Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Loyalty and Love

Here are the final words of George Orwell's chilling novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, where the character Winston Smith is finally reconciled with Big Brother, at the very moment of Smith's execution.

"He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."

Big Brother appears when a leader asks us for loyalty and love more than independence; it continues until it has convinced us to participate in our own destruction; it ends only when we dare to disagree with what we know is wrong, refuse to love what is unlovable, and insist on our right to be left alone.

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