Do you remember The Prisoner?
If you are old enough and you were living in the UK in the 60s, I am sure the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
I am well aware the TV series was also shown in Canada and the US, but I think it’s one of those peculiarly English productions that didn’t translate too well. For those of you not old enough (most of you I am guessing), this is a key line from the show that always struck me: “I am not a number—I am a free man!”
Prescient, when you realize, to quote Wikipedia that …
a major theme of the series is individualism, as represented by Number Six, versus collectivism, as represented by Number Two…. McGoohan [the co-creator of the show], stated that the series aimed to demonstrate a balance between the two points.
Now if that is not a “discussion for our times,” I’m not sure what is! And as you can see, this debate has been occupying me for some time. Then, along comes Gaping Void to point out something similar.
It all reminded me of a wonderful poem from a friend of mine that lives in Sausalito.
By the numbers there’s my driver’s license,
car registration, license plate, zip code,
various accounts, street address, birthdate
home, work, and cell phones, passport, credit cards
debit cards, PINs, social security
frequent fliers, internet passwords, stocks
checking, HMO, IRA, museums
library card, land and enneagram.
I know its a lot to remember, but
thank god I finally know who I am.
The poet in question? My friend, Jim Woessner, who also happens to be one of those annoying people who are so multi-faceted that he built a career as an engineer in the oil industry before becoming an artist, sculptor and writer. I know, right?! Some people have got an unfair share of talent.
You can buy his books on Amazon, including his “box” poems, like this one.
Box poems are a kind of spin on Haiku—but nothing like, really. Imagine each poem is a short story told in 10 lines using 100 syllables. I can barely write a poem—much less enforce that kind of rigor on myself.
What I can tell you is that Jim is most definitely fits who we are at People First.
Art that inspires art inspiring art. Examining and questioning the same thing. We are more than a number, we are more than what we expose, we are more than what we want, even allow, others to see. We are, each and every one of us: individual and unique and different. We eschew categorization. We do not fit predictable patterns. Why allow corporations, enterprises, governments, marketers, advertisers to see us in that way?