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Wednesday 10 September 2014

Man Versus Machine

     In allegorical terms 'The General' is nothing more than "Man Versus Machine," and Number 6 took the Professor's message that the General must be destroyed to heart, and took it upon himself to see that it was done. Number 6 is a keen advocate of good old fashioned brute force. However it was rather a subtle way in which he caused the General to short circuit that way. By asking the General a question that is insoluble to both man and machine.......WHY? But of course we all know what happens when a computer is asked a question it cannot answer, it might reply that the question does not compute, or just sit there and do nothing, it wouldn't short circuit itself like the General did. That was simply for visual effect. In having asked the General WHY? it would have been a bit of an anti-climax had the General done nothing, simply whirring because the question does not compute. And of course that way Number 6 would not have destroyed the General, he wouldn't have beaten the machine!
    Over the years a number of fans of ‘the Prisoner’ have spent time trying to put an answer to WHY? Well “Why not?” is seen to be one obvious answer some have thought. But that's not really an answer is it, only answering a question with a question, which isn’t really that satisfactory. The problem lies with the question itself, that it lacks the basic facts. Why what? Why me? Why you? Why bother? It seems that you can only answer WHY? with another question of its own kind. Unless readers reading this have their own ideas.
  Later in the series, Number 6 is faced with another machine, a teleprinter, hidden away in a very elaborately decorated room in the Town Hall. A room previously locked against Number 6, but who's now automatic doors open up for him. The Town Hall is fussy about who it lets in, hence the electronic force field at the entrance. Now it would seem that the Town Hall has decided that Number 6 can enter the room, and opens the doors. But when he is faced with this machine, this teleprinter, there is nothing subtle about his actions, as with the General. Number 6 soon reverts to his old maxim, that good old fashioned brute force can be very effective. And sets about ripping out the wiring and paper of the teleprinter which then whirrs to a stop. But a few moments later whirrs back into life and carries on printing. It would seem that despite all his efforts Number 6 cannot beat the machine!

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