Years ago, I watched a movie called “Logan’s Run.” The message continues to cause a significant amount of introspection and reflection.
I like science fiction and the movie falls into this category. It has been years since I watched it, but the way I remember the plot, a remnant of civilization exists in a utopian society within a massive dome. Their enclosed world is experiencing a terrible shortage of food and what is left to them of the planet can no longer sustain life long term. For this reason, the computer that controls their lives has everyone fitted with a computerized clock to monitor their age. A police-like military group oversees the city where these people live, enforcing the computer’s rulesand demands. When a person’s life-clock reaches 30, they are taken to a large chamber where they undergo a ritual called “Carousel.” During this ritual, they begin to float upward and disappear upon reaching the top of the chamber. Everyone is told these people are being reincarnated and that they will never have to grow old. The citizens are told they will all be renewed in this manner when their life-clock runs out.
What the average citizen doesn’t know is that everyone who reaches 30 is being killed in the rooms above the chamber and their remains are being converted into food. And this is the food that is being supplied to the remaining people within the dome. It is keeping them alive.
Logan is one of the soldiers who keeps order in the city and who has terminated those who have tried to escape this fate. To force him to go on a secret mission, his life-clock is moved forward from age 28 to 30 by the computer. And he will be required to participate in Carousel with a group of suspected rebels who form a secret society. They are being monitored and are expected to attempt to escape, as more than 1000 have reportedly successfully done over the years. This group wears a symbol to identify them and some have been overheard talking about a place called “Sanctuary.” They are planning to try to find this place of purported safety. For they do not believe in the ritual of renewal and rebirth. They are certain they will not be reincarnated, but will instead be destroyed. So, they are going to run and Logan is to run with them. Hence the title, Logan’s Run.
Logan is to go with the group as they attempt to find the mythical Sanctuary. Once found, he is to report back and provide the computer with the location so their rebel fortress can be destroyed.
During his “run,” Logan learns the truth. He sees what is happening to the people who reach age 30 and who are swept aloft in the massive chamber during the ritual. Clever propaganda has been used to hide what is being done, but Logan now sees proof that it is nothing but terrible lies. He realizes everyone is being killed, their remains processed and stored to provide sustenance to the remaining residents. Disillusioned, frightened, his escape becomes much more than an undercover mission he was forced to accept. It is now a genuine attempt to flee with the group of rebels upon which he is supposed to spy.
What he discovers outside the dome is deeply surprising. In unexpected ways.
Eventually, as he returns to let others know about his startling discoveries, he is recaptured by a fellow “sandman.” His fellow soldiers, who have become his enemies. They hook him up to the massive computer that runs all life within the dome and maintains compliance, balance and order. He is interrogated. They show him no mercy. They spare him no pain.
He is asked if he has completed his mission. Then the question, “What is Sanctuary?” Logan responds honestly. Without deceit. He has discovered the truth while outside the dome.
“There is no Sanctuary.”
The answer is unacceptable, so the computer asks again. Again, Logan responds, “There is no Sanctuary.”
Again. “There is no Sanctuary.”
Yet again, and again, and again, the computer prods. Logan can only tell the truth. He can only report what he has come to know…there is life outside the dome, but there is no Sanctuary. And this response, given while he is tortured, is the computer’s undoing. It can’t process what it is being told. Things begin to come unraveled within its circuitry. Within the dome. Things stop working. Vital processes cease. Things explode. Seals release. Cracks eventually develop in thick walls and finally the dome is split apart and crumbles. Their world is forever altered as life within the confines of that sphere fail and come to a catastrophic end. Because there is no Sanctuary.
I think I have finally learned this lesson. And it’s a hard lesson. Not that there is no sanctuary, specifically. But there is no place of being okay. No safe haven. No space where healing is accomplished. Where all the wounds of the past are finally made well and health is restored. Where things are put right. Where the chains that bind are broken and one is set free. There is no Sanctuary. No magical spot or time where wrongs are righted and happy endings begin. Not on earth, anyway.
Life is hard. It does things to you. It is harder for some than for others.
My life has been a hard one. Abuse…physical, emotional, sexual…riddled my childhood. I didn’t learn many of the foundational lessons that others learn, so things that come easily to others are very difficult for me. And the damage that was done to me at an early age goes deep. It messed me up. Changed me forever.
No one gets through this journey unscathed. Or at least most don’t. We are all walking wounded. Some of our wounds are ghastly. Others are relatively minor. But we all get hurt. There is no Sanctuary. No safety. No place of freedom. No guarantees.
And once the damage has been done, nothing is going to undo it.
Looking back, it seems so simple. There is no sanctuary. There is no healing. We are left with a cracked, demolished life that will never be what it could have been. All we can hope to do is go from where we are and learn to live outside the dome.
It’s taken me a lifetime to realize I have spent years seeking something that doesn’t exist. It’s terrifying to suddenly comprehend that life, the way it is, is what it is and that this is all it will ever be. It isn’t going to get better. There will be no sanctuary. There is no better place, no better day, no moment of freedom, no time of healing. No putting the pieces back together. No restoration.
I am what my life, what those who raised me, made me and there is to be no unmaking. The damage resides within my cells. It’s part of me. I can only try my best to go on from here as I am. There is no Sanctuary. And finding meaning in this wild, terrifying world, a world where we grow old and are not renewed or restored, is no easy journey.