I wonder which exact concept of individuality McGoohan had in mind? Yes, of course, for him it meant not being a number. Also, to be trustworthy, not a rat, to be respected even. To have the right to mind his own business and expecting others to mind theirs. And I think that he really considered individuality to be a very precious right. But I really don't think that he considered Number 6 to be a perfect hero, and that one reason for this was his pure single-mindedness. There are so many examples when individuality is questioned and Number 6 fails just because of his strengths. To me it seems sometimes as if McGoohan had questioned his own ideas about the freedom of the individuality and freedom in genral. Although I'm not sure about it. Is this something the fans presume, or is it something McGoohan had intended? Maybe the question is what McGoohan thought about self-importance. This is a difficult one, I have to admit that it is something which I have not considered before.
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when I think about it, maybe it's about squaring the circle, again. Individuality and freedom versus society and responsibility. The Truth Test comes to my mind, the struggle of "truth" against "lie" when it comes to the question that the Prisoner mustn't think of his own, alone. Maybe it's not individuality and freedom which are questioned, but their boundaries.
There is this character John Galt from the novel Atlas Shrugged (never read it). John Galt is a pure individual, and stands for a kind of freedom when nobody ever cares for anyone and nobody is expecting anyone to care for him. Number 6 was once compared to John Galt, but I think they are different in this important point that Number 6 cares.
No.6's passion is for freedom, but none of us can be truly free, only to acquire a sense or degree of freedom. No.6 also vindicated the right of the individual to be individual, but where did that get him in the end? Nowehere, because he's just as much a prisoner at the end as he was at the beginning!
I like your idea that perhaps its not the freedom and individuality that is being questioned, but their bounderies. I'll have to think about that a little more.
Very kind regards
>>as if McGoohan had questioned his own ideas about the freedom of the individuality and freedom in genral<< David, that's a crucial, a quintessential point. The reasoning "No. 6 wants his freedom of choice", "No. 6 must be freed from captivity" or the like cannot be other than too simplistic. Ironically it is all encompassed in the painting of the "Funeral" episode where it is simplyfied to an abstraction of the "squaring the circle" subject. In other words the dialectic relation of man and society or, if you don't like dialectics, it's about the flip side of the process of the development of individualistic (Western) societies, in the vein of Michel Foucault's writings. Could go on endlessly. No, I'm continuing... - BCNU!ReplyDelete
"No.6 wants his freedom of choice" in the Village No.6 is a square peg trying to fit in a circle, which is the correct way. I would have said round peg into a square hole, but that way is far too easy if you see what I mean. I can see whay No.6 wants to be freed, but even in the Village he enjoys a certain degree of freedom. He's allowed to do as he likes, to some degree. He's not forced to take employment, or contribute to the society of the Village. Captivity can be a state of mind, and bearing that in mind, No.6 can be as free as he wants to be.
The individual struggles against society, society frowns on the individual, and yet society is made up by individuals, and cannot exist otherwise.
This is a very complex subject, and it's quite possible that I have not put myself very well. I'll have to give the subject more thought.
Very kind regards