#10038 - 07/03/08 02:06 AM
Are Stones Still Stones? - essay
Loc: US Pacific Northwest
[I checked this essay with an online word counter: including quotes, there are exactly 1984 words. Without quotes there are 1272 words.]
Are Stones Still Stones?
By Leoben Conoy
This debate I will start will focus on a major category: that the great majority of men ("men" in this context means "humanity") in this world are not responsible enough to handle the priviledges of freedom. I will expand on this, explaining myself in several points which will be written as paragraphs or mere sentences. I will also include my views on society, but I will leave out issues which do not concern me greatly, like economics. I will try to generalize and compress my views on society so we do not focus on little issues like taxation or death penalty which would detract from my main concern listed above.
Prologue to Thesis
Before I make my arguments clear, I want to analyze two characters from entertainment; the first from literature and the second from television.
In the story "The Grand Inquisitor" by the great writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, he writes of a dialogue between Ivan and Alyosha, two friends, who discuss Ivan's poem about the Grand Inquisitor of Seville and the simultaneous Second Coming of Christ in roughly 1500s Spain. Christ does not come as the Bible claims: with a bang. Christ appears in Seville as a man, but the people recognize him. He performs miracles and the people love him. But the Grand Inquisitor, a ninety-some year-old man notices him, and recognizes him, and puts him in prison to be interrogated. Strangely, the people obey this even though they know it is the Christ they are putting in prison.
- "Such is [the Grand Inquisitor's] power, so completely are the people cowed into submission and trembling obedience to him, that the crowd immediately makes way for the guards, and in the midst of deathlike silence they lay hands on Him and lead him away. The crowd instantly bows down to the earth, like one man, before the old Inquisitor. He blesses the people in silence and passes on."
What is represented here is that people will submit to strong authority no matter how immoral it may be, and this is hardly unbelievable as the trends of history show. The story continues with an interrogation of Christ by the Inquisitor.
- "But dost thou know what will be to-morrow? I know not who Thou art and care not to know whether it is Thou or only a semblance of Him, but to-morrow I shall condemn Thee and burn Thee at the stake as the worst of heretics. And the very people who have to-day kissed Thy feet, to-morrow at the faintest sign from me will rush to heap up the embers of Thy fire. Knowest Thou that? Yes, maybe Thou knowest it"
The dialogue is entirely of the Inquisitor speaking to Christ. He speaks of how Christ made men reject happiness; that is, the happiness of submission to authority. He continues, speaking of how men need authority, need to be lied to, need to be made happy rather than free. He talks of how freedom is a burden; like the fruit of good and evil, it is only for the men doomed. He speaks of how we are all doomed after death anyways, so we might as well embrace it.
- "But seest Thou these stones in this parched and barren wilderness? Turn them into bread, and mankind will run after Thee like a flock of sheep, grateful and obedient, though for ever trembling, lest Thou withdraw Thy hand and deny them Thy bread."
He uses this metaphor of stones turning into bread to indicate men will do anything to crave their hunger, be it material or spiritual, and that this satisfied hunger, which creates happiness, is paramount to showing men the stones are still stones, not bread.
- "This is the significance of the first question in the wilderness, and this is what Thou hast rejected for the sake of that freedom which Thou hast exalted above everything. Yet in this question lies hid the great secret of this world. Choosing "bread," Thou wouldst have satisfied the universal and everlasting craving of humanity- to find someone to worship. So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find someone to worship. But man seeks to worship what is established beyond dispute, so that all men would agree at once to worship it. For these pitiful creatures are concerned not only to find what one or the other can worship, but to find community of worship is the chief misery of every man individually and of all humanity from the beginning of time. For the sake of common worship they've slain each other with the sword. They have set up gods and challenged one another, "Put away your gods and come and worship ours, or we will kill you and your gods!" And so it will be to the end of the world, even when gods disappear from the earth; they will fall down before idols just the same."
Coming back to the metaphor of the bread in the wilderness, the Inquisitor elaborates, showing how the answer of "give them bread" would mean Christ wants them in submission, just as the Inquisitor wants them, but if the answer was "do nothing", then the people would curse Christ, and damn him with their words for abandoning them.
- "Receiving bread from us, they will see clearly that we take the bread made by their hands from them, to give it to them, without any miracle. They will see that we do not change the stones to bread, but in truth they will be more thankful for taking it from our hands than for the bread itself! For they will remember only too well that in old days, without our help, even the bread they made turned to stones in their hands, while since they have come back to us, the very stones have turned to bread in their hands. Too, too well will they know the value of complete submission! And until men know that, they will be unhappy."
The story ends with Jesus kissing the Inquisitor, and the Inquisitor allowing Jesus to leave, to enter the alleys, and never return to earth again. This was truly a unique story; Christ comes again, but humanity has no need for him, and he leaves us forever.
The final analysis concerns the Cigarette-Smoking Man, the ultimate bad-guy of the X-Files. He represents, in the show, opportunism, evil, and immorality, although his actions seem to be "justified" because everything he does is meant to delay Alien Colonization.
From the fourth season finale episode "Talitha Cumi":
- "We're not allowed the luxury of human weakness in penitence. We're not allowed to put your indulgences ahead of the greater purpose. We give them happiness, and they give us authority, the authority to take away their freedom in the guise of democracy. Men can never be free, because they're weak, corrupt, worthless and restless. The people believe in authority, they've grown tired of waiting for miracle or mystery. Science is their religion, no greater explanation exists for them. They must never believe any differently."
"Most of them have ceased to believe in God, because God presents them with no miracles to earn their faith. When men cease to believe in miracles, they reject God. We rule over them in God's name. They don't believe in him but they still fear him. They're afraid not to beause they're afraid of freedom. We give them happiness. We appease theri conscience, as anyone who can appease a man's conscience can take his freedom away from him. "
"Now, today, people are more persuaded than ever that they have perfect freedom, yet they have brought their freedom to us and laid it humbly at our feet. But that has been our doing."
His dialogue with the character Jeremiah Smith, an Alien Colonist gone rebel, is a tribute to the Grand Inquisitor's character.
In the natural state of man, with primitive tribal despotisms, or even less, man is brutal, violent, cruel, and weak. Most men, through genetic presdisposition, are inclined towards obedience to authority rather than wanting to become the authority. This is a basic concept of sociological behavior; all animal species are the same because if the majority of any species had alpha personalities, they'd die off. It is the natural order of things, and in all organized societies, to have a form of hierarchy. Is it through this hierarchy men can be controlled. Their impulses can be rectified slightly. While we can never remove millions of years of instinctual development, nor the chemical reactions caused by genes we cannot control, we can engineer through social development a more docile species. We haven't perfected this yet; we still murder, we still harm each other, commit crimes, and fight wars. Men must be convinced that they cannot be free if we are to save society from collapse and implosion.
Men are ultimately, by quantity, more divided by intelligence than by race, ethnicity, beliefs, politics, although not economic class. However, intelligence overrides simple economic class differences because anyone can become poor or wealthy, but one cannot become stupid or become intelligent unless one is stupid or intelligent, generally speaking. Men should be divided by these classes: intelligentsia and proletarian. The intellectual should be granted freedoms the proletarian does not have, like knowledge and truth, because he is responsible enough to handle these freedoms. The proletarian cannot handle freedom because he is weak and stupid; giving voting power to the proletarians is like giving voting power to gorillas with semi-consciousness. Freedom thus belongs to the responsible. However, the proletarian can be granted happiness because happiness keeps any population docile and prevents rebellion. Not everyone can become intelligent; if society were fully made up of intellectuals of any varying degree or similar level, no one would want the dull and meaningless jobs. No one would clean up our streets, get our garbage, clean our floors.
Religion should be the opiate of the masses. Any sane intellectual man should never ascribe to spiritual hocus-pocus; however, it's their choice. Submission in this life will result, as the Inquisitor says, in earthly bread. The bread of heaven cannot feed men in this life; it can feed their need to believe in miracles, but it cannot keep them from starving on cold nights. Whether there is a heaven or not is irrelevant, as no one is going there. Everyone deserves death, including the Biblical God. We must hide men from this fact; we will give them happiness, and they will one day die and find eternal death. They give us authority, and the burden of having to lie and the burden of truth is akin to mortal death in this life.
In our natural state, we are violent. We respond to the first, to violence, to brutality, to cruelty easiest because it reminds us of ourselves. We need not be needlessly violent towards men, but our authority must involve a degree of fear from the men we rule, because without fear, we are just like them, and not gods unto ourselves.
My ending summation is that some exceptional individuals must be granted freedom because they are responsible enough to hand it, while the vast majority of men can be granted happiness because they can't handle freedom responsibly. And when they surrender their freedoms to us willingly, we will treat them like loved children, and take the role of a loving, benevolent Father.
We care for the weak, they are immoral and rebellious, but in the end they will be obedient. They will marvel at us and look on us as gods, because we are ready to endure the freedom which they have found so dreadful and to rule over them---so awful it will seem to them to be free. But we shall tell them we are the servants of higher orders; be it religion or morality or justice or order, and rule in those names. We will deceive them this way; that deception will be our suffering, for we will be forced to lie.
Moderator: TV is God, fakepropht, SkaffenAmtiskaw, Woland, Asmedious, Fist