Something quick I drew… My first drawing for a blog post.
President Snow, the politician who deceives the people of the Capitol, is an object of hate in the Hunger Games Series. He represents the oppressive society and the inequality plaguing Panem. The elite percentage that live in the Capitol are mostly ignorant of the Districts’ struggles and the sacrifices the people must make to survive in the unequal society. So does the ignorance of the elite make them bad people? Suzanne Collins beautifully portrays the aristocratic society and the audience of the novel often times unknowingly hate on the Capitol without realizing, they, the readers, are citizens of the Capitol. But more accurately, they are the “atrocious” President Snow.
As citizens of developed nations, we reap the benefits of trade, consumerism, and have security. A majority of us don’t have an impending war, starvation, or lack to resources acting as our Swords of Damocles (1). Instead, us, the fortunate elite of the world indulge in the “now.” We are aware of the problems blaring in the world through news and media coverage, but do nothing to actively stop it.
2014: Millions still die from conflict every year.
“Did you hear about the wars in the Middle East?” “It’s so awful, I could never imagine living in those conditions. Wars and conflict everywhere. People caught and dying in the crossfires.”
Approximately 80% of the world population lives on $10 a day. (2)
“That’s horrible! They must be starving everyday!” “We need to decrease poverty!”
But when the words that come out of our mouths are almost never carried out. We say we care, but our attachment and empathy towards those people runs just as deeply as Effie’s empathy towards the mahogany table. We say those things, then proceed to eat our hearts out at buffets, spend money on trivial things, complain about the most infinitesimal tasks, and turn our cheek to more “relevant” matters. We bat an eyelid at the poor, then go socialize with the affluent. The poor band with the poor out of mutual suffering and hopes to improve their situation, while rich side with rich. Of course the end result is that rich get richer, while the poor regress or stay in the stalemate of their social status.
So why is it that we seem to lack this connection with… well the victims? We know there are problems, yet we forget about them shortly and focus our efforts on comparatively meaningless situations. For example, who still mentions Kony 2012 in casual discussion? Who remembers and mourns sacrifices of the Korean War daily? Why can we move on so easily? The reasons are extremely complex, just like most everything human related, for this seemingly straightforwards and disheartening result. According to Hank, it’s a mix of sociological, traditional, psychological, and mathematical factors– humans… we’re just made this way, humans are humans. We evolved to perceive and act in a way that best ensures our survival and often times, helping those with less than us, just doesn’t bear pertinence.
These issues, the reasons behind our actions, the unintentional “evils” we participate in have been harped on by writers and philosophers throughout the century. 18th century writer, John Steinbeck, in his novel The Grapes of Wrath, includes clear social commentary discussing what is still plaguing society in the 21st century.
“And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.” -Steinbeck
No matter how they fight, it will be almost impossible for people at the bottom to rise.
“There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do.” -Steinbeck
Who is to blame for humans and their actions? We are all citizens of the Capitol. The cold, obedient zombies of the system.
Who owns the system? Who makes us obey the rules and makes us follow regulations? People? No, we’re all just figureheads, players of an unidentified system’s rules. We are the evanescent beings. We are just one player out of billions, ones that are going to be forgotten no matter how much we impact those around us in our limited time playing. We are the dominating and seemingly apathetic beings of the Capitol, yet we are the forgetful ones soon to be forgotten.
Hank’s video, the hammer to the coffin that became this post. (… if that even makes sense)
Just some of my floating thoughts mixed with great spurs of inspiration,
Sorry, I didn’t mean to make this so depressing. It’s just, the ideas of the future, the words from Steinbeck and Hank, and the inevitability of our existence just makes me feel slightly bitter and infinitesimal sometimes.
1. Sword of Damocles: reference to Damocles of Cicero’s stories who saw Dionysius, tyrant of Sicily as a fortunate man. Hearing this, Dionysius offered to switch places with Damocles for a day. Damocles enjoys the power for a little until he looks up and sees a sword hanging from a single horse hair positioned to kill him at any moment. Dionysius, who ordered for the sword to hang above Damocles’ head portrays the impending doom of those in positions of power.