Choices like “Clockwork”

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If you’ve never read or seen, “A Clockwork Orange”, you may want to be cautious. I first read the 1962 Anthony Burgess novel about 10 years ago, but thought after a decade, it was time to re-acquaint with some old droogs(Clockwork slang for “friends.”)

In this novel, Alex (the anti-hero) is an ultra violent hoodlum who wanders the streets of a futuristic city where, the reader is led to believe, the world has “advanced” into a state of anarchy. Severe beatings, thieving, rape, and murder are commonplace for Alex and his gang, all of which are set to the tune of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in the 1971 movie based on the novel.

Alex is finally caught by the police and sentenced to prison. While there, he’s the center of an aversion therapy experiment to cure him of his violent nature. Alex is strapped down, eyes splayed open while horrific and violent images are flashed on a screen before him. Right before the movie begins, he’s pumped full of drugs to induce nausea. Hence, anything he thinks of as violent following the therapy will bring on the sicky feeling.

That’s about where I am in the book, but more than anything, I wanted to share this quote from one of Alex’s doctors. Alex is cringing and suffering during the therapy and his tormentor says:

“You have no cause to grumble, boy. You made your choice and all this is a consequence of your choice. Whatever now ensues is what you, yourself, have chosen.”

Upon first read, this is a pretty accurate summation of life in general. We are all the products of our decisions, but some of us are the products of the decisions of others. Had not someone made an irresponsible choice a decade and a half ago, you wouldn’t be reading the words on your screen right now. Still, our choices lead to our ultimate fulfillment and happiness. Or, in the case of Alex, the punishment our choices bring upon us.

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  • Susabelle

    Ah, I have a feeling, Marcus, that you’d still be doing what you are doing right now, even without the accident. You are a born writer and public speaker, and I doubt you could have avoided this particular career path.

    Here’s my favorite quote about taking your life’s choices into your own hands. It is from George Bernard Shaw.

    “People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.”

  • Marcus Engel

    Ya know, that question has been posed many times, and it’s certainly crossed my mind: What WOULD I be doing had I made it home safely that night?

    I’m really not sure. It’s doubtful I’d be nearly as happy with life because the lessons learned during that time are so, so valuable. I’m not sure I’d be as passionate about life and all it has to offer. For that, I can’t ever be ungrateful.

    So, guess I’ll just continue on this path I’m on, taking it as it comes every step of the way! Hey, it’s worked for the last decade or so!

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