Every now ant then, a movie – or series of movies – reflects on contemporary community and society. I specifically mention both here, because at present day those two concepts seem to be intertwined. Well, it’s NOT. The difference is that a community is about people, while a society is also about government, connected to a community. Well now, the Divergent series can be described as a futuristic, dystopian series of films that directly reflect on the contemporary communities. In these films, the focus is on the community, while society plays a marginal, yet important role. In this blog, I will try to extrapolate the reflection of the series onto the present day situation.
First film: Divergent
- The factions. We see that the community is divided into five (5) separate factions. In real life, we also see a division into several subgroups of society. The most striking comparison is shown in India, where society is still divided into seperate castes. But also in western civilization we see a similar division. For example, take the clericy (Candor), scholars (Erudite), police and army (Dauntless), farmers (Amity) and caretakers like medics (Abnegation). Aside from these factions, there are the working class and unemployed (factionless), and the ambivalent (Divergent).
- Ambivalence. Divergence in the film series is viewed as unnatural, and even a threat to society. In real life, ambivalence is also viewed more and more as unnatural.
- Peace. In the film series, at first, there is no longer war or struggle. In real life, the corporations want us to believe that we are at the verge of long-lasting peace – once the various international treaties (TTIP, CETA, etc) are signed, that is.
- Aggression. In the film series, the Dauntless are supposed to be fearless – yet quite aggressive. In real life, we see police and armed forces taking exactly the same position in society.
- Obedience. In the film series, the Dauntless are trained to be perfect soldiers and are not to question any decision from the leader. In real life, we see police and armed forces that are increasingly obeying their superiors without questioning their orders.
- Vaccinations. In the film series, the Dauntless who passed the tests are injected by a serum, supposedly as a means to be tracked at any time. In real life, we see vaccinations that are supposedly meant to protect people from diseases but actually are a means to track people. However, the comparison doesn’t stop there. In the film series, the Dauntless are in fact being manipulated through the serum to do unspeakable deeds. In real life, the vaccinations can as well do precisely that – and maybe even more. In both the film series and in real life, vaccinated people are being made obedient to serve whoever is in charge!
Second film: Insurgent
- Maintaning the status quo. Instead of embracing change, the division into factions is being preserved. In real life, we also see that “the powers that be” prefer to maintain the status quo of dividing society into certain groups rather than allowing the development of free spirit.
- Suppression of the weak. Anyone who defies the ruling faction is removed in any way. In real life, we also see people who dare to speak out against the leadership disappear without a trace, or get “unfortunate accidents”.
- Betrayal of peers. Peter tells the Dauntless soldiers where to find Triss and Four. In real life, we have seen this numerous times. The most clear example may be Nazi Germany, where virtually every jew, gipsy, communist, scholar or anyone different was betrayed to the Nazis.
- The opening of the box. In the film, the box is opened after Triss has completed all five tasks. She is the only one who apparently is the only true divergent one. In a sense, this can be compared to the gurus in real life. They have reached a certain level of consciousness that allows them to overgrow certain
Third film: Allegiant
- Genetic manipulation and enhancement. On numerous occasions, we see references to genetic manipulation of humans. When the group arrives at O’Hara airport, they see the development of mankind by genetic modification, which leads to a global war and results into total chaos. At present day, the cloning of the sheep Dolly is the first example of successful manipulation of genetic material. By now, we are already capable of cloning and enhancing body parts – aledgedly for medical treatment. And let’s not forget genetically modified food – the GMO’s – by companies such as Monsanto.
- Marking of humans. When the group enters O’Hara airport, they are stamped with a tattoo on their lower arm. Where inside Chicago there were the factions, outside the perimeter the tattoos signify certain groups – each with their own designation. In real life, people in Sweden have already begun accepting small subdermal implants which can be used as tracking devices, although the Powers That Be want you to believe otherwise.
- Observation. Where the people inside the Chicago Dome have been observed with every step they make, so are we in real life. In real life, this takes place through cell phones, IP addresses in every object we possess, tv screens, and so on.
- Conditioning. In the Fringe, children are taken from their homes, their memories are swept clean by a sort of gas, and reprogrammed. In real life, through vaccinations our genetic coding is being reprogrammed from early age on, and through school we are being reprogrammed bit by bit.
- Control. David has control over Chicago, but answers to a higher level of administration, located in Providence. In real life, we see this as well, only the division into of administrations consists of more levels: municipal, regional, national, up to the administration of the United Nations. And even then, there is an invisible force to which the UN answers to.
(All images courtesy of and (c) by the Divergent franchise)