Predictive Programming in The Hunger Games

The message of films like the hunger games is simple – if you want technological progress, you have to accept the loss of your freedoms. Every film or TV show I can think of that shows technological progress does so within the framework of an increasingly totalitarian society. The purpose of predictive programming such as this is to get you acclimated to the inevitable loss of freedoms, or even to make you see the alleged bright side of it.

That technological progress itself requires a very competitive and unhindered free market seems to be completely forgotten.

On the other hand, every film that shows a technologically backward society is marked by the chaos which script writers (or the original author) think invariably results from little to no government. Such a free society is of course always shown as a straw man.

Slavery is inefficient

Economic theory shows us that the greater the role of the parasitic State, the smaller the productivity of the people who actually create value. Every historical and modern example confirms this – the freer the nation, the more prosperous it is.

However, The Hunger Games shows a completely impossible economic scenario – that the districts providing value to the Capitol are in great poverty, use seemingly very primitive technology, have no freedom of occupation, no freedom of movement, and are forced to use barter because they don’t even have a common medium of exchange.

And yet despite the productive population living and working under such slave-like conditions, the parasitic Capitol is somehow capable of living in tremendous luxury and with very advanced technology. Such a situation flies in the face of economic laws.

You can’t run from economic laws

In reality, the Capitol would have been devastated by stagnant technology, declining infrastructure lacking in critical maintenance work, and frequent food queues and starvation. To see a real life example, have a look at Eastern Europe during and shortly after the Soviet regime.

Never mind that for such advanced technologies to be developed and maintained, there would also have to be a far larger population with greater and more complex division of labor.

The Hunger Games isn’t just Predictive Programming at its finest, it is also a strawman criticism of our current corporatist world. It juxtaposes an extreme exaggeration of our current wealth disparity on top of a far greater totalitarianism than we have today.

The better the film is at immersing its viewers, the less capable they are of critically assessing the message that is being programmed into their subconscious mind.

After all, isn’t suspending critical thinking necessary for most science fiction anyway?

Let’s review a few of the other points the makers of The Hunger Games want you to retain:

No. 1 – Resistance is futile.

When District 11 rebels, the rebellion is swiftly crushed by superior technology. The message is that rebellion is pointless.

What they don’t want you to realize is the true message – that had the rebels not been previously disarmed and rendered powerless, but were on an equal footing with the fascists, the rebellion would have turned out very differently.

If you want the kind of slave-like dystopia in which resistance is futile, keep supporting gun control and other forms of population disarmament.

No. 2 – Cooperate. There’s no sense in punishing your captors.

At no point prior to the game itself do any of the contestants (or tributes, as they are called) consider trying to run away, or using their time in the Capitol to sabotage their captors.

When the heroin bravely “dares” to shoot an arrow into the apple near the judges, she never even thinks of actually killing them – despite the immoral gladiatorial games they promote and engage in. Throughout the entire ordeal, she is a willing participant. Her only act of rebellion is when she threatened to take her own life. Not a very empowering message – to say the least.

No. 3 – Don’t rebel against the system.

When the tributes are tagged with tracking chips, I thought that at least one of them would try to remove the beacon and escape the forest. Nope!

The heroin successfully makes it to the edge of the forest, but is turned around by fire since her captors track her every movement. Why did none of them remove their tracking chips?

Sure, there were cameras all over the place, but there’s no doubt that removing the subcutaneous tracking chip would have helped them escape the ordeal. Instead, all the participants submit to their fate, and have little difficulty in killing the other tributes.

There was no real fight against the institution of The Hunger Games itself. The participants are quite docile when it comes to their fate.

No. 4 – Genetically engineered insects are in your future.

This isn’t just predictive programming, this is quite real. These people are literally using humans and the earth as an open laboratory for their experiments. And with no consultation or obtention of consent from the people they endanger. Doing something so dangerous can very well result in unintended consequences, but this is hardly the first time governments and corporations have used mosquitoes in unsanctioned human experimentation.(Skip to the part about mosquitoes. Or read the whole thing if you want to be thoroughly disgusted with your so-called government and medical establishment.)

Like all the other poorly tested GMOs out there, once the cat is out of the bag – that’s it. The movie doesn’t portray GMOs as an aberration, as a dangerous step in the wrong direction for technological growth, but more as an inevitability.

Am I taking this too seriously?

You could say that I’m going over the top with this. Maybe this is just an innocent Hollywood movie that just wants to entertain its audience. There’s no agenda, no propaganda, no ulterior motive.

But that would be a very naive perception of reality. The fact is that Television and Movies are written with the same purpose that many books are written – to convince you of something.

The difference is that the visual and auditory medium are far more powerful than simply reading text. Even a cursory Google search for predictive programming in movies will reveal the extent to which the motion picture is used to push a certain agenda.

What you can do to protect yourself

I’m not advocating people live in metaphorical caves. Although I don’t watch news on T.V., and watch less than 3 hours of television a week, there is some worthy entertainment out there.

There’s nothing stopping you from enjoying a good movie or TV show – just don’t throw out your critical thinking. To me, analyzing a movie and what it’s trying to program into you is half the fun. It removes a lot of the passivity and gets your mind thinking.

1 thought on “Predictive Programming in The Hunger Games”

  1. Just a side note: “After all, isn’t suspending critical thinking necessary for most science fiction anyway?”
    First: Apply Sturgeon’s law (“90% of scifi is crap”, usually extended to “90% of everything is crap”, still quite true).
    Second: Read Harlan Ellison’s foreword to “Dangerous visions”, widely considered the most influential collection in science fiction.

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