I went to Adjustment Bureau yesterday

I enjoyed it overall but one line near the end got me wondering. It’s in the scene where Matt Damon’s character, David Norris, is asking one of the Adjustment guys why they do what they do, does free will exist or not. The Adjustment guy tries to justify why they got involved with tweaking the brains of humanity in the first place. Left to our own free will, we cause wars, famine, and nearly destroyed the world more than once. It was a line like, “We left you alone and you created the Dark Ages!” So they stepped in again and enlightened us because we were never going to find reason on our own, apparently.

Walking home from the film, my question was this. The Dark Ages were in the west of the world. What was going on in the rest of the world at the time?

I don’t know if that line was in Philip K. Dick’s original story or if it was invented for the purpose of the film, but it turns out to be a flawed concept anyway. People have used it to describe the whole time between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance, thinking of those all those centuries in Europe as being ridiculously backward and superstitious and rife with ignorance. They likely were, but according to Wikipedia, the term “Dark Ages” has varied in definition and purpose of description over the centuries, too, with historians trying to keep the phrase neutral, preferring to use it only when referring to any time that lacks sufficient historical record. Those times are called “Dark Ages” because we can’t be enlightened about what was really going on since not enough records remain to illuminate us. We’re in the dark about that time in history. As we learn more about medieval Europe, the term becomes even more unnecessary.

But back to my “rest of the world” question. Women were writing great prose in Japan during the 900s and poetry was also popular in court. Samurai warriors emerged by the 12th century and Buddhism was well on its way then, too. China already had movable type and gunpowder. Philosophy, math, and other sciences were flourishing in Muslim parts of the world at the time, some of that thanks to translations of Greek writing into Arabic. It’s also the origin era for the popular Thousand and One Nights.

I just think it’s unfortunate when people assume the progress of Western civilization is all that really matters in the world.

About 1minionsopinion

Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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4 Responses to I went to Adjustment Bureau yesterday

  1. Tony Sidaway says:

    I saw the film yesterday and enjoyed it mostly because it featured some good actors making a preposterous story believable. There was a lightness of touch to the writing that I really appreciated, too.

    This contrasts with my attempt to watch the second Matrix film. By the time some character or other is telling another that flying saucers, ghosts and whatnot are all due to software glitches or viruses, I’d had enough. That series of films started to take itself far too seriously.

  2. 1minionsopinion says:

    I felt the same way about Pitch Black, too, which also resulted in a pointless sequel.

    Yeah, the Matrix should have been a one-off. It should have been kept as a cool conceptual film, instead of assuming everyone watched it for the bullettime so let’s add more effects to the next ones..

    Funny enough, I was impressed mostly by the fact that Adjustment Bureau didn’t have much in the way of violence and explosions. Those action tactics were missing, by and large, so when they did occur, I found it shocking. That was pretty refreshing, actually, yet I’d still consider it an action movie, given how much chasing was going on. It was certainly unusual in that regard.

  3. Tony Sidaway says:

    I felt very connected to this film as it happened, which is rare when I watch Hollywood films.

    You may see what I mean if you’re familiar with our British film and stage acting, which has to my mind far more raw spirit and immediacy than fits well with the slick, wrapped-up, almost comic-book style common in Hollywood. Here people seemed to act naturally. The “angels” were real, with few gimmicks, just a hint of the limitations that are traditionally their lot.

    The only special effects I recall worthy of the name were the plans, so reminiscent of Harry Potter maps.

    It was light but I don’t mind that. The alternative was the cameleon film.

  4. 1minionsopinion says:

    I’m not familiar with stage production much but I think I get your drift. It didn’t have the “blockbuster” feel most American big actor movies tend to have. It was small in scope and honest-feeling and just about a guy who’d do anything he could to be with the woman he loves, even if it meant giving up a future he thought he wanted. I could get behind that passion, that’s for sure. I liked those books the Bureau had. Those were nifty.

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