Published On: Fri, Apr 24th, 2020

The disease is unsanctioned behaviour; Switched On Syndrome and Covid-19

As UK Government moves the goalposts for ending its lockdown, and also newly insists the public adopts further behavioural alteration that somehow was not required before, it becomes ever clearer that restriction of the spread of a disease called “Covid-19” is not a motivating factor. Instead, “Covid-19” is being used as a pretext to control the activity of the public: to manage its behaviour. Thus we can say that the disease that UK Government actually wants to inhibit is behaviour that is unsanctioned.

Given that UK Government appears to want its lockdown to continue indefinitely (this can be inferred by its pronouncements on the issue – and there will be coverage of this at FBEL at another time), understanding the actuality of “the disease is unsanctioned behaviour” should in turn activate appreciation of what constitutes a dire threat to civil liberties. It should be clear that if the UK Government will not lift lockdown, it must then be its goal to create a permanently altered mode of being based on an illusion of fear.

If the reader is able, he should obtain a copy of the film Equals, directed by Drake Doremus, and starring Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart. This piece of theatre (made in 2015) is perhaps the latest quality work in the canon of English language dystopian literature, and is perhaps more pertinent to the current times than Nineteen Eighty Four. When watching this film, the viewer should easily apprehend that the society portrayed in the film is something that is achievable from present circumstances using the threat of disease as a motivation for transition. In the meantime, this article will serve as a primer to the film, as well as dealing with a central theme of “behaviour as the disease”. Because the film generates a lot of food for thought, and plenty of opportunity to draw direct comparisons with what is the UK’s medical-based tyranny, there will be further pieces in the near future.

In the story told by the film, the Collective is the name of a society of “equals” – a word which might be synonymous with “citizens”, but for the fact that it conveys a precise mode of citizenship, or indeed culture. And it is despite this culture that the two protagonists of the tale, Silus and Nia, assert their ultimate differences, one from the other, as they form a relationship.

The Collective appears to be what remains of the human race after a devastating war (the staple cataclysmic event from which a new order can emerge, but that might, indeed, never have happened). In this post-war society, the family is defunct; adults live separately in their own apartments, and there is no bonding between them. Children appear to be separated at birth from their biological female parent, who is artificially inseminated when she gets “called up” for what is called Conception Duty. When they are old enough (according to experience conveyed in dialogue), children are put into the care of a number of guardians, are schooled, and then they become equals, each being a “productive member of the Collective,” and are allocated a job of work. At this stage they know nothing of normal human interaction (as the viewer would know it), except that any behaviour which leads them to seek it is considered symptomatic of a disease.

Exposition in the film is largely performed by robotic news bulletins and public announcements. It is this way that a viewer learns that all equals will have undergone genetic engineering to make them unresponsive to emotional stimuli. In fact, it is a belief held in the society that base-urges and emotions are primitive defects. The word “evolved” is not overtly used, but this is clearly what the society collectively believes has occurred (another clue is the emblem of space exploration, which is a well known symbol for human evolution). Silas, while researching for his work, discovers that primitives would seek the company of others out of anxiety of being alone. It would seem that knowledge of previous human deficiency is not forbidden so that equals can cultivate a sense of superiority regarding their own situation: they are above having anxiety, and they don’t need company.

This provides a clue that the conditioning to create an equal out of a would-be primitive is psychological rather than genetic. In other words, the society is crafted by having cultural attitudes inculcated into children. Moreover, chemical medication that is prescribed to certain members of the population in an attempt to maintain their condition inevitably does not work – and ultimately, in the form of a supposed cure (that emerges during the course of the film), appears to be a placebo, again which involves psychology.

Departure from the norm, as hinted at in the previous paragraph, is considered to be an illness; it is a disease that goes by the name of SOS. To fully explain this, we will rely on tracts of the exposition in the film. This speech is, after all, designed to provide back-story without dragging against the forward propulsion of the narrative, and so there is no sense in wasting it. Moreover, reproducing it here in verbatim means there can be no omission of important details, which is what is at risk with summarisation:

While scientists are making strides in understanding this debilitating condition, a reliable cure for SOS has yet to be found and most SOS sufferers will experience complete emotional disability in as little as four to six months. Prior to eventual containment at the DEN, kappa rho inhibitors offer a reliable means of dampening symptoms and slowing stages of the disease thus allowing sufferers… to maintain productive lives…”

Switched on Syndrome is a malfunction of the gene silencing that controls human emotions and eliminates human flaws… in Switched on Syndrome, problem genes lose their silencing and reactivate, leading to unpredictable sensory experiences and behavioural defects. Until a cure is available, inhibitors are the only effective means of slowing the disease’s staging while dampening the onset of emotion.

And while the causes are unknown we do understand the progression. During stage one, “intermittent feeling,” you will experience difficulty concentrating, depression, pain, overwhelmed feelings, impulsivity, and sensitivity to light.

As the disease progresses into further stages, “consistent low-level emotion,” and “emotional volatility,” these symptoms will worsen. In stage four, “acute behavioural chaos,” you will no longer function as a productive member of the collective and your doctor will prescribe containment at the DEN where you will be provided with electro-restraint, emotional suppression, and a pain-free death scenario.”

This extract provides a lot of material for discussion; again, future articles will deliver greater analysis. For now, we focus on the nature of the disease, SOS – or rather the controversy about it – and leading from that, we discover that the real problem is not spread of illness, but the spread of subversion.

There comes a point in the tale where Silas manages to contact a small group of people who suffer from SOS and who meet secretly to discuss their predicament. Silas is told by one of this group that he thinks that SOS is not real. Instead, it is a reawakening of the natural human condition. The group also tells Silas that, contrary to official knowledge, the disease is in fact contagious in the sense that “feelings engender feelings”. In other words, people will “develop SOS” on exposure to others who are displaying natural responses, or in fact the symptoms of the disease. Indeed, Silas himself would be able to testify to the truth of this because of how he became a stage one SOS sufferer after having witnessed Nia react to an act of suicide committed by a man in the grounds of their place of work. His “illness” coincided with his developing a fascination with Nia.

The reader should also have gathered from the extract that suffering from SOS inevitably means incarceration or death. Indeed, the Collective appears to depend on death, and specifically suicide, to survive. Likewise, there is reliance on citizenry, equals, self-policing, and this doesn’t just mean neighbours spying on each other. The fear of contracting SOS is such that it drive equals to their doctors upon their first experiencing any symptoms (there are exceptions, but a discussion about that is for another time). At this point doctors appear to diagnose the disease using blood tests, but in fact the patient presenting himself at the doctors’ office is as good any laboratory method for indicating infection with the disease.

As it turns out, the equal who visits a doctor to check up for SOS will surrender himself onto a pathway towards imprisonment, and indeed premature death, which will come through suicide, either committed amongst the population in stage three of the disease, or after being incarcerated at the DEN (half of people who are committed kill themselves). Either way, the equal ultimately eliminates himself from society self-voluntarily, and until that day comes, he will succumb to a medical effort to prevent his being troubled with symptoms. Clearly, as a device for maintaining societal control, medication is designed to stop SOS sufferers engendering the disease in other people through displays of symptoms. In other words, it is for preventing feelings engendering other feelings.

On top of the medical measures, as a kind of last ring of defence, is something called Health & Safety. Health & Safety is the closest thing that the Collective has to police – but it is not police in that it doesn’t deal with general crime (there is none). It is the role of Health & Safety to surveil society (by being present in person on the streets and in places of work – electronic surveillance does not appear to be required), and to find and act on reports of corrupting behaviour. Not long into the film there is a scene where two Health & Safety officials drag a male and female, through a street towards incarceration in the DEN; later there is exposition:

Health & Safety officials subdued two individuals engaged in coupling activity and both have been transported to the Defective Emotional Neuropathy facility, the DEN, for containment and emotional suppression treatment. The incident is an outbreak of defective behaviour. Remember, couplers are a danger to themselves and to all of us.

The public announcement then turns into a related public information message:

Physical contact, touching, or displays of emotion are signs of an individual infected with SOS.

If you see the signs, report the couplers to Health & Safety immediately. Let’s do our part to help contain this dangerous epidemic.

Coupling between equals is the greatest threat to the Collective. Not only is this overtly implied in the tract above, but it is self-evident. Coupling allows individuals to discover circumstances where their emotions make sense to them, and the idea of their having a disease becomes absurd. Moreover, the inevitable path to death can no longer apply for Couplers who, if they successfully conceal their relationship, will reject suicide. It is no wonder that on detection, so the viewer is informed in dialogue between Silas and Nia, couplers face certain death. It makes sense from the Collective’s point of view: if any number of these manage to live undetected, then the potential for subversion becomes greater the more that can survive. Couplers are criminals according to the Collective, and we can see why. Couplers are not just partaking in unsanctioned behaviour in an erratic fashion; they are trying to make a way of life (as Silas and Nia attempt to do).

At this stage, we can draw things together to build a picture of the integral nature of the control grid portrayed in Equals, and this will enable us to make comparisons with our real world scenario. To protect an organisation of society to uphold a political system (we can well imagine that off screen there could be a ruling class living the unrestricted and rich life of the overlord), the tendency to revert to behaviour that would undermine that organisation is designated a disease. This is designed to make the citizenry, the equals, reveal themselves as sufferers, and volunteer into the hands of people who will make victims of them. Because the dreadful fate of sufferers is known and feared, all equals will dread developing the disease, and they will do this to the extent that as a guard against a grisly outcome, they will police society as surely as Health & Safety. With society so obsessively self-regulating, there will be a fear in sufferers to betray themselves and display their unsanctioned behaviour – the very thing that threatens the society because of how it will cause defection in others, and because of how it creates the risk of coupling.

We can make direct comparisons with circumstances around Covid-19, starting with the fact that if the disease is real, it certainly is not the threat that it is made out to be. Be that as it may, UK Government has devised means for behavioural modification that can treat the risk of this becoming more widely known. Not only is there an appeal more than ever to authority, with the creation of a cult mentality in large swathes of the public through the brazenly propagandising output of state controlled media, there is also the social distancing and lockdown. This directly restricts physical behaviour of people so that they are not in the company of others. It discourages people from gathering in public places, forbids them to meet at work, or in places where they would socialise, and requires them to stand a certain distance apart in queues. Although there is a certain amount of communication online, what the measures prevent is casual discussion between people as to the reality of the disease. The measures, therefore, affect the spread of subversive ideas.

And then fear of the disease creates a state of obsequiousness in the people that can be exploited to install behavioural protocols that can be intended to become normal. On becoming normalised, these behaviours will lead to people policing themselves, and reporting unsanctioned behaviour to the authorities. This has happened, and unfortunately all too swiftly after the Covid-19 lockdown measures were implemented.

Now, the reason for public rejection of certain behaviour is due to the idea that the behaviour has been deemed by authoritative voices to be the cause of the spread of a viral disease. When supermarkets, in the spirit of self-policing society, remove from their premises customers who display unsanctioned behaviour, they are reinforcing the concept that the behaviour causes the disease. Ultimately, when there is direct reaction by state authorities to unsanctioned behaviour – or police activity in response to it – then this also bolsters the impression of behaviour causing disease. (In fact, while police power to punish unsanctioned behaviour is actually illusory, the illusion has been more than enough to frighten lots of certain people into compliance of thought and action).

When we consider this, it becomes plain that the target for repression is the behaviour, not the disease. This is the case for these reasons: when there is unsanctioned behaviour, it risks the spread of rejection of the illusion of a viral disease, rather than the disease itself.  This occurs because people see others being unaffected by fear. As such, we can say that the disease is actually the unsanctioned behaviour. Moreover, the equivalence with the situation portrayed in the film, Equals, is plain to see. If people defy lockdown measures with displays of symptoms (i.e. behaviour that is not sanctioned), they threaten to teach bad habits to others, and teach counter-culture, after which individual protocols and indeed the entire system for control is dangerously undermined.

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  1. Kyle G says:

    A chilling example of how current propaganda is in line with the dystopian objective in Equals, is in the “Together at Home” concert, which I would not watch myself even if forced at gunpoint. This creepfest is summarised well at (a website I do not trust at all – seems like controlled opposition nonsense – but this particular articles is undeniably good):

    “The entire concept of depriving children of human contact and having them grow up in an environment where anyone can be a potential biohazard is rather terrifying. While most of us hope that today’s children will end up forgetting this insane era we’re living in, it seems that “they” want them to bask in it, to be molded by it.

    “Some of the messages directed to children in Together At Home were rather upsetting.[For example,] The [Sesame Seed] puppet said: “A lot of us are having some big feelings right now. I know I am. And that’s OK. Because we’re all in this together. When I get big feelings, I can just give myself a big hug. A self-hug”.
    Then, Abby Cadabby showed children how to give themselves a “self-hug” by putting their arms around themselves. This is not comforting. This is an Orwellian system teaching children to live without human contact.”

    Other aspects of this “concert” also conform with the isolation agenda. I look at “millennials” and regret that their symbiotic relationship with technology has led them to be effective “self-isolation/self-lockdown” – some of them may not even have noticed they are under lockdown, as they are already imprisoned within a technology bubble!

    This further shows the path to take to fight back against this. We should boycott mobile phones, conferencing, social media, and boycott online shopping, tech companies, most non-face-to-face communication, Pharma, large corporations’ products, card payments, supermarkets. I could go on but you get the picture. Sounds extreme? Well I don’t think so, as reliance on the above has led us to this current state of Borg-like technological imprisonment.

    Looking forward to the next article on Equals.

T-shirts to protest compulsory face coverings - click image