Author : Robert King

My grandfather warned me. I never listened. I always thought he was stuck in the past. A remnant of the McCarthy era — illegal FBI surveillance and all that. I’d say to him, “I don’t really care if they listen in. I’m not doing anything wrong.” He’d give me that look of sad resignation, and walk away.

When it became public knowledge years later, that the government was indeed monitoring the communications of every, single, citizen in the country, as well as those of many nations around the globe, I was complicit. That’s right, complicit. I, and everyone else that did nothing about it, are somehow to blame. I remember the feeling at the time though. What could I do? What could anyone do? Who was doing the listening? Who was really in control? I don’t think anyone really knew. The masses just blamed this or that political party, never seeing the deeper truth. But I knew. There were others who knew: The politicians were merely puppets.

Power was nameless. Power was faceless. So how does one organize against an invisible force? We felt hopeless.

There weren’t enough of us at the time do anything, assuming there was anything to be done. The majority of the population had been conditioned from day one to mindlessly consume. They were taught that they needed this or that material thing to experience life; for life could not be experienced to the fullest — experienced directly, without these material objects. To enjoy nature, you needed to take pictures of it with the newest cell phone, and have your experience validated by sharing it on your social networks. The more likes the better. You couldn’t raise a family without choosing the right bank. Yes, you heard me right. Somehow your chosen bank would influence the satisfaction and success of raising a family. And that happy family would only be possible in the newest automobile.

Years passed, and still I did nothing. Still I said nothing.

Political campaigns at this point were entirely decided by private donors. The population had been disenfranchised from what was still believed by most to be a democratic process. The wealth disparity had become extreme. And somehow, the majority was oblivious, having been conditioned into loving their servitude. Not only loving it, but even arguing for its cause. Slaves arguing the case for slavery.

And all the while, the consumption conditioning continued. Increasingly though, the people could no longer afford those items which would bring them happiness and a good life. They blamed the political party of the day. Formed grass roots opposition movements, opposing what was only the illusion of their problems.

It was becoming clearer to some during this time who was pulling the strings. They were the conditioners; they were the lawmakers. Some of us began to organize. And in time, our numbers grew. We began to unplug from the grid, forming communities, and even small towns outside of their consumption. We had their attention. But they had our names.

I was raised by my grandfather. My mother and father died in a plane crash when I was four. That’s what I was told anyway. I wish I would have listened to my grandfather all those years ago. Perhaps I would not be sitting here in this cell, a prisoner in a dissident camp. Perhaps if we all would have listened to our elders, before this thing got out of hand, we’d still be living as free men and women. But we’ve been disappeared. Let the cycle continue.

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