[readolog_dropcap ]T[/readolog_dropcap]he 1974 cult classic Zardoz is recognized more for the ridiculous outfit Sean Connery wears in the leading role than the underlying message about not just where society will one day go, but where society is already headed.
The power of the State has tipped towards extremism, and thus control over the population.
Behind this balance of power is the philosophy of its controllers, poisoned by the elite-mindset of the moneyed-class and the promise of progress through scientific rule by experts — a technocracy. All this has minimized the value of individuals. Life has been made cheap. It is a paradigm of Eugenics, where ethics have been rewritten to justify killing the weak, the poor, the burdensome, the unwanted and others considered lesser than, while promoting the ruling classes to above-the-law status.
A fantastic illustration of this model is found in the bizarre, dystopic cult move Zardoz, which depicts a world where the little people are ruled by a vicious warrior class, known as the “Brutals” who have enslaved them, forcibly controlled their reproduction, taught them to raise crops for sustenance at gun point and the chaos of raping and pillaging to thin the herd and condition them against any independence.
The Brutals, in turn, were given their weapons of control by a demigod named Zardoz, a mysterious floating head that descends to earth to give directives and take tribute by way of food and goods produced by the slave class.
One Brutal, Zed (played by Sean Connery) has discovered a secret that changes this dim relationship.
In the backstory, we find out that Zed (Connery) stumbled upon the halls of knowledge/information in the form of a library in a house his Brutals ransacked. Over time he learned to read and ultimately discovered a revealing book that shattered his perceptions. That book was the Wizard of Oz, the L. Frank Baum classic, which at its core is a centralized power system run from behind the curtain with the aid of wizardry, magic and fear. Disillusioned at the crude trick used in the Zardoz (a truncation of the title WiZARD(of)OZ), Zed seeks revenge, enlightenment and redemption.
Zed jumps into the giant stone head of Zardoz, and launches a revolt against the crew inside it. He throws Arthur Frayn, an architect and creator of the Zardoz system, to his death while the head is flying through the air, and goes on to infiltrate the secret society behind the mysterious head that has controlled the lives of earth’s inhabitants.
At the top of this system is an insulated and distant society dubbed the “Vortex” where the “Eternals” who live in sterile dome cities – places symbolically and literally so controlled that a condom-like bubble is used to create a barrier between its buildings and living areas and the outside world. Its people share a hive mind, make decisions only by consensus and have achieved immortality…only to find it a trap of boredom and groupthink.
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