Thursday, May 21, 2015

Freedom is Slavery

"Winston, sitting in a blissful dream, paid no attention as his glass was filled up. He was not running or cheering any longer. He was back in the Ministry of Love, with everything forgiven, his soul white as snow. He was in the public dock, confessing everything, implicating everybody. He was walking down the white-tiled corridor, with the feeling of walking in sunlight, and an armed guard at his back. The longhoped-for bullet was entering his brain. 
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."
She reaches out her hand and pushes the power button on the audio system in the minivan while the final words of George Orwell's 1984 still linger in the air. Sitting in silence, she holds her breath while she tries to process her thoughts.

Could God use a supposed atheist's political thriller to reach me? To illustrate His jealousy for me? To give me clarity about His nature and desire for me? To help me discover the spiritual freedom I've been searching for?


She started listening to the audio recording of the novel about a month and a half ago during the two hour round trip drive to the Foundation for Blind Children.

Her 15 year old high schooler had suggested she read it as he was also reading it for class. She's not sure what his motive was for wanting her to read 1984, but she does know he has strong moral convictions and political opinions, and he hates she claims not to care about what is going on in the world, she says she would rather be uninformed, and she declares she has enough to deal with in her own life and can't do anything about the rest of the world anyway. She chalks his disapproval up to his idealism or naiveté; he still thinks he can change the world because he has little experience of how life can cruelly change him.

Based upon some vague idea of what she thought the book was about, it began somewhat as expected with the main character, Winston, struggling with his rebellious thoughts against the government and seeking to record them in a journal. She relates somewhat to this since she has done the same with her own rebellious thoughts and questions about God. The novel sounds instantly familiar, and she starts listening to the book through the filter of her own spiritual struggle with God rather than identifying with the main character's thoughts of resistance against an earthly government. 

As the novel plays out, there are several other events, themes or ideas that seem relatable to her spiritual struggle, and she contemplates their relevance or similarity to ideas or teachings in the Bible**. Specifically, she can't quit thinking about Freedom is Slavery and the fact that a party member must love Big Brother before they would be allowed to die.

She shocks herself with the following thoughts:

God is Big Brother. His kingdom is totalitarian. He commands submission. He commands worship for Him only. He commands love for Him first before all others. He promises freedom and a new life. I must love Him before I can "die". How do I know if I love Him? Is it a feeling? Is it just an acknowledgement and repeated mantra? Can it be a feeling? 

She really wants it to be a feeling. She wants to experience Winston's blissful dream, the moment she can be unaware of all hardships and only in tune with love for God. She aches for the aforementioned longhoped-for bullet to the brain.

Like Winston, her circumstances and emotions have led her to become desperate for an escape. Like Winston, loving and being loved by another human is not enough; two flawed beings will always find a way to disappoint each other whether intentional or not. Like Winston, she yearns for freedom. Like Winston, she is becoming aware that freedom might have a different definition than what she assumed. Like Winston, her flesh rebels against the Authority. Like Winston, she can only see what the Authority appears to be taking away. Like Winston, the choice is being made for her.

Freedom is Slavery. To obtain freedom, she must choose slavery. But that goes against logic; it's doublethink.

Have human attempts at totalitarian governments resulting in evil atrocities caused me to think that there cannot be a supernatural totalitarian kingdom that results in perfection and love? What if God/Christ is the perfect Big Brother? What if His totalitarian kingdom could actually produce peace and freedom for me if I could just submit to His will? My flesh rebels against God like Winston rebels against Big Brother. How do I fight the cravings of the flesh and submit to God's will? 

As she ponders these questions, a quiet voice whispers to her heart.

*Disclaimer: This story is about the effect a literary work of art made on the reader/writer. It is not meant to be a theological dissertation nor an analytical book review, but another glimpse into the writer's spiritual journey and her relationship to God at this time in her life. Please no haters if her words offend your ideas about Christianity or if, to you, they are completely off base. She realizes she could be wrong, but fortunately or unfortunately, this is how God is having church with her today.

**Thought Police and Big Brother is Watching You, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Two Minutes Hate, torture, physical suffering, mind control, brainwashing, and indoctrination, no family loyalties allowed, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, Must love Big Brother before death

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