Is THE TRUMAN SHOW Ethical?? Like Truman, have you ever questioned the nature of your own reality? Have you ever wondered what life would be like if everything around you was a fabrication? For Truman Burbank, reality was nothing more than an unsolicited reality TV show.
In The Truman Show, Jim Carrey’s Truman Burbank begins to notice that something is off in his world. A falling spotlight from the sky, rain that falls only on him, repetitive patterns, and the reappearance of his dead father. A childhood boating incident had left his father “dead” and instilled a deep fear of water that has since prevented him from traveling.
Meryl, Truman’s wife, and Marlon, his best friend, actively attempt to suppress Truman’s curiosity in the sci-fi film. Why? Well, it’s because Truman initially fell in love with an extra named “Sylvia.” But when Sylvia ran off with Truman to the beach and revealed that his reality is fake, she was quickly whisked away, never to be seen again. Christof cuts transmission for the very first time when Marlon breaks character. Truman eventually escapes in search of a true reality, and sails off to the edge of the dome into freedom.
So, what makes sci-fi comedy Truman Show so terrifying? The public is complicit in his imprisonment. Except for a few “Free Truman” supporters, the entire world watched his life unfold with little issue. Truman never consented to have his privacy invaded, and certainly never consented to live a fabricated life. We have the same obsession with reality TV and social media—entire lives are currently being played out in front of audiences in the form of celebs and influencers. We sign away privacy willingly with every app use, and every Alexa or Google home we use.
But unlike us, Truman never opted in for forced isolation from the real world. Having been placed in the dystopian domed prison as a baby, Truman never had the opportunity to choose a profession or live the way he wanted to. Thankfully, his discovery of his true purpose was inevitable. He couldn’t live in a zoo forever. People are naturally curious and inquisitive. It’s what separate us from most other animals.
Truman is a slave to the corporation. He was legally adopted by a corporation and deprived the ability to decide a fulfilling life. Some corporations, like Facebook and Google, are already more powerful and influential than most countries, A scenario where companies help countries adopt children for commercial purposes isn’t out of the question. Much like a slave, Truman was unable to act against his master’s will. His entire life was exploited for money and entertainment. Gustof and company likely grew rich. Both of Truman’s escapes were highly reminiscent of a slave escaping his master’s farm. The company needed their prized worker back and even used dogs to sniff him out. Forced servitude and slavery is still very much alive today, although we pretend it’s been vanquished.
Christov, the producer and driving force of “The Truman Show”, manipulated false narratives to prevent Truman from exploring the world and acting with free will. He can never forge his own path. Are we really so different from Truman?
Our brains, like computers, follow a blueprint (genetic code) that builds upon itself through interaction with the environment (school, books, learning, etc). Truman was born into a safe, comfortable and controlled city, it’s likely that many people on planet earth would actually be jealous of his lifestyle. Truman can’t trust anyone, because they’re completely fabricated. He can’t choose to pursue who he loves. Meryl was “selected” to be his wife and showed no real love for him. These falsified relationships made the potential of TRUE relationships that much more desirable, hence his inevitable escape through the sky.
What happens next for Truman? Does he suddenly gain new rights? Does the company still own him? Will he gets points on the backend of the Truman Show in syndication? Thought starters aside, it’s time for the real question.
Is The Truman Show ethical? We say NO. As we move humans forward with technological advances in our current society, our Privacy is becoming increasingly more compromised. Without privacy, captivity can take hold. We should all have the right to be free. Free of false realities. Each of us should have the right to decide the life we want to live. So. How angry would YOU be if you found out your whole life was a lie.
This video is not sponsored by Paramount. We just love sci-fi, superheroes, comic books, movies and looking into the ethics behind time travel.
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