Wednesday, 10 July 2013
I write this from a position of great privilege, able once again to use words to communicate ideas. I can describe what I like to you, and it can be understood. Perhaps what I write will convince you to change who you are and how you behave? Or, perhaps you will feel the need to challenge my views, engage me in a debate? Or, maybe you shall just ignore this altogether and go on with your life?
Regardless, it is such a joy to be able to write this down, to have you read it, to know that this exchange - whatever the outcome - has taken place. Knowing where we have come from, it brings tears to my eyes, sends a chill down my back, I am so glad we have this.
Many have forgotten, but not too long ago only the most powerful retained the ability to communicate an idea. Over time the need to converse had been supressed, desires had been replaced, subtly forcing a shift away from more esoteric and provocative pursuits, to those that generated fleeting - albeit sensuous -experiences. A quick shot of something stimulating became much more highly prized, through careful marketing, than things that offered prolonged stimuli.
It was a dwindling process, one that began with a gradual removal of ideas from books and songs and films, replacing them bit by bit until all that was left were non-descript occurences, lights, sounds, colours, that were scientifically designed to provoke a response in the participant without offering anything more nourishing intellectually. People, slowly, unknowingly deprived of information adjusted their palattes to this new entertainment and ultimately no longer craved something that would engage their brains; brains which had begun to atrophy.
Yet the powerful maintained their intellectual pursuits, and they continued to research ways in which to keep the population at large obedient to their carefully constructed means of satisfaction.
It became almost Pavlovian, people worked like animals for treats, they completed a task and were rewarded by a light show or a pleasing sound, sometimes a pleasant aroma or a tasty, non-descript biscuit. We had ceased to have, what we once called, a soul, and instead were little machines, powered by the basest form of desire. Indeed, the stimulus would always provoke our most primal desires, our bloodlust through meat, our sexual urges, or giddy thoughtless laughter, like tickling a baby. All these feelings they were able to encourage through these programmed displays, or chemical catalysts, and we, merely content to indulge ourselves, lapped it up.
But the powerful were naive in their own pursuits, for they did not create anything new, merely content to amass more and more power, they ultimately drowned in their own selfishness and wealth, letting their imaginations atrophy. Eventually all they were was the gluttonous heads of the colonies, an army of drones beneath them, not a true thought to share between the lot of them.
So, how did we get back? How did we reclaim that which we had forgotten made us truly human?
It was simple, given time, if you wind things one way it will, like a spring coil, one day snap back. There were anamolies, little squeaks of - what they would have once called - dissent, and fear managed to quell this to begin with. Those who saw the questioning act would retaliate, unable to attribute consequences to their violent actions, they would literally stamp out a little anarchist at the first sign, taking pleasure in the grim satisfaction that an adrenal act of violence can offer the simplest and most ignorant of people.
But you can't keep quieting the voice, and over time, painfully slowly, it grew louder and the powerful did not know how to contend with it. For in the end, there is nothing stronger than a good idea, and that is what they lacked, and as others became able to wonder why things had to be the way they had been made to be, they began to see the strings and follow them up to the hands that puppeteered them, to the control that they never knew existed, and rather than just cut their strings they pulled on them, they tore their puppet-masters down from the sky and let them see the world of their creation, the horrible world that we had all accepted.
So language was born again, and whilst I must revel in its ressurection, I can't help but worry that we have learnt nothing from our suffrage, that one day we will complacently let the powerful herd us once more, and the voices of dissent will be dismissed and muffled, and when we finally come to realise the control that has imprisoned us, we will realise that we no longer have the means to communicate about it.
I hope you realise the gift you have, that I can write this and that you can read it, and however it may stir you, I hope that we never find ourselves controlled again.