration is very adept at modifying other technologies to suit the Village. Take the check points, you need security pass discs in order to pass, and what is it that takes such security pass discs? A little black box, which is basically a money box, often called the Magic Money Box.
There are the nerve gas guns, five yard range, one squirt you’re paralysed, two squirts you’re dead! And the development of mind altering drugs. Mytol a sedative drug. And No.14’s drug which allows the control of, and the inception of a subjects dreams.
There are computers for medical diagnosis, for code breaking, daily prognosis reports. Not to mention sublimators whatever they are! The Village has it’s own television station, and monitor the citizens through their televisions. Televisions which also doubled up for the first video telephone!
And the final piece of technology, obviously borrowed from British aerospace, the rocket, the big Red One rocket no less. But this is not a missile, well it is, but for fictional purposes it is for the transportation of personnel into space. We know this by the Orbit tubes, 48, 2 and in all probability 6. But where they would have gone, had these three individuals been launched aboard the rocket, is unknown. And so will forever remain open to speculation.
Of course apart from looking at the Village as a place for the development of a number of technologies, ‘the Prisoner’ can be seen as a prediction for the future. Number 6 once said that he’d like to be the first man on the moon. So who is to say Number 1 didn’t achieve that desire? What’s more, seeing ‘the Prisoner’ as a prediction for the future, might that not make Patrick McGoohan the modern day Nostradamus of his time?Be seeing you