Oh, that is a piece of bad luck. -Caesar Flickerman, in the Hunger Games
Morality, some people would argue, is the one part of our lives in which how we fare is dependent on our own choices and not by unpredictable forces outside of our control, sometimes called “luck.” Is it possible that, like President Snow, some people are so lost in their own vice that they can not even see how horrific some of their actions really are? It is very difficult to ignore the parallels between the Ancient Greeks, the Gladiator Games, and the Hunger Games. Katniss, Peeta and all of the other tributes are slaves, even if they do not realize it. They must please the Capitol. The Capitol uses fear of death to infect them with its corrupt ideals in the name of “Law and Order.” The “Bread and Circuses” for the Capitol are provided BY the enslaved districts. When people refuse to play their role as slaves, whether they “think” they are slaves or not, only then will they have the ability to fight for their freedom. One of the most Machiavellian instruments of tyranny from the Capitol forced upon Panem is the promotion of vice within the citizenry: servitude within the districts, and excess and luxury in the Capitol. Both of which, involves clinging subserviently to preferables as if they had some real value.
Thus, the State never intentionally confronts a man’s sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest. What force has a multitude? They only can force me who obey a higher law than I. They force me to become like themselves. I do not hear of men being forced to have this way or that by masses of men. What sort of life were that to live? -Thoreau
The Great Deception. The Capitol is great at hiding its real intentions. The subtle trick is not to control others, but to get them to control themselves. By walking a fine line between vice and virtue you can get people to fall into certain habits in an effort to perpetuate the current social order. Education, or mis-education is a very powerful, but hidden, force of social control.
If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go; perchance it will wear smooth — certainly the machine will wear out. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine. -Thoreau
So what do we do? The prescriptions are easy, however, the medicine is much more difficult. There is a difference between knowing how to do something – or even talking about it – and actually doing it. Politics and society today are all about showmanship over reality, vanity over self-preservation, preferables over good, and talk over action.
It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell. -Buddha
Katniss and Peeta also recognize that “a wise man will only be useful as a man, and will not submit to be ‘clay’,” and that “a wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority.” Peeta himself ponders how to do this when he says, “Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to…to show the Capitol that they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games.” Katniss and Peeta use this to gain their control back and ultimately shows the readers that the most important thing in life is not “the hand we are dealt, but how we choose to play it.”