My mother does not awaken. Mother, wake up! You must witness the lighting of the building that affirms us a walk on the moon. A profusion of colors, ceaseless fireworks, food that caters to the eyes, promising addresses by inaugurators; a cornucopia of pleasures.
Mother does not answer. She has sunk in deep slumber. Is she dreaming? Mother, I had been wanting to go to the festival tonight. My friends boast of having heard the cackling laughter of the hyenas and the bellowing of koalas. In those rushed moments, the last tiger in the world will be on display. He bears a tiny cylinder just like the rest of us, I saw it on the large screen yesterday. It’s comical. Mother does not blink.
Mother, tomorrow is a Sunday. Can we go to flower show? I have forgotten how the lavenders smell. The last time we had been there, the machines were malfunctioning. I was so upset. Do you recall? I promise to behave this time. Mother, say something. Mother does not move despite now desperate nudges.
Mother, I watched the last patch of the forest being cleared on the big screen at school today. We all clapped for the colossal machines. It was overwhelming to watch the last tree quiver. The leader vows to establish the largest clothing outlet at that spot. We can go shopping. We can put our “kindness” credits to use and avail discounts. Mother, are you distressed? You haven’t slept this late into the evening.
My mother does not awaken. Mother, I will be back in a few minutes. The telecast has begun, and I must witness. Someday, we’ll stay at the building and race our way to the moon. There was picture book on the desk. I decided to shred it. It looked so ugly. Why would you have those when you can relax in the living room & watch everything on the massive screen?
Also, mother, do not forget the oxygen cylinders. We need to refill them for the night.
The dread of watching Fifteen Million Merits, the second episode of the first series of the British science fiction anthology series Black Mirror, remains imbibed in my bones. The fancy name would be “Utopian Nightmare.” With social credit systems, surveillance cameras, extensive data collection, and leaks, we’re only a few steps away from this nightmare. With forests cleared for industries and corporations, with leaders denying climate change, with a popular culture focused on the triviality and mediocrity, with toxic media and television that tend to populate consumers with hogwash and hatred, with masses hooting for war, with nugatory automation, with the rise of machines, and with the death of consciousness we’re turning into mechanical beings devoid of emotions, intellectuality, freedom, and love. Collective consciousness threatens to be the death of knowledge, wisdom, and the ability to reason.
For those of you who have watched “The Clockwork Orange” directed by Stanley Kubrick or read the book by Anthony Burgess, you will remember this quote. For me, these two lines changed my perspective on the preconceived ideas I had carried and the way I looked at things. I suggest you check out this piece of art if you haven’t.
Is a man who chooses to be bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?”– Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
Here is a song to remind you that all is not lost. “They Don’t Own Me” by Richard Ashcroft is an ode to the joy of freedom by rejecting societal constructs, by truly believing in your values and competence, and by loving live albeit suffering and disorder.