Notes on “Millennium People” by J. G. Ballard (1)

– “We have to set people free from all this culture and education. Richard says they’re just ways of trapping the middle class and making them docile.” – “So it’s a war of liberation?” – p 61, Chapter 8 “The Sleepwalkers”.

– “I remembered Kay hinting that he had lost his faith, but this was almost an obligation in the contemporary priesthood.” – p 62, Chapter 8 “The Sleepwalkers”.

  • Naturally, as to communicate/to be in touch wth i.e. to empathise with his congregation, a priest must lose his faith in God to the scientific revolution, demonstrating that he is first a reasonable, logical human. He must have lost his faith to be able to show his congregation the way thence to reconciling with God and reconciling themselves to the ostensibly antagonistic relationship between religion and science.

– “Look at the world around you, David. What do you see? An endless theme park, with everything turned into entertainment. Science, politics, education – they’re so many fairground rides.” – p 62, Chapter 8 “The Sleepwalkers”.

  • I’m a little confused at this statement. Science, politics, education – fairground rides? Entertainment? Surely not – I mean, these are three major branches of society that hold it together, maintain it and create its future. How could you possibly think that these are mere entertainment? Sure there are magazines for each one, and they could be classified as spectator sports, as not many have the skill to play a role in these branches of society. Elements of education can be compared to a fairground ride, e.g. a languages degree etc. but fundamentally, all three branches are vital to the running of a successful society.

The target of this middle-class revolution is the 20th Century which persevered on to shape this century’s theme park.

– “It lingers on. It shapes everything we do, the way we think. There’s scarcely a good thing you can say for it. Genocidal wars, half the world destitute, the other half sleepwalking through its own brain-death. We bought its trashy dreams and now we can’t wake up. ALl these hypermarkets and gated communities. Once the doors close you can never get out. You know all this, David. It keeps you in corporate clients.” – p 63-64, Chapter 8 “The Sleepwalkers”.

  • The main character suspects that the speaker, Dexter, is an “imposter”; although what kind of imposter he might be is unclear to me, possibly due to ignorance on my part. Help?
  • All the characters presented to us in Millennium People so far have been the middle-class, those living comfortably with their specious luxuries that only do so much to delineate them from the next class down, so that they must supplement the difference by investing in the middle-class culture of theatre and literature and information. Something along those lines.
  • The main character, David, starts out as a spy for the world order as it is. He is the other half of the middle-class, the half protecting the status quo, the half still happy to be a part of the trash-fed society because it functions. The other half he describes as being “detached from reality”, being in touch with reality meaning to be in possession of worldliness, the fashionable – being literate in the current trend – and an unshakeable rationality, and he categorises them as a lost, lonely people over-abundant in faith that they cannot invest, searching for a tangible leader who will stand on their belief in rationalism for his foundation.
  • So, perhaps, what Ballard means by “imposter” is someone detached from reality, who presents themselves as the one to make an observable difference to the world.
  • So basically, this book is about the hopelessly deluded middle-class running around believing that they’re the swing vote between the proletariat and the elite class, and how a secret dissident is slowly brought to their cause?

– “Strong-willed and confident, they shouted down the young manager who tried to address them. Their voices, honed at a hundred school open days and business conferences, drowned the manager’s efforts to make himself heard.
‘What is it?’ I asked Kay, as she edged the car through the throng. ‘It looks serious.’
‘It is serious.’
‘Some paedophile on the prowl?’
‘Parking charges.’ Kay stared sternly at the luckless manager, who had taken refuge behind his glass door. ‘Believe me, the next revolution is going to be about parking.'”

  • Or rather, because the middle-class are faithless, unlike the proletariat, and in need of faith, unlike the elite, they are latching onto any convenient cause, flea-like, to satisfy their need to gather with like and believe in one absolute right. The next revolution will be about parking because it is the most popular and, therefore, has the most power.

Huh. Still largely confused.


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