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Logan’s Run (1976) – Our Technocratic Dystopia Unveiled

Jay Dyer
21st Century Wire

The 1970s were a hot era for science fiction films that took a decidedly dystopian turn…

With Planet of the Apes at the close of the 60s, films like Soylent Green had infected the mass mind with the threat of the coming apocalypse, to be followed by a spate of 80s post-apocalyptic B movies and cult classics like Mad Max.

One of those highly revelatory 70s films is the 1976 film adaptation of William F. Nolan’s novel, Logan’s Run, directed by Michael Anderson. As with all the dystopian films, especially 70s installments, they all seem to contain a puzzle piece of the overall real-world plan of the technocrats preparing us for the coming of the new aeon.

The setting for Logan’s Run is a technocratic utopian society situated in a self-contained biosphere dome based around a death cult that participates in a monthly ritual (The Carrousel) where all citizens are killed in a “renewal” ceremony reminiscent of a Katy Perry Super Bowl halftime show. Convinced that renewal results in reincarnation, the youth are color-coded to determine their caste, with those reaching 30 considered aged and primed for sacrifice.

Hedonism rules, as the pleasure-seeking synthetic society is run by a giant A.I. SmartGrid, with the central computer tracking and tracing every movement and thought of its citizens.

Segregated into various “quadrants,” different classes match up to a roughly Platonic model of Philosopher King/central computer system, the guardian class (Logan 5, played by Michael York), and the populace, some of whom are sex slaves, having offered themselves to the guardian class through a vague 70s version of the Internet.

This net, however, can transport you directly to the guardian’s quarters.  Meanwhile, offspring are no longer produced through sexual interaction, but grown in test tubes by unknown donor parents, recalling Huxley’s Brave New World.  Ominously, the BBC has recently reported on UK legislation allowing three parent babies, where DNA will be blended from multiple donors.

Give your soul and body to the Red Lotus Death Cult's Carrousel.
IMAGE: ‘Renewal Blooms‘ – Give your soul and body to the Red Lotus Death Cult’s Carrousel in Logan’s Run.

With a façade of perfection, the death ritual indicates a society that has succumbed to the ultimate dictates of scientistic quantification, where sustainability “dictates” that for every citizen born, one must die to maintain balance in the ecosphere. 

Thus Logan’s Run images the very plan the Royal Society and United Nations envision, with mandated euthanasia and death panels determining the time of death according to one’s astrological chart. It seems Logan’s technocratic society is not immune to the digital state’s manipulation of religion, with the Buddhist and Hindu imagery coming to the fore in the red lotus crystal which, in Buddhist traditions, references the heart and passion. The lotus is also a reference to the Flower of Life in Pythagorean and Platonic mysticism, signifying the unity of the ecosphere as a whole, built up from the platonic solids. Matthieu Ricard and Trinh Thuan comment in their work on these connections, The Quantum and the Lotus, citing Platonist Roger Penrose:

To me this spontaneous insight supports the idea that when the mind makes mathematical discoveries, it enters into contact with a realm of Platonic mathematical concepts.”

Roger Penrose is adamant about this:

“I imagine that whenever the mind perceives a mathematical idea, it makes contact with Plato’s world of mathematical concepts… When mathematicians communicate, this is made possible by each one having a direct route to truth, the consciousness of each being in a position to perceive mathematical truths directly, through the process of ‘seeing’.”


IMAGE: ‘Sacred Geometry’ – The Flower of Life.

In various traditions of “Sacred Geometry,” the platonic solids are the building blocks of nature itself and we can surmise with the red lotus here the imagery is a sacrifice inverting the principle of life found in the symbology of the Lotus.  Platonism is thus the presupposition of the utopia, even in its esoteric and religious concepts.  Far eastern traditions have long seen a spirit of an age, a zeitgeist at work behind long periods of time, the darkest period called kali yugain Hinduism, for example.

Borrowing from these far eastern strands, Aleister Crowley proclaimed a “newaeon of Horus,” the crowned and conquering child, where youth and immaturity would overthrow the previous Age of Pisces, dominated by Christianity. It is precisely this aeon Logan finds himself, where the death state reigns supreme, under the ruse of a synthetic utopia removed from nature, where plastic surgery and bodily alteration permeate Logan’s utopia.

Having plumbed the depths of nature and mastered its secrets, this future world’s utopia is in fact a dystopia, the golden age a kali yuga, where the police state agents known as “Sandmen” zap any prospective escapees (“runners”), turning them immediately to dust, hence, “sandmen.”

Logan 5 is one of these guardian class sandmen, who, as you can imagine, begins to question the authenticity of his society. Coopted by the central computer to infiltrate the subversives who have escaped to the mysterious “Sanctuary,” Logan is commanded to become a runner, adopting their ankh symbology to go undercover.


IMAGE: ‘Pandora’s Box’ – A.I. insanity, with a SmartCity run by an insane Box bot.

Initially suspicious of Logan and his sex slave love interest, Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter), the rebels inform Logan that “Sanctuary” is much further underground beneath the city. Journeying deeper and deeper, the Dante-esque journey displays the ultimate deception – the whispers of “Sanctuary” as believed by the rebels is also not true. “Sanctuary” is a giant freezer facility run by an insane A.I. bot named “Box” that imprisons successful escapees in a cryogenic tomb due to his programming, viewing man as a mere resource to be exploited like the fish and plankton.

Fiction once again presages reality here, with the recent proposals to alow IBM’s Watson super computer to manage healthcare for U.S. citizens as Obamacare begins.  It’s no longer far-fetched and outlandish to consider the possibility the coming SmartCities will also incorporate this centralized A.I. monitoring control grid, engaging in every totalitarian tyranny from “pre-crime” to computer-determined healthcare, as IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty glowingly declares.

Having sabotaged Box’s cryogenic tomb, Logan and Jessica crawl out of their platonic cave for the first time to see the blinding light of the sun.  Once again Platonism is the underpinning of the narrative, where the city dwellers are captivated by the shadows and virtual phantoms dancing around them, never being enlightened by the light of objective Truth and the realms of higher existence.  In my recent article on Plato and Crystals, I cite the profound references in the dialogue Pheado, where Socrates reveals the earth’s dwellers toil away in a subterranean, mundane existence, unaware of higher dimensions, freedom and the true nature of reality. 

 I wrote:

The study of crystallography demonstrates much of this, and crystals are a big piece of this mysterious metaphysical puzzle, pointing is in the direction of higher, spiritual realms.  Amazingly, in Phaedo, Plato speaks of the higher realms (something akin to heaven) as possessing aether like we possess air.  This higher dimension is also directly connected to crystals, as the crystals we possess in our world are mere shards of the wonders of that realm in 109-111:

“Also I believe that the earth is very vast, and that we who dwell in the region extending from the river Phasis to the Pillars of Heracles inhabit a small portion only about the sea, like ants or frogs about a marsh, and that there are other inhabitants of many other like places; for everywhere on the face of the earth there are hollows of various forms and sizes, into which the water and the mist and the lower air collect.

But the true earth is pure and situated in the pure heaven—there are the stars also; and it is the heaven which is commonly spoken of by us as the aether, and of which our own earth is the sediment gathering in the hollows beneath. But we who live in these hollows are deceived into the notion that we are dwelling above on the surface of the earth…

Of these and other colours the earth is made up, and they are more in number and fairer than the eye of man has ever seen; the very hollows (of which I was speaking) filled with air and water have a colour of their own, and are seen like light gleaming amid the diversity of the other colours, so that the whole presents a single and continuous appearance of variety in unity. And in this fair region everything that grows—trees, and flowers, and fruits—are in a like degree fairer than any here; and there are hills, having stones in them in a like degree smoother, and more transparent, and fairer in colour than our highly-valued emeralds and sardonyxes and jaspers, and other gems, which are but minute fragments of them: for there all the stones are like our precious stones, and fairer still.”


IMAGE: ‘Paradise Lost’  – Logan’s Dome City or Epcot Center?

Stunned at the light of the sun, Logan is still disillusioned from the disappointment of both his utopia and “Sanctuary” exposed as shams. Seeking some refuge, Logan and Jessica wander upon the ruins of Washington D.C., which had apparently been destroyed centuries before in some environmental cataclysm.

That Logan’s Atlantis is built upon the ruins of America is not accidental – this is precisely what Francis Bacon predicted in his esoteric work, The New Atlantis, prognosticating the discovery of the new world would be the future site of the coming technocratic wonder state, founded upon the empirical scientistic methodology of the Enlightenment.  Atlantis in Logan’s day eventually suffers the same fate as the myths of ancient Atlantis tell, where unbridled technology in the hands of a detached elite becomes self-destructive.

vlcsnap-2012-01-30-16h31m18s185.jpg
IMAGE: ‘Manipulating Thought’ – Computer based mind control system to enslave the masses.

Like the unbelievers of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Logan discovers the dome-dwellers will not believe his discoveries of other lands and worlds outside the biosphere, and realizes he must face the central A.I. computer system. Placed under an MK ULTRA-style brainwashing procedure, Logan battles the central system and somehow overcomes, resulting in the breakdown of the mainframe and the self-destruction of the dome. Fleeing the collapse, Logan and Jessica lead the survivors to the proof of the “old ways,” the sight of an old man who functions as the Jungian sage and repository of gnosis of the old ways.

Life returns to normal with the youthful refugees discovering their own alienation and divorce from nature, where they had so long subsisted in a self-imposed tech prison erected on a false religious ideology.  In essence, Sanctuary was real, it just wasn’t found anywhere in the nihilistic, hedonistic frauds of the system.

The pro-life message of Logan’s Run is refreshing in contrast to the death culture obsession of modern Hollywood productions. Indeed, it appears we are on the verge of the end of the old ways, as we prepare to enter into the “final revolution” of the Fabian technocrats, who have prepared a zoo-like existence in the coming virtualsphere for the enslaved herd.

But don’t worry – we can always look forward to the red death lotus ritual next year, where Katy Perry and Madonna will celebrate the ritual sacrifice of our troops for the glories of the Global Death State.

21WIRE contributor and author Jay Dyer is commentator on media, art, philosophy and culture. This article and many others, along with Jay’s podcast archive can be found on his blog Jay’s Analysis.

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