“You are a slow learner, Winston.”
“How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.”
“Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”
– George Orwell, 1984
There is a profound children’s book written by Dr. Seuss titled “I Am Not Going To Get Up Today!”. It chronicles a society in shock fuming over a young boy who, upon waking, decides on a whim to stay in bed. He declares, “The alarm can ring. The birds can peep. My bed is warm. My pillow’s deep. Today’s the day I’m going to sleep!”.
The world balks. Incredulously, all manner of creatures, tall and small, come to call. They stare and parrot each other in disbelief. Concerned citizens in the form of friends, family, the authorities and the mainstream media, all flock together to voice their disapproval. Judeo-Christian cum Protestant work ethic laced moral outrage is expressed in response to the boy’s ‘Bohemic’ claims of free-will, “I don’t choose to be up walking. I don’t choose to be up talking. The only thing I’m choosing is to lie here woozy-snoozing.”
The horror of it all! The entire balance of modern of civilization apparently rests on the vagaries of this young boy who on an impulse defies the expectations of society by taking charge of his own destiny.
Lunacy ensues as elaborate attempts are made to break the boy’s resolve and prod him into socially acceptable behavior and submission. In the end, the boy wins out and not too surprisingly life goes on. The disquieted moral majority is left with nothing else to do but return to their ‘automatous’ monotony with a ‘sour grapes’ taste in their mouths. The book’s parting image … a policeman helping himself the boy’s breakfast.
Meanwhile in the land of non-fiction, we are rarely left to our own devices. Instead, we are encouraged to ‘make something of ourselves’, yet ‘something’ is never really defined. In more ways than one, however, many come to realize that its inherent definition is perhaps an antonym affixed to those deep-rooted pursuits we find most pleasing.
We are sold into a socially acceptable form of slavery and resign ourselves to eek out a miserable existence on a plantation of drudgery and consumerism. We are fed a steady diet of industrial strength ‘simulcrum’ of celebritism and self-reinforcing distraction. Never content with what we have, we plow on chasing the ever elusive fashionably trendy carrot on the end of a prefabricated money stick.
Eventually, we the victims of captivity learn to accept our fate, finding security in fear … a refuge from freedom and free-will … well, not all of us.
Those who desire to break free from the shackles and yoke of this slavery are branded misfits, slackers, anarchists and pariahs, … sometimes even ‘artist types’. Guilt and bile flavored righteous indignation are spit at these ‘free radicals’. The forces of mob mentality are marshaled. Group-think ensues. The hive is awakened and those which refuse to be assimilated are eventually expunged or consumed … with footage on the 6 o’clock news.
In my search for meaningfulness in the meaningless, I have finally concluded … that I don’t want to do anything. I just want to be left alone to do my thing. I do no want to show my identification. I do not want to wear any yellow badges of nationalism, professionalism, or idealism. I just want to ‘be’. Is that so hard to understand?
I’m sorry I bought into the system. I’m sorry I was gullible and weak-minded. I’m sorry I was so eager to please. My only excuse is that … I was conditioned to. Yes, yes, Winston, “it’s not easy to be sane”.
Sorry, but from now on … you’ll just have to save yourselves. I’m tired of fighting my own mind … and yours, too. I’m getting too old for this shit, you know?
In closing: Wake Up. Stay In Bed.
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Click on the link to see photos from Dr. Seuss book: http://arvofingers.blogspot.gr/2008/03/photobucket.html