Not long ago my fiancée and I were watching “Dollhouse” by Joss Whedon. Anyone who hasn’t watched any of his television or movies is missing out. He has a real talent for storytelling and a great sense of humor.
“Dollhouse” was one of his lesser achievements. If you are familiar with its premise, you may want to skip this paragraph. The show is about a shadowy organization that uses technology to wipe human beings to a basic state onto which they imprint personalities later. Every show was a different scenario of what happens if one had a person they could use for any purpose. It was an intriguing premise that ended up failing because of corporate television politics that don’t concern this blog. There was one episode in particular that grabbed my attention and was a symptom of the reason I’ve started writing on this site.
The dolls, characters in the show that supposedly have no personality or memory of their situation within the organization, have been glitching on their missions and going against parameters. They had also expressed willpower and natural tendencies, two things that they should lack completely. The organization remedies this by putting them through a situation where they are allowed to act out their behaviors and achieve closure, hoping that it fixes what one of the organization’s members terms an ‘infinite loop.’ The end of the episode leads us to believe that this was achieved, and having attained their goals the dolls will return to their natural, pliant, and obedient states.
This episode led me to the importance of closure on a national scale. Closure on a personal level can lead to psychological chafing and annoyance. Unresolved issues often lead to irritability in relationships and interactions. So what does this mean for politics?
Revolts or rebellions occur when an otherwise peaceful or marginalized group gets repressed by the government somehow; if a government offers compromise rather than violence, organizations lose support or dissipate as join said government. The provision of closure on the part of the government helps avoid a revolt as the people who have been marginalized achieve closure on their issue.
Dollhouse provides a really great metaphor regarding politics and the closure principle. When clamped down, repression brings an issue to the forefront and leaves it unresolved in the opposition’s collective mind; it annoys and disgruntles the public until it breaks their otherwise complacent personalities. However, when the government uses the carrot instead of the stick, the issue is closed in a satisfying way.
Of course, this principle can be applied to several human conditions. Addiction probably has a lot to do with the open loop as much as they do the euphoria; drugs kill the annoyance of the loop or at least dull it to the point that the addict doesn’t care anymore. Different drugs appeal to different personalities; chances are there’s one that appeals to everyone, even if they haven’t tried it yet.
Relationships that break down due to lack of communication are actually the infinite loop and a similar situation of the revolutions previously mentioned. One party cannot adequately communicate their problems with the relationship; the other may or may not try to fix the issue, but the inability to communicate leads to eventual doom. And why should this not be applicable? Politics are just human relationships on a larger scale.
As always, thanks for your time reading this and I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to comment.