"Though you may be troubled on every side, you will not be distressed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down but not destroyed. The keys of the Kingdom can work miracles for you that you never dreamed possible, if you will only call upon them."</P
First Published May 1972
It was another ominous picture of what conditions will be like, evidently, in the future. There was nothing really new about it, with its atmosphere of a dictatorial, regimented, totalitarian state of which we have seen a number come and go before, and some which we still have with us in various countries of this present evil world.
What was new about it, and with which I was impressed throughout the dream, was the clever subtlety of this new regime--what smooth, suave, scientific and reasonable patriotic excuses it had for everything. It was all very logical and obviously supposed to be very good for you and good for everyone, good for the country and even for the rest of the world. You were almost convinced yourself--into believing what they were doing was right and for the common good, and even necessary, so that you felt little or no resentment or resistance.
It was almost hypnotic: you moved along as though in a trance, as though drugged or dreaming, unable to speak out, unable to contradict, and much less able to rebel against what was called "the truth", although all the time you realised subconsciously that it was some kind of big, horrible, and monstrous lie, but you were afraid not to believe it. You were afraid of being branded seditious, unpatriotic, a disloyal citizen, and someone not concerned about the common good of the whole or of this deceptively, brotherly, paternal welfare state in whose names such crimes were committed, yet being made to appear as necessary for the good of all, so hardly anyone ever objected but docilely cooperated and followed the orders of the regime like dazed zombies, or the robots of scientific fiction. It just wasn't "right" not to cooperate. It was the "right" thing to do to agree with its policies and assent to its programmes.
I was a young man like you, and had, apparently, unwisely raised my voice in some feeble, but lone, dissent against some action of the regime and was being looked upon with disapproval as one of those few, remaining radicals who still dared question, and who, therefore, alas, must still be sent to "the school" for "re-education" and "retraining" and "re indoctrination". Somehow or another, the beautiful "truths" of the new regime had not quite taken the necessary effect on me and therefore I was to be "reprocessed" at "the school". Somehow or another I seemed to feel it was hopeless to disagree and had no alternative but to "willingly consent" to be "reconditioned", for after all, what else was there but the military, prison, or the "concentration camps"!
The next thing I knew, I was getting off the train at a small country station and boarding a small, military-looking "school bus" with my one heavy suitcase and a small group of other "students", looking very much like a bewildered batch of army inductees for all the attempted school-like atmosphere! I remembered particularly, of course, this one pretty young girl with wavy, shoulder length blond hair and a rather serious intent, worried expression on her face, and I was wondering why she had been sent to "school", what form of dissent she had been involved in that could have been serious enough to require her to be sent to "the school".
There was no long hair, not even for the girls, but rather, a standardised military cut for the boys and this short, shoulder length for the girls--reaching, well, not quite to the shoulders, but just above it, about to the nape of the neck, a popular style of an older generation some years ago when they were young. Apparently, we were all being made to conform to what they thought was "right" and were going to be taught the "truth" according to their standards.
We were being very logically and patiently sent to "the school" to try to help us see "the light" of their beautiful "system". After all, it was really not much different than the way they do it today, except that you knew now that under the new regime everything was really compulsory, although veiled in a pretense of "voluntary" cooperation. Everything was so nice and peaceful, quiet and orderly, the motto was "law and order" and "peace and safety" and the attitude was: "how could anyone object to such a lovely government with such security?"--when all the time you had this awful feeling of the horrors beneath the surface of this hypocritical exterior and wondered "ah, peace and safety!--what crimes are being committed in thy name?"
There was this benign parental attitude of "you must learn to love our system, my dear, and we will teach you how!"--at "the school". It was all so nice and well regulated and so totally controlled that there was no longer any room for dissent, much less controversy, and absolutely no more of those terribly emotional demonstrations and fanatical outbursts of rioting radicals! All had been silenced by brute force!
Who would think of arguing with the new, improved "system" which had everything under such perfect control with absolutely no disagreement and everything according to their liking. We, their children, were now to be "re schooled" according to the established ideas of their perfect, glorious, and triumphant "system", with all dissident voices hushed and all opposition crushed. There would be no more of this student foolishness at "the school". It was now truly their "school", totally system and under the absolute, unchallenged control of our victorious, new "regime"--actually no different from the former, but now in absolute, dictatorial control and tolerating no difference of opinion. Everyone would, of course, now cooperate willingly, seeing the obvious wisdom of their leaders, and force would only have to be used in the most extreme cases.
As we drove between the tall, brick pillars of the huge, wrought iron gateway to "the school", with its surrounding high, wire fences I thought to myself that it didn't look much different from the concentration camps where the incorrigibles were being "liquidated", except that the buildings were obviously those of an ancient and venerable university and the authorities were apparently trying hard to induce an educational, campus-like spirit; but with uniformed guards at the gate and at every doorway and every turn of the road and pacing back and forth on their beats throughout the gardens and walkways, it was a little hard to get the school spirit in a place which had more the flavour of a collegiate-like prison!
I remember being assigned to a dormitory bed in a room not too much unlike an army barracks, and then sent into the fields to do hard labour farming all day, followed by lectures at night on the beauties of the new and glorious "system". I also remember usually falling asleep at these lectures in exhaustion from the day's labours. I was just too tired to stay awake and would sometimes even be startled to wakefulness by the embarrassing snort of a snore now and then which received fearful looks from my fellow "students" and an occasional pause and disproving scowl from the irritated lecturer.
Nevertheless, I was not reprimanded for this, as total exhaustion seemed to be a fairly common ailment after such a hard day of labour, but was simply tolerated as being rather unappreciative of this golden opportunity to learn of the newly fortified beauties of the now all-powerful "system"! I was only occasionally admonished to try to take more interest and show a greater admiration for what was going on.
Suddenly one night during the lecture I was startled into electric wakefulness by a shrill girl's voice crying out a contradiction to some "infallible" statement by one of our "unchallengeable" lectures on the "perfection" of the "system"! She was immediately seized and ushered out of the girl's section by two huge, husky, uniformed, masculine matrons, and I could see that it was the girl who had arrived with me on the same bus. We had had some clandestine meetings and private discussions on the new state and its "school" during our time here, and I was afraid she was not going to be able to contain her hatred for its hypocrisy for long--and she hadn't!
I dashed outside and ran to the guardroom, from which I could hear her muffled screams as she was being beaten by the matrons. I pounded on the door in protest, but was told to leave if I didn't want some of the same. So, weeping in desperate frustration, I grabbed my ballpoint pen, and deciding we had both had enough and were no longer "willing" to be "voluntary students" at "the school", I began rapidly writing a note to send to the girl's grandmother, whom she dearly loved, begging her to come get her out of "the school".
Somehow I must have finished the note and sent it, because in a few days her grandmother came to see her granddaughter, my little blonde friend. The poor girl showed such visible signs of having been badly beaten up by the matrons, with her face all swollen and her eyes so puffed she was hardly recognisable, so that her grandmother was furious and said she was going to complain to the authorities about how they ran their beautiful "school" and treated their "students"!
The dean of women was a young, cold and cruelly beautiful psychologist in her late thirties who tried to handle the whole affair with coolness and calm and tried to persuasively dissuade the grandmother from taking the girl away, with hints of what might happen to her that could be worse if she left. The grandmother was so enraged at their cruel treatment of her granddaughter she could not be persuaded to change her mind and left the office to help the girl pack her things.
Meanwhile, for fear of retaliation for my part in the whole affair and for sympathising with the girl and her grandmother, I was afraid I, too, might be beaten, so I fled into the backwoods of the campus seeking some way to escape down a road which ended at the gardener's cottage. It was growing dark, but some children were playing in front of the cottage, and the gardener's son, a mere lad of only ten or twelve, caught sight of me hiding in the bushes and began firing at me with his little .22 rifle. I thought, as I ran back towards the main gate, "My God, what kind of a system is this that permits even its children to make target practice and fair game of any dissenters as though it were some kind of sport and great fun!"
As I neared the main gate, I saw the grandmother and the girl walking towards it just ahead of me as they were leaving. Suddenly, to my amazement, the grandmother raised a gun and pointed it at the back of the head of the dean of women who was reluctantly ushering them out! I rushed forward and grabbed it away from her before she could fire and whispered in her ear, "You're gonna get us all in even worse trouble if you do that!" but I was too late!--Her threatening movement had already been spotted by one of the officials and we were immediately surrounded by guards and were taken to his office where he began to make out the charges against us, while waiting for the civilian police: attempted murder, threatened assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy, etc. and I was thinking, "How clever, if they can't get you to willingly cooperate, they provoke you to retaliate so they can pin legal charges on you, that will do away with you all nice and legally so that no one can complain and everyone will agree that you got what you deserved! What perfection!"
Edited by Almondtree Productions