Anyone who’s read One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest will be familiar with the concept of the Combine. Ever since I read the book I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.
For those who don’t know, the Combine is the ‘organisation’ that makes us conform to the norms of society. You’d probably be more familiar with the term ‘the man’ but it means the same thing.
To me the Combine is less like a group of people that pulls the strings that makes us do what we want them to do, and more like a force that is built inside our head at an early age by ourselves to stop us doing what others would consider unacceptable. However, we can live our whole lives and not even know its there.
I’m willing to bet that most of you would not break into a shop to steal a TV, or you wouldn’t steal your parent’s jewelry to sell for money, the after effects of this are such that you would not do it. That thing in your mind, that barrier that stops you doing it is what i see as the Combine. Some might say that is just logic, the bad outweighs the good, or even just good morals. It is our ability, however, to act irrationally that makes us human and it is in our nature to live day by day when things get tough. This is a force so powerful it prevents parents taking revenge on their child’s murderer.
Quite obviously the Combine serves a purpose. It keeps people in line and it allows for our society to run smoothly. It also punishes people to refuse to succumb to the Combine and do decide to steal that TV. It is absolutely necessary for the world we live in to function, but it comes at a cost.
Freedom. You may think you’re free, but your really not. For example, you physically could not throw your computer outside the window right now, there’s no way you could. If you could you would be one of the few that the Combine has little strength over. But would you be willing to buy another computer and do it again, and again, and again, just to prove that you are free? None of us are completely and utterly free.
But again, that is necessary. The Combine takes our freedoms away, but in return gives us the ability to achieve happiness and contentment. And in the end, that’s all that really matters, isn’t it? Or is it?
The Combine also dulls your mind. It makes you happy to just live. It makes you happy to sacrifice the present for the future. More so, it makes you happy to suffer in this life, so that you might live well in the next.