I recently became aware of a show called “Black Mirror” and decided to watch the first episode. To add some context, the show is designed to be a spiritual successor to the renowned “Twilight Zone” and reflects on the darker aspects of human society.
To my surprise, even though I was sick and exhausted at 11:30 p.m. I was powerfully drawn into the show. Without spoiling anything, it made me question things like: “What is the value of a human life?” and ” Why are people fascinated by some of the most grotesque situations?”
To expand on the first question, the show creates a situation that weighs the value of a
political career and livelihood with that of a human life. As much as I would love to believe
that the answer is simple, it’s difficult to fully understand the gravity of the situation without being in it. I think most people would like to think that the value of the life should win outright. However, with how closely-knit and judgmental our peer groups are today, sacrificing our social status has a significantly greater impact than just the damage to our pride. This is augmented in no small part by social media and our constant connectivity to one another.
To address my secondary question, I must first admit that perhaps my opinion is a bit subjective. Back when I was in high school I was talking to a few of my friends about the television phenomena known as “The Walking Dead,” perhaps you have heard of it. On a few occasions my friends seemed to express an interest in living in a post-apocalyptic world. Yet, almost immediately they seemed to add the disclaimer: “but I wouldn’t really want that,” or something to that extent. In part, the pilot to “Black Mirror” draws out the absurdity of this innate duality of human desires. On the one hand, we seek pleasure and happiness. Then again, in stark contrast we all love to see an R- rated action film in theaters. Without rambling too much more, my point here is to simply point out that we are very complex beings. Sometimes the best way to understand and better ourselves is to simply be aware of our internal motivations; whether they be right or wrong. As my current calculus three professor loves to say: “All understanding begins with admiration” (Yukich, 2016)(though I think he might have been quoting someone else).