Our lives are spent in a lucid dream, half asleep and half awake. In this dream everything is just fine. Our elected representatives are busy creating bills that provide for the common good, judges are devoted to protecting civil liberties and ensuring that the less powerful among us are shielded from misguided aggression and our president is intelligent, enlightened and understands the limits of power and the need for accountability. Also in this dream the relationship between business and government is one of differing interests but shared goals. Both are committed to the protection and encouragement of the right to free association as well as political dissent. This dream is very nice. We continue uninterrupted until a slight disturbance, like passage of the patriot act, causes us to roll over and fluff the pillow but we don't wake up and it's back to the dream. It seems that we only fully awaken in the middle of wars at which point we run to the window and watch in shocked silence as our leaders drive up and down the street with megaphones beseeching everyone to "Go back to sleep! It's not what you think!". And we do go back to sleep but with the vague feeling that something's not right. Our last thoughts before falling into a deep sleep is that "Congress seems to be gutting the bill of rights and I never noticed it before but the president seems kind of...of....well he doesn't seem like the kind of person who could or should be president". But the final thought is the most unsettling, " I don't know how I could have missed it but I just had the strangest feeling that corporations have grown so powerful that they actually own congress and the mainstream media ................nah.....I must be dreaming........better..go...back..to sl-....".
| "Until they become conscious they can never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious. |
That, he reflected, might almost have been a transcription from one of the Party textbooks. The Party claimed, of course, to have liberated the proles from bondage. Before the Revolution they had been hideously oppressed by the capitalists, they had been starved and flogged, women had been forced to work in the coal mines (women still did work in the coal mines, as a matter of fact), children had been sold into the factories at the age of six. But simultaneously, true to the principles of doublethink, the Party taught that the proles were natural inferiors who mist be kept in subjugation, like animals, by the application of a few simple rules. In reality very little was known about the proles. It was not necessary to know much. So long as they continued to work, and breed, their other activities were without importance. Left to themselves, like cattle turned loose upon the plains of Argentina, they had reverted to a style of life that appeared to be natural to them, a sort of ancestral pattern. They were born, they grew up in the gutters, they went to work at twelve, they passed through a brief blossoming period of beauty and sexual desire, they married at twenty, they were middle aged at thirty, they died, for the most part at sixty. Heavy physical work, the care of the home and children, petty quarrels with neighbors, films, football, beer, and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult. A few agents of the Thought Police moved always among them, spreading false rumors and marking down and eliminating the few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous;… It was not desireable that the proles should have strong political feelings. All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism, which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working hours or shorter rations. And even when they became discontented, as they sometimes did, their discontent led nowhere, because, being without general ideas, they could only focus on petty specific grievances. The larger evils invariably escaped their notice."
Excerpted from George Orwell's prescient work "1984"
Good night, and good luck
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Have a Great Day / JEFF in Cowtowne