Author Topic: Talk about a chilling experience  (Read 3865 times)

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Offline Stripe

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Talk about a chilling experience
« on: August 24, 2006, 04:39:27 PM »
I just spent the past few days reading the novel "1984" by George Orwell.  I've seen plenty of references to the book since I started posting here, so I thought I'd give it a read.

I think I read it in 11th grade back in 1974 (post 10th grade Seed) and I don't recall my mind questioning anything about my experience at The Seed.  Must have been some great doublethink I was running back then.

There were passages in that book that made my blood run cold.  I'm not a place where I can add those passages right now, but I'll post them tomorrow.

Does anyone else have a "favorite" passage from the book?  

Post it and let's compare and contrast the fiction of the novel "1984" with the reality of The Seed.

Stripe
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
The person who stands up and says, ``This is stupid,\'\' either is asked to `behave\' or, worse, is greeted with a cheerful ``Yes, we know! Isn\'t it terrific ?\'\' -- Frank Zappa

Offline GregFL

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Talk about a chilling experience
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2006, 05:03:30 PM »
"It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself?anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face? was itself a punishable offense."
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Offline marcwordsmith

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Talk about a chilling experience
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2006, 11:59:54 AM »
I remember reading it when I was fifteen, and what hit me hard was Winston's reflection at the end that he and Julia could even get together and have sex now if they wanted, it didn't matter, because the Party knew it had triumphed; it had eviscerated them internally. Don't remember how that was worded.
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Offline GregFL

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Talk about a chilling experience
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2006, 11:37:02 AM »
Quote from: ""GregFL""
"It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself?anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face? was itself a punishable offense."


How about we selectively edit this quote to make it better comport with our seed experience?

"It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in range of any seedling or anyone in your own family.  The smallest thing could give you away.  A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself-anything that carried with it the suggestion you were not totally mentally emerged, of having something to hide.  In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face...was itself an offense that could get removed from your home and put back on the front row."

[/end selective edit]
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Offline GregFL

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Talk about a chilling experience
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2006, 11:40:36 AM »
Quote from: ""marcwordsmith""
I remember reading it when I was fifteen, and what hit me hard was Winston's reflection at the end that he and Julia could even get together and have sex now if they wanted, it didn't matter, because the Party knew it had triumphed; it had eviscerated them internally. Don't remember how that was worded.


Marc my good man, I read the book also when I was fifteen, shortly after getting out of the seed.  I remember being deeply disturbed by it and it has helped shaped the way I think about totalitarianism and personal liberties to this very day.
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Offline marcwordsmith

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Talk about a chilling experience
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2006, 12:31:15 AM »
Same with me, Greg. I actually did not read the whole book at the time, but I came across it shortly after The Seed, and I got the gist of what happened in the story (I knew Winston Smith had been tortured into submission, and that he'd cried "No, do it to Julia, not to me!" when confronted with his most profound fear, and that that was what broke him entirely), and I read that one passage I mentioned above, and it chilled me, because that was kind of how I felt. I felt nothing could restore what I had had with my friends, because I had betrayed them.

Glad I don't feel that way anymore. I'm good friends again with the guy who was my best friend before I went into The Seed.

I wonder sometimes about the limits of resilience. The Seed was incredibly abusive, and we were at such a tender age, so open and vulnerable and unprepared for The Seed's assault on our minds, but of course people have recovered from much worse.

The Seed, more than the book 1984, remains my personal standard for how twisted things can get, how words can so easily be perverted to mean their exact opposites. (Words like "love" and "honesty" and "empathy")

Greg, I know you remember when John Underwood posted here for a short period of time. After a while, I got tired of fighting with him in this forum--or not so much tired but just dubious about the value of it, and questioning myself for getting off on it. In the end, I stopped responding to him, though I was surprised how forgiving people were (including you, Greg!) when he apologized for that one totally insane (and downright nostalgic) "come down" ranting post of his, and he called it "degrading to you and me"--I was surprised no one called him on that. No one pointed out that it was, in fact, degrading to only one person.  Sometimes I think back to that little window of opportunity I had to fight it out with John Underwood, and I wish I had taken it to its limit, though I'm still not sure what the value of it would have been . . . Oh well.

For the record, I also still believe he beat up Fuelaw, despite his sneering articulate denials. We know Underwood habitually minimized things ("So you had to sit in a drug rehab for a few months . . . boohoo") and lied, I believe (claiming the vast majority of Seedlings were there voluntarily--that CERTAINLY was not the case when I was there!) . . . and why would Fuelaw have had reason to lie?

Oh well, I confess it crosses my mind once in a while, that unfinished argument. Thought I'd take this random opportunity to get it off my chest. Thanks, as always, for providing the forum.
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Offline GregFL

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Talk about a chilling experience
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2006, 06:55:01 PM »
I hear you on that.  I have a slightly different take on what occured.

First, John U is still philosophically entrenched in the Seed "ideal" even tho they personally showed him what seed "love" is really about.  Just what level of commitment and compartmentalization does that take?

Personally,  I wanted information, and I wanted his side of the story.  To me there are unanswered questions still, and after talking to John U, as smarmy as he was, I realize that he didn't have the answers.  His version of Seed history was/is rooted in the history that Art built, nursed and self-perpetuated, and John could not explain to my satisfaction Dupont and the Synanon influence.  I don't think he knows, to be frank about it.

But I don't think anyone let him off the hook.  He thought he could come waltzing in here and 'come down' on the people that would dare to question his revisionistic version of what happened in those stinking hot warehouses.  He didn't. He couldn't.  In the end sound argumentation and facts are what sent him tucking tail, and I enjoyed talking to him. In fact, I wish I could get more of the senior staffers to stop lurking and start posting.

For me, the encounter was totally sucessfull on all levels.  I welcome John back here anytime for discussion on any Seed subject of his choice.  

Bring it John.

For the record, I as well  believe Fuelaw was abused at the seed.  Hell, I know I was.  However,  I wasn't as brave as the little 12 year old Fuelaw was so I didn't get the direct confrontations by those large adult men.  Frankly, I was too terrified to put myself in the direct line of fire of those 22 year old tyrants and miscreants.  

So I silently suffered.  The kids like Fuelaw that stood up and argued with them were my private heroes, and I felt so weak and almost never forgave myself for the self-betrayal that I played into.

The guys  that vehemently deny the abusive modalities have warped their mind into believing that grabbing a 12 year old boy by the arm, yanking him up, taking him into a backroom and calling him names with spittle flying out of the corner of their mouth was saving his life and helping him.  That poking and prodding 13 year old girls in the back  for daring to nod off after 12 hour marathon 'raps' and then oral and written confessionals at the 'host home', 4 hours of sleep, and then back to the seed for PB&Y sandwiches and sexual confessional talks was valuable and theraputic.  That making kids feign 'motivation' to get called on whilst knowing that in the hearts of those kids was really gripping overwhelmingly terrifying  fear of a confrontation if they did get called on was necessary to "save their lives".  That making kids scream "im coming home" and running across the room to their mothers, but only after being held against his/her will,broken of spirit, and rebuilt in the image of the seed group all for the crime of 'druggie behavior' was beneficial and necessary. That making virginal boys go to boy's rap and confess to being virgins in front of all the older boys, only to be left standing up and humiliated and berated about being a 'punk' and told that he would be raped in prison was good for his development... that confessing to long lists of drug use and criminal behavior in front of community leaders, teachers, and the press was a beneficial thing for the future of children...the list just goes on and on.  

they are committed to this self-deception because facing it calls into question the entire Seed fantasy they have built in their mind. It also would cause them to question their own actions during that strange piece of americana...the early 70s Seed.

As far as forgiving him for the "come down on you" thread...of course!  

  I can't think of anything better than a former staffer spontaneously engaging others in a  "come down on ya" like it held any significance in real life ... in response to engaging and thought provoking criticism of his beloved *program* and then having him apologize for that behavior.  He should have also apologized for 30 years ago, IMO.  I asked him to, but it was his choice not to.

"degrading to you and me".  He may have said that, but he was wrong on the former, and spot-on on the latter.  It isn't magically degrading *now* but wonderfully magically theraputic *then*.  It is much worse *then* when people were held against their will and physically unable to stop the attacks and not voluntary participants in the conversations.   Somewhere in that mind of his, maybe he gets that.

Marc, go back and read that thread, and the others that John participated in.  If you still think he was lobbed softballs, I want to hear about it.  Not that it really matters now because we all kind of dealt with John U showing up in our own ways and in the final analysis, I think that is what was important.  

Thanks for the kudos on the forum, but  I want to thank you for that inspiring and thought provoking article you wrote about your personal experiences in the seed.  

You are a talented and articluate writer and your participation here is always appreciated.
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Offline marcwordsmith

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Talk about a chilling experience
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2006, 02:42:07 AM »
Love you, Greg!

(I mean, you know, in a grateful sort of way. Not in The Seed sense . . . oh man, see what I mean about perversion of language????)

And it was this forum that inspired me to put together my article by the way. I don't know if I ever mentioned that.
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Offline marcwordsmith

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Talk about a chilling experience
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2006, 02:46:46 AM »
by the way, by and large, I don't think JU was lobbed softballs, but I thought his "apology" post contained more sanctimony than remorse, and as I said, I was surprised no one called him on the "degrading to you and me" business. I should have done it myself, since it bugged me at the time.
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Offline Antigen

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Talk about a chilling experience
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2006, 08:31:50 AM »
Hear, hear!

 ::cheers::
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"Don\'t let the past remind us of what we are not now."
~ Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Sweet Judy Blue Eyes

Offline Anonymous

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Talk about a chilling experience
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2006, 09:45:20 AM »
Quote from: ""marcwordsmith""
by the way, by and large, I don't think JU was lobbed softballs, but I thought his "apology" post contained more sanctimony than remorse, and as I said, I was surprised no one called him on the "degrading to you and me" business. I should have done it myself, since it bugged me at the time.


In retrospect, that would have been a good point to bring up and show him the folly of that type of thinking.  To tell you the truth, it flew right over my head.  There was a lot going on during that conversation.
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Offline Stripe

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One quote I like from Chapter 3
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2006, 05:48:42 PM »
"The Party said that Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia. He, Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia as short a time as four years ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -if all records told the same tale -- then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.' And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. 'Reality control', they called it: in Newspeak, 'doublethink'. "

***********
Remember sitting in there - in the front rows, battering your brain trying to come to terms with the vileness of your own self?  Trying to adopt the "Seed-think" statements about yourself?  How many drugs you used, how much illicit sex you had?  How awful you were?  

If the Seed could get you to amend your past - to adopt a lie as your past, then accepting their truth about you made being interred there some how, just a bit easier.   But only in the short-run.  As a way of life, it fails misreably every single time.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2006, 06:15:09 PM by Guest »
The person who stands up and says, ``This is stupid,\'\' either is asked to `behave\' or, worse, is greeted with a cheerful ``Yes, we know! Isn\'t it terrific ?\'\' -- Frank Zappa

Offline Stripe

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LUV at The Seed: Here's another one form Part One, Chapter 6
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2006, 06:13:12 PM »
"The aim of the Party was not merely to prevent men and women from forming loyalties which it might not be able to control. Its real, undeclared purpose was to remove all pleasure from the sexual act. Not love so much as eroticism was the enemy, inside marriage as well as outside it. All marriages between Party members had to be approved by a committee appointed for the purpose, and -- though the principle was never clearly stated -- permission was always refused if the couple concerned gave the impression of being physically attracted to one another. The only recognized purpose of marriage was to beget children for the service of the Party. Sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting minor operation, like having an enema. This again was never put into plain words, but in an indirect way it was rubbed into every Party member from childhood onwards. There were even organizations such as the Junior Anti-Sex League, which advocated complete celibacy for both sexes. All children were to be begotten by artificial insemination (artsem, it was called in Newspeak) and brought up in public institutions. This, Winston was aware, was not meant altogether seriously, but somehow it fitted in with the general ideology of the Party. The Party was trying to kill the sex instinct, or, if it could not be killed, then to distort it and dirty it. He did not know why this was so, but it seemed natural that it should be so. And as far as the women were concerned, the Party's efforts were largely successful.

**********************

Permission to date?  Sex Raps where sexual behavior was made nasty, shameful and almost criminal?  Contact football games that acted only to  excite, control and extinguish sexual energy? How weird is that?  Weird, indeed.  Real Seedlings  really did earn the nickname "Zombie".  And that was something held up as normal behavior to be emulated....

How many Seedlings  were "lucky" enought to be paired off in Seed-approved relationships and marriages?    I'm sure some seed kids might truly might have been in love, but to submit oneself to "official sanctioning" of something so intimate and joyful because we believed that we did not know better - that we could not pick for ourselves, that's really sad.  

When I think of things this way, I actually feel sorry for the John Underwood-types around here.  They might have beat kids asses and they were vile, cruel persons, but I suspect there's no amount of self-flagellation they won't endure to keep their "dreams" alive.  The stress of carrying on that kind of self-delusion must be wicked - mind-splitting, even.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
The person who stands up and says, ``This is stupid,\'\' either is asked to `behave\' or, worse, is greeted with a cheerful ``Yes, we know! Isn\'t it terrific ?\'\' -- Frank Zappa

Offline GregFL

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Talk about a chilling experience
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2006, 10:11:09 AM »
I hit puberty while in the seed.  Those sex raps were mind numbing.  When I got out I went on a quest to get some sex.  (haha).  Unfortunately, it took a little while.

Those people who stayed around for years and years  during their sexual formative years and never were allowed to even think about sex without internalizing 'problems' and 'bad thoughts' and thinking staff was reading their 'dirty thoughts' ..well I feel for them.  I truely do.
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Offline NOT12NOW

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Talk about a chilling experience
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2006, 11:40:07 AM »
I re-read it an was blown away by the similarities. Didn't have to read far before I found something that reminded me of the seed. The telescreen, the contraptions everywhere that watching and spoke to them.

"Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat though the words were still distinguishable....The telescreen, it was called could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely."

"The telescreen recieved and transmitted simultaneously.  Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained with in the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard.  There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any give moment.  How often, or on what system, the thought police plugged in on any indidual wire was guesswork.  It was even conceiveable that they watched everybody all the time..  But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live-did live, from habit that became instinct in the assumption that every sound you made was overhead , and,...every movement scrutinized."
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