How Puppets Dance and Rewrite their Strings (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 178)

He wondered about the people in the typical lower-middle-class houses like those. They would be, for example, small clerks, shop assistants, commercial travellers, insurance touts, tram conductors. Did they know that they were only puppets dancing when money pulled the strings? You bet they didn’t. And if they did, what would they care? They were too busy being born, being married, begetting, working, dying. It mightn’t be a bad thing, if you could manage it, to feel yourself one of them, one of the ruck of men. Our civilization is founded on greed and fear, but in the lives of common men the greed and fear are mysteriously transmuted into something nobler. The lower-middle-class people in there, behind their lace curtains, with their children and scraps of furniture and their aspidistras lived by the money-code, sure enough, and yet they contrived to keep their decency. The money-code as they interpreted it was not merely cynical and hoggish. They had their standards, their inviolable points of honor. They “kept themselves respectable”—kept the aspidistra flying. Besides, they were alive. They were bound up in a bundle of life. They begot children, which is what the saints and soul-savers never by any chance do.

Keep the Aspidistra Flying

George Orwell          1936

Cribb Comment: I understand the distinct possibility of my misperception of Orwell’s script, but my take on this passage is that it is as multifaceted and convoluted as the rest of his ponderings. The first half of the paragraph appears to present itself in direct full frontal clarity of meaning. The second half of the paragraph, beginning with but in the lives…, seems to display an intricate dual meaning. Satire dominates this section as the most overt theme of interpretation, but a simplistic face value description of pure relevant quasi-truth mixed in with illustrating how a “delusional norm” has been transformed into the “reality of the norm” for the majority of those of lower awareness cannot be denied. They are “bundled up in life” as they have rewritten life to be, but not as Orwell himself would define true objective life. The same applies to them “keeping themselves respectable in their translation of the money-code”. They are also more likely to biologically reproduce, which “thinkers” and those of higher awareness might be less likely to do as a direct result of understanding the actual and non-bastardized reality of consequence and existence. The “truths” of a delusional norm are still “truths” which most often impact heavily on the truths of shared or communal objective reality.  I can hear Orwell saying “Which is better? Which creates more suffering? Are the collective accurate perceptions of objective reality and the collective accepted delusions of a rewritten and bastardized reality codependent on one another for balancing each other out and assuring the continued physical survival of the members of both groups given the current condition of existence on our mutually inhabited world?” It would seem that until that comprehensive existence is emphatically changed for the entire world, the answer to this last question must remain yes.

Cribb          2017

Money is what God used to Be (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 169)

In a crude, boyish way, he had begun to get the hang of this money-business. At an earlier age than most people he grasped that all modern commerce is a swindle. Curiously enough, it was the advertisements in the Underground stations that first brought it home to him. He little knew, as the biographers say, that he himself would one day have a job in an advertising firm. But there was more to it than the mere fact that business is a swindle. What he realized, and more clearly as time went on, was that money-worship has been elevated into a religion. Perhaps it is the only real religion—the only really felt religion—that is left to us. Money is what God used to be. Good and evil have no meaning any longer except failure and success. Hence the profoundly significant phrase, to make good. The decalogue has been reduced to two commandments. One for the employers—the elect, the money-priest-hood as it were—”Thou shalt make money”; the other for the employed—the slaves and underlings—”Thou shalt not lose thy job.” It was about this time that he came across The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and read about the starving carpenter who pawns everything but sticks to his aspidistra. The aspidistra became a sort of symbol for Gordon after that. The aspidistra, flower of England! It ought to be on our coat of arms instead of the lion and the unicorn. There will be no revolution in England while there are aspidistras in the windows.

Keep The Aspidistra Flying

George Orwell          1936

An Orwellian Bible Study (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 160)

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not money, I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not money, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not money, it profiteth me nothing. Money suffereth long, and is kind; money envieth not; money vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. . . . And now abideth faith, hope, money, these three; but the greatest of these is money.

I Corinthians xiii (adapted)

Keep the Aspidistra Flying

George Orwell          1936

The Orwell you don’t know – 2 (WPMY 134)

The fact is that in passages like that to which I have referred, and in numerous other places in this part of the book, Mr. Orwell is still a victim of that early atmosphere, in his his home and public school, which he himself has so eloquently exposed. His conscience, his sense of decency, his understanding of realities tell him to declare himself a Socialist: but fighting against this compulsion there is in him all the time a compulsion far less conscious but almost—though fortunately not quite—as strong: the compulsion to conform to the mental habits of his class. That is why Mr. Orwell, looking at a Socialist, smells out (to use a word which we have already met in another connection) a certain crankiness in him; and he finds, as examples of his crankiness, a hatred of war (pacifism), a desire to see woman no longer oppressed by men (feminism), and a refusal to withhold the knowledge which will add a little happiness to certain human lives (birth control).

This conflict of two compulsions is to be found again and again throughout the book. For instance, Mr. Orwell calls himself a “half intellectual”; but the truth is that he is at one and the same time an extreme intellectual and a violent anti-intellectual. Similarly he is a frightful snob—still (he must forgive me for saying this), and a genuine hater of every form of snobbery. For those who can read, the exhibition of this conflict is neither the least interesting nor the least valuable part of this book: for it shows the desperate struggle through which a man must go before, in our present society, his mind can really become free—if indeed that is ever possible.  

Forward to The Road to Wigan Pier (Orwell 1937)

Victor Gollancz           1937

The Orwell you don’t know – 1 (WPMY 133)

We may take it that the return to a simpler, freer, less mechanised way of life, however desirable it may be, is not going to happen. This is not fatalism, it is merely acceptance of facts. It is meaningless to oppose Socialism on the ground that you object to the beehive State, because the beehive State is here. The choice is not, as yet, between a human and an inhuman world. It is simply between Socialism and Fascism, which at its very best is Socialism with the virtues left out.

The Road to Wigan Pier

George Orwell          1937

Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 6

The terrible thing that the Party had done was to persuade you that mere impulses, mere feelings, were of no account, while at the same time robbing you of all power over the material world. When once you were in the grip of the Party, what you felt or did not feel, what you did or refrained from doing, made literally no difference. Whatever happened you vanished, and neither you nor your actions were ever heard of again. You were lifted clean out of the stream of history.

And yet to people of only two generations ago, this would not have seemed all-important, because they were not attempting to alter history. They were governed by private loyalties which they did not question. What mattered were individual relationships, and a completely helpless gesture, an embrace, a tear, a word spoken to a dying man, could have value in itself. The Proles, it suddenly occurred to him, had remained in this condition. They were not loyal to a party or a country or an idea, they were loyal to one another.

For the first time in his life he did not despise the Proles or think of them merely as an inert force which would one day spring to life and regenerate the world.

The Proles had stayed human. They had not become hardened inside. They had held onto the primitive emotions which he himself had to relearn by conscious effort.

And in thinking this he remembered, without apparent relevance, how a few weeks ago he had seen a severed hand lying on the pavement and had kicked it into the gutter as though it had been a cabbage stalk.

“The Proles are human beings,” he said aloud. “We are not human.”

 

1984

George Orwell         1949

 

Cribb Comment:

This passage is an accurate description of where society is at present. This is how we currently exist…it is your understood norm. And the subgroup of the story, the Proles, in current times would be viewed by the herd as nasty and uncivilized savages or as crazy, drug addicted, sexual deviant, unsaved, rebellious sinners, whose intentions and “value” would be distorted by the herd masters to the label of archaic dull-witted beasts or lunatic anti-societal madmen…both silly dreamers who are so “out of touch with ‘reality’” and extremely “dangerous to listen to.” Incidentally, this is also how the herd would label the true incarnation of Christ should he return and begin once more to deliver his genuine and original message (regarding individual relationships) to the world. And the Party could be either the Republicans, or the Democrats, or the church, or the indentured slave consumer group that you belong to by passive default which feeds the corporate masters Party, or any of the other various institutions…these groups are all the “Party” and most of you are they. Healthy synergistic individual relationships in our current day have for the most part been completed obliterated….replaced by false pathologic union with your phone or the TV or ear buds or meaningless herd drama of inconsequence (the weather, the news, politics, war propaganda, scapegoat crucifixion) or destabilizing tactics from one or both parties being directed at the other. True conversation with and personal loyalty towards another human is almost dead and most of that which hasn’t been killed off completely, has been severely infected with hypocrisy to become the assumed new standard of interaction. “Selfies” rule or your “marketed image” on Linked In rules or your copy and paste political statement rules or Fox news rules or obviously illogical church doctrine rules… and meanwhile no one stops to think….stops to take the time to think with their own brain….to form their own opinion….to contemplate their own thoughts and their words and rational in entirety…to challenge their own belief systems first and with priority…to slow down all of it….all…so you can actually think…..to stop finding excuses to move faster and faster and faster in frantic fashion, so you then have a reason to explain your malfunctioning brain and behavior…a reason, different  than personal negligence, to elucidate why your logic is flawed and poisoned…..reasons and reasons and reasons to avoid true conversation…and thus, to also avoid individual relationships of worth, respect, understanding, union, and vulnerability. Overwhelmingly, the herd has shed its humanity. They will say different and trumpet loudly their distorted comforting delusional propaganda which has been provided for them by whatever Party they favor the most, but nonetheless, their actions illustrate the truth. Instability, the absence of peace, and elaborate mechanisms of self-deception dominate the herd’s existence.         

2014