Suppress vs Control

As you might know, I’ve been gorging myself on the Sydney Film Festival for the past couple of weeks. On Saturday night I went and saw a Japanese post-apocalypse animation called Appleseed Ex Machina, produced by Hong Kong action guru John Woo. It’s a sequel, and followed the first film pretty closely: cool concept, great animation, but rubbish script and dialogue. Here’s the trailer if you want a taste.

The most interesting thing about this film is the concept – that in the future, after the massive war (which of course destroys everything and makes us have to start again – common theme in anime), it’s these bioroids (kinda half-human, half-android) which are trying to keep the world peaceful. The reason they can do this is that they suppress emotions such as fear and anger.

I find this interesting because in a few of the Asian countries I’ve visited, including Japan, the control of emotion, particularly anger, seems to be a pretty big thing – raising your voice or losing your cool involves ‘loss of face’ (this is not another John Woo reference). I like this idea actually, because it’s generally when I act out of fear or anger I make the worst decisions. In this sense, being able to control my emotions means that I’m able to channel them into more productive actions, for example turning fear into excitement as I try something new.

But suppressing emotions is totally different and totally unhealthy I reckon. Holding feelings back, or down, or pushing them away can’t be a good thing. Maybe it’s a bit like storing nuclear waste underground or at the bottom of the ocean: sure, you can’t see it, and it appears to be gone, but things don’t go away just because you hide them somewhere far far away. And so one day it’ll come back, bigger and badder, and cause all sorts of problems. Better to deal with it now, or don’t indulge in it at all.

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4 thoughts on “Suppress vs Control”

  1. You might like to check out a movie called Equilibrium, where the future is a world in total peace due to the forced drugging of the entire population with emotion dampening chemicals, as well as the destruction of any materials which may cause emotion, ie music, art, poetry etc.

    They asked me to do the lead role, but Christian Bale is a bit prettier.

  2. I’ve seen Equilibrium. It was good quality b-grade scifi. I guess these ideas are all derivative of ‘Brave New World’, aren’t they?

  3. That’s a pretty good definition actually, much better than the Macquarie Dictionary one: to put an end to the activities of.

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