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Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Therapy Zone

    You would not believe the ideas and theories which fans of the 1960's television series the Prisoner have come up with over the years, some of them plausible, others not so. During a teabreak yesterday I sat reading about one such theory in an article I came across in a Number Six magazine.
     There is a book entitled ‘The Magus’ by one John Fowles, which I have not personally read, but apparently which has many similarities between the book and the Prisoner, and after reading this book the author of the article was forced to look at the Prisoner in a new light. In this that the village could be the environment of a stage, for a major psychological experiment into human behaviour. The author suggests that a subject be taken, such as No.6. Drug or brainwash him until he has present conceptions and reactions. Then place him in an alien environment but containing familiar items - his cottage - so that he has immediate affinity with his surroundings.
   The subject is then placed in a series of stressful, unusual and at times dangerous situations or events and then observe his reactions. Included are continuous betrayals by women and use these to observe the change in the subjects character.
    The subject is fed with limited information, some of it false - as in the location of the Village - and again observe how the subjects reacts to that information provided. In the case of the location of the village during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben,’ No.6 attempts to escape with No.8-Nadia.
    What's more the village and its community, according to the author, could be populated by actors and psychologists involved in the experiment. This could explain the inconsistency in numbering throughout the series. No.113 being a contributor to The Tally Ho newspaper in ‘Free For All,’ and then No.113 being a dead woman buried in the graveyard in 'Hammer Into Anvil.' {Well that's one way to explain it I suppose}. The Rook-No.53 is another experiment which doctors are carrying out, and again with No.8-the white Queen in ‘Checkmate.’ Then there is all the therapy work, and various experiments being carried out on members of the community.
    No.6 may not know what his prior job was, or indeed why he resigned. If the knowledge was instilled in No.6, as part of his initial conditioning, and thereby any amount of information in his possession is limited. So how then would the subject react with repeated demands for that information which he simply does not have?, but which he feels he should know? The whole sequence of his resignation could have been drug induced, in the same way that his dreams were induced in 'A B & C.'
   If the village, according to the author, is the setting for such an experiment, then that could explain the inconsistencies within the series, And thereby account for the reason why during certain episodes of the Prisoner they seem to be, "toying" with No.6.
    The author concludes with the statement of how the village is like the island of Phraxos in the book ‘The Magus.’ Isolated, idyllic, and yet somehow sinister. That the Prisoner, like ‘The Magus’ has a very ambiguous conclusion.

BCNU

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