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Need to buy a hookah link Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2021-09-22 17:00:13
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Owing to the prevailing lethargy, village life in most countries gravely deteriorated. Sub-atomic agriculture and handicrafts were still carried on, but in a slipshod manner. The life of the poobs degenerated into something like the life of the pubs in our own day, often into something far less wholesome. Many persons who had been cured by alcohol had contracted an addiction to this habit-forming drug, and made no effort to restrain themselves. Fornication of a lazy, unenterprising sort, was general, but procreation was prevented by birth-control. The surviving forwards indolently carried on the outward forms of their old life, but its spirit was lost. Sluggishness inevitably produced a rapid deterioration in all social behaviour and institutions. The old vices of self-seeking and mob mentality reappeared, but without the old vigour and passion. Population steadily declined, for very few children were born; save in Tibet and New Zealand, where every woman of child-bearing age was devotedly producing a child every year. Presently research discovered a method of securing triplets, and the birth-rate was promptly trebled. Under the strain, and in spite of all the care and skill and honour that was lavished on them, the mothers were heavily overstrained. They clung to their task, however, and though maternal mortality was high, population increased rapidly. The children were of course given every possible advantage, under state supervision. The whole social organization of the two peoples was arranged for their benefit.

One remarkable institution was almost universal, namely the village ‘meeting’, a gathering of all the villagers for the planning of their communal life. The ‘meeting’ took a great variety of forms in different lands; but nearly always it centred on a building which combined many of the characters of a village hall, a church, and a public house. By some freak of the evolution of language it was known in all countries as the ‘poob’. In it the village met every evening to yarn, play games, sing, drink their synthetic elixirs, smoke their synthetic tobaccos. It was also the communal eating-house where friends could meet over a meal, where many of the more sociable villagers fed every day, where the guests of the village were entertained, where village banquets were held. In it also the villagers met for concerts and lectures. In it at regular intervals they held their formal ‘meetings’ to discuss communal business and settle disputes. There they also held their sacred ceremonies, such as marriages, funerals, initiations into citizenship, commemorations of great events, local, national, or cosmopolitan.

Some of these symptoms were permanent, some passed off in a few weeks. But in every case the final emotional state was identical and permanent. The patient emerged into profound apathy. In extreme cases he cared for nothing but the satisfaction of bodily needs of nutrition and excretion. Even these might cease to interest him, so that, if left to himself, he might lie inert from morning till night. Such extreme cases were uncommon, but on the average the damage caused by the disease, though less obvious, was scarcely less disastrous. Most people recovered so far as to behave in a normal manner in respect of all simple animal impulses, but they no longer found any satisfaction whatever in the activities which are distinctively human. Thus an impulsive animal affection might be within their reach, but persistent and genuinely other-conscious human love was beyond them. Impossible also were all the other, less intimate forms of true community. Old habits of community-behaviour would persist and might at first carry the sufferers through the familiar social situations without any manifest change; but the fire was quenched. Little by little even the forms of decent social behaviour were abandoned. Abstract thought, even when their intelligence was still capable of it, they found unutterably boring. Art had no longer any meaning for them. Or rather, though intellectually they might still understand its technique, it could no longer stir them. The life of the spirit was wholly fatuous to them. The great common discipline and adventure, which they formerly accepted with enthusiasm, now stimulated them only to yawn and shrug their shoulders. Intellectually they understood it, but they had no feeling for it.

ii. Difficulties with the Bureaucrats

The professed aim of the World Government was to secure a right balance of specialization and all-roundness. Thus the more specialized a man’s trade, the more he was encouraged to take up outside activities. Every individual, of course, was educated primarily to be a developed personality and a responsible citizen. He was given an outline of world-history and of the modern world culture. He was also deliberately educated for breadth of sympathy and understanding. Whatever his special capacities, he was trained to some degree of insight into the activities of others. It was constantly urged upon him that his prime duty was twofold, both to develop his own special aptitude and to comprehend and foster so far as possible the special aptitudes of others.

At last a new invention, one of the very few which the declining species managed to achieve, brought temporary aid. A biochemist produced a method of putting human beings into a state of suspended animation from which, he said, they could be easily wakened, ‘fresh and young’, after a sleep of many years. The world-government, believing that unemployment was a passing phase, and that later on there would be a great need of labour, set about building in every country a system of cold-storage warehouses where unwanted human beings could be deposited until the times changed. The unemployed and their families were forcibly stored in these warehouses. The struggling creatures were chained down, lying shoulder to shoulder on tiers of shelves inside huge tanks, which were then filled first with a succession of gases and finally with a preserving liquid. Millions of men, women, and children in almost every country were thus stored for future use. Though the lives of the workers were almost intolerably arid and distressful, they did all in their power to avoid being sent to the cold-storage houses. The will for the light expressed itself in them as a blind will for active life, however abject. But a few welcomed this opportunity of escape, without irrevocable extinction; believing that in their next phase of active life they would have better opportunities of expressing themselves. In most of these, the acquiescence in suspended animation was at bottom an expression of the will for darkness, though rationalized to satisfy the still smouldering will for light. For the individual in whom the will for the light is strong and clear finds his heart inextricably bound up with the struggle of the forces of light in his native place and time. Much as he may long for the opportunity of fuller self-expression in a happier world, he knows that for him self-expression is impossible save in the world in which his mind is rooted. The individual in whom the will for the light is weak soon persuades himself that his opportunity lies elsewhere. And so, as the spirit of the race was progressively undermined through ever-deteriorating physical and psychological conditions, acquiescence in ‘the deep sleep’ became more and more widespread.


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