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Black Mirror's "15 Million Merits" Will Make You Question Everything About Life

Are we just living a life of mindless drudgery?

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If you haven't already heard of it, Black Mirror is a British television show that produces isolated episodes. Each one depicts a sort of twisted future and deals with the somewhat darker aspects of technology. It is available on YouTube and Netflix.

Season 1 Episode 2 follows Bing, a young man who wakes up in a cubicle type room that is surrounded by screens.

Zeppotron and Channel 4 / Via

His day consists of riding a bike that is powering...something (presumably the complex that everyone lives in) in order to earn "merits." Merits can be used to purchase commodities such as food, virtual items, programs, games, porn, the option to skip advertisements--which pop up quite a lot actually--and other random entertainment.

He does this every day along with everyone else...and such is his life. Nothing is truly tangible and, minus occasional chatter, no real relationships are forged. Their world is essentially a glamorized prison.

Zeppotron and Channel 4 / Via

In order to escape this life and into the supposed real world, one must earn 15 million merits to buy a golden ticket. This ticket will allow the person a chance to audition in front of the judges (in a very "X-Factor" like setting) in hopes that they will impress them enough to become a "Hot Shot."

Zeppotron and Channel 4 / Via

Without giving too much away, Bing realizes how empty his life is and is pushed to do something drastic after a very unfortunate turn of events. Watch it and let the satire and symbolism sink in...

The biking represents a typical 9-5 grind...

Zeppotron and Channel 4 / Via

...while we consume all sorts of entertainment to distract us from everything.

Zeppotron and Channel 4 / Via

Entertainment itself is not a bad thing. If fact, it can be (and often is) extremely beautiful. However, "15 Million Merits" forces us to ask ourselves if we are truly happy with our lives, or are simply distracting ourselves from our surroundings while we go on day after day.

If it is the latter, then pursue things that make YOU happy. You can quit your miserable job, or start working out, or go after the love of your life--you have that freedom. It's not always that simple, of course, but it makes the journey towards that goal all the more sweet. Unlike the bleak ending to this story, you have the power to make yours wonderful. Life does not have to be a prison.

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