I recently watched an episode of Doctor Who, a BBC television show about a traveling alien and his companion, usually a woman. In one of the episodes called “Planet of the Ood” – don’t mind the title – the Doctor and his companion land on an ice planet in the year 4126.
Now stick with me, but it was a beautiful story.
The Doctor arrives to find the Oods, mindless, thoughtless beings, bred for the sole purpose of serving human kind. But it is slowly revealed that the apparent servants are really slaves who’ve been lobotomized by a corporation bent on using the peaceful creatures for their own dividends. The head of the corporation suppresses them by controlling the Oods brain waves, or their subconscious connection to one another.
This might seem random and ridiculous. It’s not. While in captivity, a few of the Oods continue to sing a song of captivity that breaks the hearts and weakens the resolve of anyone who can hear it, which lucky for us, is only the Doctor. In the end (spoiler alert), the electric circle binding the Ood’s minds are broken and they are thus set free to once again join minds and sing. Only this time it is no longer a song of captivity, but one of freedom. The song transforms the hearts and minds of those near and inspires them. It inspired me.
As I listened to this Ood song it beckoned me to ponder on the captivity we face each day. The captivities of being something that we are told are important but have little value. The shackles of trying to be a “man”, or a “woman”, but not really knowing how. The chains of sadness and despair in our day-to-day happenings. The limits of a lack of meaningful relationships in our times of trial and stress. Or the captivity of not truly knowing ourselves or where we belong.
We get trapped in this “circle” that continually yields fewer and fewer profound results, and yet we continue to feed into that current. We sing songs of woe and sorrow but do not attempt to upset the boundaries that contain us. If we were only to connect with something greater and untangle ourselves from deceptive circles we would be able to hear a song of freedom, rather than the heartbreaking song of captivity we play again and again in our lives.
In the moments that the enslaved Oods dwelled in, they knew not of the freedom and joy that lay beyond their consciousness, but only of their master’s commands. It is the same with us as humans, living simply in a world determined to hold us captive. But if we accept the fact that there is a beautiful song of freedom awaiting us, than we just might have the courage to band together, break free, and sing.
Dr Who – Songs of Captivity and Freedom