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Few films make as disturbing of a commentary on the condition of society as the 1977 film Logan’s Run. Based off of the novel by the same name, it tells the story of a sandman (essentially a professional killer for the betterment of society) named Logan 5 as he is forced to run for his life. Why is he running? Because society has set the limit on life at 30 and at 30, one either gets “renewed” in a cult-like ritual, or gets hunted down and killed by the sandmen. “One is terminated, one is born. Simple, logical, perfect.”

Upon first glance, the world seems utopian as many truly dystopian worlds do. There are plenty of healthy, happy young people having a lot of fun, living in a beautiful futuristic society. But in this society, there are no people over 30. Why? In a problem that originated in overpopulation, it was determined that there must be an age limit to prevent overpopulation. Everyone that reached the age of 30 was to die to prevent overpopulation (the book’s age of 18 makes it just that more profound). But few people would just happily go to their death, so a lie was created: the lie of renewal. Renewal represented a rebirth. People were told that at the age of 30, they were to be renewed, essentially promising a new life so that they would not feel bad about dying.

The whole of human society built up around these lies. In their perpetual, self-sustaining society of self-assisted suicide, no one questions the will of the computers that maintain this warped homeostasis. Renewal is a given; runners are to die; those who question are wrong and should be ignored or killed. It’s a scary thought, but it shows a frightening path that our society could take. Logan’s run presents us with a future where the reality offered by computers and society is much more appealing than the reality of the true world. There are many times where we would much rather accept something as true because it is more appealing instead of take the critical eye and accept the truth.

Even Logan and Jessica both find that their hopes of escape to “sanctuary” are merely lies created by someone back in society. There was no sanctuary outside of the city, just the remains of the old human civilization, decaying. The strength of the lies perpetuated by society goes so far as to convince Logan (before his journey) that living past 30 was, if not impossible, incredibly unlikely.

Upon the return to society, they attempt to convince everyone of the truth. But despite this, the citizens are unable to bring themselves to accept this truth. It is only when they are forced out of the city that they final see what the world is really like. Although it may not have been the intention of the writers, Logan’s Run does a powerful job in showing how easy it is to believe something completely untrue if it is said by enough people.

 

-Travis

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