None of the  Hunger Games movies are likely to make any 100 best all-time films lists, but the series does have some important things to say about our increasingly Orwellian society. Even though they are set in the future, the films do a particularly good job of capturing the therapeutic-emotional nature of contemporary society. The society of Panem is a police state which uses gladiatorial-like games to entertain and distract the populace. But unlike ancient gladiators, the young men and women of Panem get to talk about their feelings on government-controlled television, and the mass audience gets to emote along with them.

The people of Panem seem to have lost the ability to distinguish right from wrong, but they have not lost their ability to feel. In a way, the two are connected. The diminishment of the moral sense in our own society was preceded and, arguably, caused by an increasing obsession with subjective emotional states.

“How do you feel about that?” asks the therapist. And the client knows that whatever he feels is okay. In the therapist’s office, the emphasis is on self-acceptance and non-judgmentalism. He or she is not going to censure you, the client, because from the therapeutic standpoint there are no unacceptable feelings. Unfortunately, at some point in the last fifty years, the whole society morphed into one big therapists’ office. The rules that governed the counseling relationship became the rules for the whole society. Political correctness, for example, is basically an attempt to enforce the nonjudgmental principle on society at large. CONTINUE READING