To begin, I must say I haven’t read this book yet: save a few pages. I’ve read three other books by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, including one where he shares the experiences of another prisoner in the Gulag. Together with Natan Shiransky’s “Fear No Evil,” and a bit of research, I gathered some enormous difficulties. But from reading a bit from the first in the series, I greatly realized I’ll never come close to comprehending the enormity of living in the then Soviet Union, and certainly not his life. However, this article, while opening a door for those who do want to read and learn (It seems to be a very difficult read given his quite open discussion and frank sharing of those horrific times.), also is to consider.
Recently, while looking around at people, also observing what is on television, then talking with a friend, I got a sense of the times we live. And, being only one person, I have to remember my views are not everyone’s views, but also, there are things we can never fully know and understand. In a way, that is very good. For in what we don’t understand, there is hope. For where we do not see possibilities, there are possibilities. The present and the future are not set: at least, not as we might see or believe.
While driving, I saw a sticker on the back of a vehicle, and I can remember the sort of smile on the driver and passenger as they passed by (It seemed a kind of “dead smile.”). The sticker was an America flag, but not truly, for it was in rainbow colors. And this, with much of what we’ve seen, heard, and noticed on television, and what some others have shared, tells a story. Not a complete story, mind you. But a story. **And the story is one we’ve been discussing, and one many have observed, but all too many haven’t remained aware.
Yesterday, while talking with that friend, we both discussed that whatever America was in the early days, the road to possible real American values, morals, and thoughtfulness will have to go through a far different path, for we can never go back. There is only going forward. And whatever happens in America, from here on out, will be in real time. And how, if it happens, people return to the principles of a good life, of morality, and of responsibility, will occur through means and times we cannot fully predict. Again, because it happens in real time, people in their neighborhoods, people talking with friends and neighbors, people reading and discussing the foundation of America, certain individuals causing mindfulness, decision made that affects the family, and a lot of suffering in various forms, and perhaps quality readings that manage through all the propaganda, the future of this country will be as time progresses. And to a great degree, it might include what people decide, each person in their individual place. We hope more and more people: individuals and families, take the responsibility that is freedom. There is no freedom without responsibility.
To a degree, I have wondered if Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, having gone through all he has, and finally being free to travel, is not one of the freest persons I’ve ever read about: internally. I say this because he’s been through it all: growing up in a communist nation, military service, prison, forced labor, starvation, the Gulag, the threat of execution, and the possible belief that things will never change, perhaps even getting worse, and from what I understand, he never lost his understanding and inner freedom of responsibility. And he’s known all so many in the same boat, still working to free many, but also encouraging the “free” countries in what we are not seeing.
Okay, to keep this a bit shorter. What I see in this country, including the type of television programming, the electronic gaming, the horrific public propaganda camps, the internet, everybody with a Smart Phone in their hand, and the look in so many people’s eyes… is slavery. And I understand, to a great degree, how it’s being done. And I get that too many people won’t see this. Most don’t understand that when they get what they think they want, they’re actually losing their freedoms. And that’s a hard sell. Because there’s a right way to get the things we appreciate, but there are many wrong ways as well. The latter leads to internal misery, but tons of distraction.
But that’s it. And in many ways, it’s so subtle. Except to the mind of reason. To see people talking the “talk,” absorbed in fashion and the internet, trying to be “someone” (Yes, many don’t know that’s another trap.), looking to be appreciated and loved (That’s another trap.), and in so many ways being something they never realized is part of a propaganda makeup too subtle for most to see, and certainly to escape. It’s almost like wall-to-wall slavery. And all too many seem very comfortable in that, like those two driving that vehicle, others hanging with their friends and looking at others as if they’re on top and they see the silliness of others (They don’t see themselves.), happy in their “state of mind,” and all the while, lost. Many have received the “pat on the back” for being corrupted.
I believe, though I didn’t understand at the time, that “comfort” is the slave state of mind. I’ll try to share a perspective. It’s like seeing the problems then not doing anything about it, but going along to get along. Not that everyone can fix the problems, but sort of putting blinders on, talking the talk, and being “comfortable” with the status quo, going along with the regulators, and in time, seeing those who are still aware as the problem or trouble makers. Perhaps a slow process. But it’s there. I have seen this time and again.
Then, we might see it this way, a people at home, watching television, playing video games, looking things up on their Smart Phones, reading propaganda magazines, talking the talk with friends and neighbors, and they’re all lost to themselves. All enslaved in their minds. And when they do see someone who truly thinks for themselves, are following the rabbit of reason, are alive inside, they want to keep away from such a person. Often, they want to destroy such people. Perhaps not physically, although they may want that too, but internally.
To a degree, I think Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn sees this. I can imagine, while many will read his books, all-too-many will never really read his books. But he went through it all. And while I don’t agree with everything he says, I understand he’s looking from his perspective, but also, there’s much reality in his perspective that people can appreciate, even if a little, for none of us in America can ever fully understand that life. But perhaps, in a sense, that has the benefit of helping others to understand. For he would rather us not have to go through that life, but at the same time, some realize there exists no other way: with some people.
**I believe there is a ton of hope. I believe there are very good things possible around the corner. People cannot allow themselves to be propagandized and allow the world to tell them who they are. People cannot place Medicare, technology, and having “safety nets” over what is right and true. In other words, principles cannot be set aside for that’s how internal slavery occurs.
**If people don’t know the real history of their country and the world, don’t understand the political and social dynamics that lead to internal slavery and socialism/communism, they won’t understand what is happening in their country when it happens. It’s then more important that those who do understand share, encouraging others to truly think for themselves with responsibility.