Children of Men: Vision of an Apocalypse


In his Time Magazine blog, The Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan recently noted that:

“Technology, like all human creations, is capable of good and evil.  But we can too easily forget the good.  I went to see “Children of Men” last night, a superb, dystopian vision of the future, that makes it seem as if every day we are sliding toward an unspeakable apocalypse.  But as we walked outside that vision of hell, the streets were calm, the shops full, the bars filling, the city pulsing with the weekend energy.  We need to remember the normalcy we still have, rather than the fear that Islamists want us to feel.

The genius of Western technology is part of that spectacular normalcy.  And it certainly doesn’t seem to me to be inherently morally suspect.  We have technologies that allow for all of us to see nature so much more intensely than most humans ever have had at their disposal; we have pharmaceuticals to extend our lives and ease our pains; we can listen to the greatest music ever written via a tiny box at any time of the day or night.  These are great achievements – wonders to previous generations.  And they’re achievements of a free society, of free minds, of the West, by and large.  When we are terrified by the nihilism of Islamist terror, we need to remind ourselves that they are terrified too: terrified of our achievements.  While they reinvent death, we reinvent life.  They are a physical threat – but not a serious ideological or spiritual one.  One thing we Westerners need to do is keep our nerve.  And part of that nerve is unapologetic pride in our civilization – and its superiority to an ideology that puts women in burkas and men in suicide vests.”


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