Bowing At the Altar of Conformity - Printable Version

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Bowing At the Altar of Conformity - NickHedge - 05-19-2010

Two things came together day before yesterday that I never thought I would ever see happen.

Robin Williams appearing in an episode of Law & Order SVU.

The name of the episode was "Authority" and it dealt with not conforming to what is expected of us. That is the briefest of descriptions.

I was scanning through the channels and I saw Williams, it almost looked as if he was a cross between his character from "One Hour Photo" and his character from "Insomnia" so I had to check it out.

I would be lying if I said that I wasn't impressed. Robin Williams is a very good actor when it comes to serious roles. I detest him as a comedian, but then I think Gilbert Gottfried is hilarious as well as a comedic genius.

What the episode deals with and actually refers to by re-creating is "The Milgram Experiment". I had just uploaded that to the tracker a week or two ago. The episode also entertains the possibility of going against the government. This is not normally what I would expect from this show. Normally these shows tout the party line religiously.

There came a point in the episode when Williams is defending himself in court and in his closing statement (monologue) he quotes the poet Wendell Berry. Williams only mentions a few lines but those lines were interesting enough that I wanted to read the entire thing and see where this poet was coming from and what message he was trying to send.

I'm still not sure how I feel about it and have re-read it over a couple of times. Still thinking about it. So I thought I would post it up for people here to read and see what others thought of this.

For anyone who wants to see this episode it is from Season 9 episode 17.


Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion - put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

RE: Bowing At the Altar of Conformity - groen2 - 05-19-2010

it looks like people all over are becoming more aware of the tyranny. but that could just be me trying to be positive.