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A More Profound Form of Acceptance.
The voice spoke. No one in the room knew where it was coming from. But they had heard it many times.
“The basic purpose of mass mind control is the creation of passive minds. Educated, uneducated, it makes no difference. The objective is passivity. Another word for that is acceptance.”
The chairman said, “Let’s remember this as we engage in our deliberations today. Our goal is to sell lies, yes, we all know that. But ultimately, what we are peddling is inertia. All roads lead there. All stories have that ending.”
Murmurs of agreement.
The officer in charge of the destruction of imagination rose and gave his report.
“Well, 678 museums have closed in the last year, owing to lack of funds. So we’re good there. A survey of booksellers and their inventory reveals a 26% drop-off, and what remains is mostly pap and crap. Education is heading straight for the bottom. 23% of high school graduates can read. 2% can write a page of coherent text. Explosions of one kind or another now constitute 6% of the content of all films released to the public, up from 4.7% last year.”
Nods of approval.
The chairman asked, “What about the Glob Project?”
A woman raised her hand and spoke.
“Working from detailed NSA surveillance records, our committee estimates that 37% of the population is now in Melted Cheese territory. They no longer think of themselves as individuals. They conceive of their existence solely as group members. Our goal for next year is an ambitious 50%. The Church of Government presently has 87 million people on its rolls. Of those, roughly 77 million attend Sunday services at home on their screens. Here’s an interesting statistic. Last year, 90 thousand people took part in street demonstrations and protests. 88.8 thousand belong to some group.”
“Yes,” the chairman said. “Encouraging. However, I’m concerned about…” He stopped. He struggled to recall what he was going to say next.
The others in the room looked around. They felt as if they were sinking into a swamp.
“This is pleasant,” one of them said.
Whenever these brief events of amnesia occurred, the result was Cheese Melt.
A few minutes later, the people in the room were rolling around on the floor. They rolled together in one lump on the carpet, sighed with relief, and fell asleep.
A new voice spoke. A voice that had never been heard before.
“Who are you?” it said. “What are you? Do you think you’re so unusual, so different? You’re falling victim to your own strategy. You’re sinking deeper and deeper. What makes you believe you’ll ever wake up? Do you really think you’ll develop a group-mind that’s capable of coherent thought? How passive can passivity become before it turns into base organic matter? A sludge at the bottom of the well.”
The people in the room suddenly woke up.
This time, instead of resuming their seats and shaking away their cobwebs, they were seized with fear.
They began shrieking and running around.
Finally, they stumbled out of the room, down the hallway, and out on to the street.
There was no one on the street.
“We’re alone!” the chairman shouted. “Alone! We’re dead!”
They spent the rest of the day desperately searching for people. They looked in office buildings, in apartments, in parks. No one was there.
At dusk, the officer in charge of the destruction of imagination sat down on a park bench and bowed his head and wept.
He opened his eyes and saw a teardrop strike the sidewalk, and he heard a small groan.
He got down on his hands and knees and put his ear to the pavement.
This time, he heard giggling. It spread out across the concrete.
A voice whispered, “We’re all here.”
He leaped to his feet.
This is where they went. They all turned into…
A more profound form of acceptance.