Chapter Twenty Six
I don’t think I will be an active participant on the forums of writers’ sites again. The death of Martin in The Imperialist Club for Gentlemen’s first volume signified the end of an era of conversations with myself, but then, only briefly, since Martin rose from the dead in the second volume, so I should never say never.
I’m not sure how much I like writer’s sites. I grew up in the pre-internet era, reading ‘real’ books. Their authors remained somewhat enigmatic, which added a sense of mystery to literature. Sometimes there was a photograph of the author, which I would contemplate in an effort to sense who they were, and occasionally I would read a brief biography, while trying to imagine what kind of lives they might lead, or may have led.
Whereas now, it almost seems as though the author is celebrated as much as their writing. So, if you are dissed within a writers’ community, as I have been, it may affect your chances of being approached by traditional publishers, or your advances rejected should you approach them. And the scale of the animosity cannot be estimated, because a person who chooses to bring another down may have thousands of followers on social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, so their influence may be that of a village – a phenomenon I have encountered.
Another reason for my reluctance to return is due to the manner in which writers’ sites are governed. I have lost a great deal of work through the intervention of moderators, who have deleted reams of my writing, either through their own discretion or as a result of complaints made to them by members of their site. I find it impossible to justify the deletion of a writer’s work, just as I would find it so to destroy an artist’s work in an art class, simply because it irritated the teachers and/or some of the students.
There are still some unpolished versions of short stories I would like to remove, but cannot access. Also, three of the sites I belonged to no longer exist, so the conversations between writers and comments regarding their work have been lost. I consider it irresponsible to open a writers’ site and close it at a whim.
Anyway. Perhaps it is time to break this tiresome monotony regarding my involvement in writers’ sites, by offering a short story for your contemplation, entitled Farming Outlook;
Once upon a time, humans roamed freely over the planet, feeding themselves from what the Earth offered, and building homes for themselves and their families wherever they pleased, just as all creatures were able to.
Yet, at some point in time, a tiny minority of their kind – whom we should call farmers – gathered the majority together in vast herds, and began to control the manner in which they lived. The majority, therefore, may be considered as farm animals, whose sole purpose, as far as the farmers were concerned, was to generate the farmers’ wealth, which the animals did by working on the farms.
The farmers gave the animals food and stables in return for work, and withdrew these commodities if they didn’t. In other words; the farmers forced the animals to work, because they would take away their food and stables if they refused.
This method of farming disturbed the natural psyche of the animals the farmers kept, but the animals barely noticed, because their conditioning as livestock began at birth. They soon forgot how it felt to be truly free.
The farmers told their animals they were free, and the animals ran around within the confines of their enclosures believing they were. They did not understand that freedom is not something given, for it may be taken away. They did not realise freedom is a concept which should be created by those wishing to be or remain free, because they had forgotten how they used to live. The farmers argued that the animals had to be controlled because they seemed out of control. The animals didn’t realise they seemed out of control because they were no longer in control. Eventually, the free world became divided into one hundred and ninety five farms, which were given the name ‘countries’.
Now, each farm, or country, is governed by a mere handful of farmers, and separated from others farms by a fence running around its perimeter, which is called a ‘border’. Sometimes the fence does not even exist – an imaginary line, drawn on the ground, informs the animals they should not cross from their farm, or country, into another.
Animals in wealthy farms peer over the fence into poor farms and feel glad they are not there, since the conditions are so dismal. Animals in poor farms often try to climb over the fence or hop over the imaginary line, and into wealthy farms, so their lives may improve. The farmers of wealthy farms don’t like that, so they use aggressive animals to guard the borders. Some build better fences. The farmer Trump is building a fence so high that a kangaroo on a trampoline will not be able to clear it.
Some farmers have stolen from other farms for many years, and have used the proceeds of the theft to make their farms better, which is the main reason there are rich farms and poor farms. Some farmers find it difficult to feed and stable their animals because so much has been stolen from their farms, by farmers of other farms, throughout the course of farming history.
Today; there are over seven billion head of livestock on the one hundred and ninety five farms, and the head-count rises every day, so the farmers are joyful, for the increase in numbers promise greater profits.
The farmers’ animals maintain the farmers’ opulent lifestyles, so it is of crucial importance the animals are stabled and fed. If an animal does not work, for some reason, most of the farmers do not make much of an effort to feed and stable the unemployed animals, since they are of no benefit to the farmer. These animals roam around in the wind and rain, hungry, and without a stable to live in. The other animals are afraid of the same thing happening to them, so they work hard for the farmers.
On some farms, if an animal becomes sick, they are herded into special stables where sick animals are kept until they are well enough to return to work. Some farmers have learned how to benefit from sick animals, by making them pay to get well, and leaving them to die of their sickness if they don’t.
Many farmers would like to slaughter the sick animals, as the farmer Hitler once did, but they know the contentment of their animals is beneficial to them, so they don’t do anything to upset them, and murdering sick animals would. So, most farmers hope the animals will become well again, in one way or another, and return to work, so they may continue generating the farmers’ wealth.
Some farmers have arguments with other farmers, regarding farming techniques. There is even a danger they may begin to fight, as they have in the past, especially if one farmer attempts to impose their method of farming on another. Or rather; if the argument becomes overly heated, farmers may use some of their animals as soldiers, to kill the other farmer’s animals and destroy stables.
In fact; there is a danger the farmers’ disputes may lead to a colossal farmer war, which may destroy every farm on the planet and all the animals on them. But not the farmers, who have made special shelters where they may hide, if their arguments should lead to such a scenario. The farmers tell the animals the threat of war is the only way of maintaining peace between the farmers, and most of the animals believe this is true, despite the absurdity of the concept.
The animals are not allowed to intervene in the farmers’ disputes. They only hope, wish and pray the farmers will learn to get along with one another, so they will not ask the soldier animals to kill animals on other farms and destroy stables. Some animals try to ignore the farmers’ disputes and put the threat of war out of their minds, and they are the happiest animals of all.
Generally; the animals trust the farmers because the farmers provide them with their stables and food, and some; healthcare when they are sick. The animals assume the farmers care for them in a kind, compassionate way, without realising their only purpose, as far as the farmers are concerned, is for the farmers’ profit, and the only reason they wish them well if they are sick is so they may return to work. The animals do not seem to understand that the farmers would gladly send them into battle, and not care if they died in the process.
Some animals know all of this; they see what’s really going on. They follow the farmer’s disputes, and bleat to the other animals about the farmers’ cunning, devious plans, but it does not affect what the farmers do, and few of the other animals listen to them.
However; if something the farmers are doing, or plan to do, upsets the animals too much, they gather together in vast herds and bleat at the farmers, and collect hoof-prints, which they give to the farmer, with the hope the farmers will understand just how upset they are and stop whatever it is they are doing, or abandon their plans. The farmers tell the animals the system is called ‘democracy’ and they are very lucky to be governed by it, since animals on some farms aren’t even allowed to bleat or collect hoof-prints.
Sometimes the animals’ bleating and hoof-prints works, and sometimes not. If the animals’ bleating become too loud, and the stamping of hooves unruly, police animals spray the rebellious animals in the face with a liquid that stings the eyes, hit them on the head with a stick, put them in a box for a long time, with other unruly animals, or even kill or injure them. In effect; the farmers are the boss and they do as they please, for they have police animals and army animals to protect them.
Yet; if too many of the farmer’s animals are upset, the farmers may be forced to bow to the animals’ demands, because the animals may rebel if they don’t. This happened on a farm called France, in 1789, when the animals complained that they didn’t have enough food. The farmers said they themselves had plenty of food, and didn’t care that the animals did not, which caused a whole load of trouble for them and farmers all over the world.
Farmers learned a great deal from this event, called the French Revolution. They learned that their animals must enjoy a certain degree of contentment, otherwise they may rise in rebellion. Apart from food and stables, the farmers keep their animals content by providing entertainment and gifts.
The farmers are very clever. Providing the animals with what is required to keep them from rebelling doesn’t cost the farmers a cent or take a moment of their time. In fact; their strategy makes the farmers wealthy and allows them plenty of time to relax, since the animals grow their own food, build their own stables, manufacture the gifts and create their own entertainment, and they are forced to buy the fruit of their labour.
The animals make so many gifts that the planet’s limited resources are dwindling as a result of manufacturing them, and the pollution manufacture produces is making the planet so sick that its climate is changing and all life may die. This wouldn’t be the case if the gifts were manufactured to a high standard, but it costs too much money to make high quality gifts, so the farmers’ profits wouldn’t be as high. It is much more profitable to produce gifts of inferior quality, and there is another benefit; inferior quality gifts break easily, so the animals must buy new ones.
The more gifts the animals buy, the more money the farmers make. And the more gifts animals are forced to buy, because they break, the harder the animals must work; creating the gifts and earning the money they need to buy them. Since farmers reap greater profits in this way, and like to keep their animals busy, they try to keep this system intact, despite the effect it has upon the planet’s health and resources.
All in all, life has little meaning for the animals, so the gifts are important; they placate their angst and give life some kind of purpose. However; the farmers don’t know how to keep giving their animals poor quality gifts and prevent the planet-damaging pollution their manufacture creates at the same time.
Regardless of this fact, the farmers tell the animals they will stop climate change, while promising even more gifts. Some of the animals calculate that you cannot produce more gifts and reduce pollution at the same time. Yet; even when this fact is pointed out, the farmers talk until facts become uncertain, and lies, the truth. The majority of animals want to hear everything is okay. They want to carry on buying gifts to make themselves feel better, so they try to believe the lies. The farmers know this, and carry on lying.
Some animals attempt to inform the world’s livestock of the perilous existence they live within, and suggest alternative ways in which they all might live; in a peaceful world, free from their enclosures and lives of mindless slavery. These animals worry about the kind of world they are leaving for future generations. But the majority fear change, are comforted by familiarity, and do not think beyond their own lifetimes to consider those who must live after they have lived. Most hardly care for those who live as they live, so their attitude towards the planet’s future inhabitants is only to be expected.
Their attitude is far from what one would expect to see, within animals with pack mentality. This is because the farmers’ farming techniques manipulate their animals’ psyche. They wish their livestock to be driven by selfish desires, so they have designed their farms to encourage an unnatural selfishness, and destroy the animals’ natural altruism.
The animals are almost entirely oblivious to their conditioning. Their overall mentality is that of sheep; each following another, with the flock being led by the farmer they trust, despite all the evidence which suggests the farmer cannot be trusted. The only way for the animals to discover their true nature, and be truly free, is to break out of their enclosures and abandon the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to. Should they achieve this, they may gather together and create a world of their design, and begin to live their lives with a greater sense of purpose than creating profit for farmers.
Incredibly, farmers are allowing the Internet to spread throughout the farming world, which would enable the animals to do this, since they may use the Internet as a tool to create a true democracy, within which the animals may design the kind of world they would like to live in.
The farmers are allowing this to happen because the internet provides an enormous amount of entertainment, which keeps their livestock happy, and distracts their minds from the farmers’ devious plans. The farmers do not consider it risky because they believe their animals are so fearful, so apathetic, and so conditioned that they will not see the opportunity placed right beneath their snouts. Anyway, the farmers know they can always unplug the internet if it is being misused.
And the farmers may be right; maybe their livestock are too fearful, apathetic and conditioned to see the opportunity and grasp the chance. At this moment in time, the gate is open, but it seems the livestock prefer to stay where they are. This may be due to the fact that it is all the animals have ever known, and they are afraid of change, even though life within their enclosures creates an environment within which they may all die, through a nuclear holocaust – the result of a massive war between farmers – or the effects of climate change; the ultimate consequence of the farmers’ farming techniques. But then; one never knows what an animal is thinking.
I have not included all of my short stories in this book. If you would like to read more, you may read a book entitled A Collection of Thought Stories.