Ministry Of Peace

sci_fi_girl_astronaut_picture_digital_art

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“The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth.”
George Orwell – Nineteen Eighty-Four

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I have been shown
words that are good
what thoughts are bad
I repeat them
until I feel…
safe
I am filled with thoughts
that are not my own
I focus on them
until I see
what I should see
No questions asked
everything is answered
what is said
is fact
is truth
And if they say
two and two make five
then it must
I am a number
a fighter
for justice
I can never find
I am a tool
for a work of art
that is not mine
Love
does not know me
has never breathed
life into me
has never…
held me
taught me…
of what it is
compelled me to know
the depth of desire
or simply feel
anything
Mother and Father
I have none
For why would I have need
to be nurtured?
When words and pictures
guide my mind
make me
what I am intended
to be
I follow orders
question nothing
my ministry of peace
loves me
nurtures me
keeps me in a place
where I do not stray
But if lies
create truth
torture
invites love
starvation
serves plenty
and war
brings peace
Why is there pain?
Why do rivers
flood my eyes
blur my vision
when my lips
try to agree?
Why does
my ministry of peace
fail me?

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Picture: Anton Zeif

 

Just in case you were wondering – that was my voice!  I thought a sci fi theme would require some audio effects, I hope it wasn’t too chilling. 😉

The idea for the poem was inspired by the video I’ve shared today – Blown Minded, combined with a hint of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.  I even borrowed some of the phrases from Nineteen Eighty-Four – I hope George won’t mind!

There was something about the Blown Minded song that sent my thoughts down a path I probably haven’t visited since I was a teenager.  I was a very depressed future thinking teen, who would have loved to have written a poem with a theme like this, but to have achieved that I really needed to read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, which I refused to read in 1984, on the bases that it was too depressing.  It’s odd how my mind was easily depressed in those days, but refused to have anything to do with things I considered to be depressing.  I was only sixteen – what did I know!

In fact, when I finally got round to reading Nineteen Eighty-Four last year, I didn’t find it depressing at all, I found it very interesting.  There are a lot of aspects mentioned in the book that I strongly feel to some extent are in our lives today, but they are subtle and well hidden.  I’m very grateful though, the grey world described in that book never arrived – at least not yet. 😐

But – here’s a parting thought for you.  Do you think my character in the poem is a human of the future, or just an electronic device filled with thoughts, with a sprinkling of human emotion?  I’ll let you decide! 😉

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Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell (Audiobook)
Brave New Word – Aldous Huxley (Audiobook)

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9781908853158There Are No Such Things As Seagulls – poetry by David Agnew
Available from Valley Press

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58 thoughts on “Ministry Of Peace

  1. A beautiful, deep poem Ms Suzy!! It sounds like a robot with human qualities to me. I also looked at it from another prospective. Being a human that is controlled by what they see, instead of looking inward. They allow other things, people to influence their emotions. Very much enjoyed!! 🙂

    1. Thank you Alisha! 🙂 Yes, and it doesn’t take much for some people to be controlled or not realise they are controlled. I like what you said about not looking inward, I think that’s very important for anyone to remain true to themselves. But looking inward too much can be a problem too! I guess it’s all about getting a perfect balance. 🙂

      1. I agree Ms Suzy!! It’s about balance indeed!! I love the way you put that!! We have to keep a balance of looking inward, And also being aware of our surroundings. 😄

  2. Listening to the poem and reading it, I envisage a robot/computer with human emotions, and it works very well.
    What we think as teenagers is often reversed as adults. If only we could all go back in time.

    1. Thank you! 🙂 Yes, a combination of both human and machine is a good one, scary thought! I’m lucky that some of my views as a teenager weren’t too crazy, I can still agree with some, but there’s so much more to discover and understand at that age. The early part of the 80’s really depressed me though, probably partly down to my own thinking, but there was a lot of unemployment, strikes, riots, and threats of future nuclear war which I should have just ignored, but I let it get to me – never again. I’ve learnt my lesson in taking too much notice of what is in the news! 🙂

    1. I think someone would want to add despair and regret if it was possible, otherwise a missing emotion would make that electronic device less than what we are, perhaps not very believable. A lot of designers of robots at the moment are very into making them as much like a human as they can manage – although they have a way to go on that! 😉

      They certainly could be questions for God! I think it’s good to ask ourselves some of those questions sometimes, sounds a bit pointless, but it’s surprising what can get revealed in doing that. 🙂

        1. The novel is coming on ok, but I’m sure it will need a lot of editing, many times, and then I’ve all the others to write too – I could be a while!! 😉 I’ve been focusing my attention recently on some new short stories that I’m adding on pages here, they’re a bit too long for average post in the blog. They’re a good exercise in keeping things short and relevant, I find it’s very easy to run on too much in a novel, the feeling that there are soooo many pages you will have to fill is a bit of an illusion, I always find I’m taking away, and cutting down, not struggling with what to say! Also been writing some other poetry that hopefully will be read by someone professional (actress) I met on Jottify. I feel like a child – quite excited by that!! 🙂

          1. Glad you are still working on it. I was all set to walk away from my first book in favor of writing my next, but going to the writer’s conference helped me clarify what to do with it. I’m giving it another go, doing another major rewrite to change it from one middle grade novel to two (or three) chapter books. The first is almost done, then I will have to tackle the second (and maybe third?). I hope the actress you met likes your poetry. 🙂 Cheers, Brenda

  3. I read ‘1984’ while I was at college and I can remember only parts (some of the most striking) of it now. Who knows what the world will become, in the hands of Big Brothers and scientists who can mess up with and manipulate God’s designs! And what beautiful names have been given to those four ministries! And you have presented the paradoxes poignantly. I must read the book once again and enjoy it better, in a different perspective. May be we are already being watched constantly through our electronic devices.

    1. Forgot this important point: It was so nice listening to you – you have a sweet, soothing voice. The ending had a dramatic effect. Great idea! 🙂

      1. It is one of those books where certain bits stay in your mind and the rest can be a bit of a blur, but the bits that stand out to me I hope will stay in my mind for a long time. I leant a lot about society and how we can be living with subtle lies and not know it, or even worse, know it but not want to admit what we are living in.

        They are beautiful names! Clever man, George Orwell, he knew how to name them very appropriately – call it something beautiful and everyone will buy it! 🙂 Oh yes, I don’t think there are many people now who don’t have some reservations about everything they do on the internet or text on their phones. It’s definitely underlying, all the time.

        Thank you so much, it was fun to do this one, makes my others sound a bit plain! I shall have to experiment with some music soon, the right track in the right places could add an interesting atmosphere to a reading! 🙂

  4. A powerful poem, which tugs at the emotions. I’m inclined to go with the Human who, living in a future world where people have been stripped of emotions, has somhow reconnected with what it means to be Human.
    Great write, Suzy!

    1. Thank you Chris! 🙂 That’s interesting, because that was originally what the poem was meant to be about, but by the time I’d created the recording and added some voice effects, I started to wonder – could this also apply to a machine? But from a human perspective, I think it comes across as more powerful if it’s human stripped of emotion. That to me is far more scary than the thought of someone succeeding in creating a robot/human. 🙂

  5. Hearing your voice reading the poem with the slight taint of echos at the trailing edges of your voice make this poem alive! Then came the stronger echo brings the ending so nicely!!! Very good 🙂

    I think the character is human but not human as we are. The character was not raised from normal or typical family with loving parents. He (she) has one purpose and that is the only thing in life for him (her). He (she) has realized certain thing and that has shaken the foundation him (or her). These are my thoughts 🙂

    1. Alive?! Thank you very much, that’s good news! 😀 It’s quite an unnerving thought, a human that’s not quite as we are. I like to at least think I can work out where people are coming from, but someone who is programmed instead of loving taught, mm… how do as anyone know their intention or their understanding? I’m sure there are people who have been brought up similar to this, in the past, and will be in the future. Even in the most unemotional of people I feel emotion is always present, waiting to bring something to their attention. Thank you for your thoughts, that’s very helpful to me! 🙂

  6. What a frighteningly beautiful poem, Suzy! And you read it so convincingly….(I wish I were technically savvy enough to read some of my poems aloud on the blog). I read Orwell’s book many years ago–before 1984–and found it very interesting, as you say you did. I think you are right in surmising that we may be living it now, in subtle ways. I have to hope, though, that what is most essentially human about us cannot be modified to the point where we are purely electronic devices. If that should ever happen to us all, who would be left to care? Thanks for a wonderful, toughtful post!

    1. Frighting and beautiful! Thank you very much Cynthia, that’s very interesting, because I was hoping it would be something along those lines even when I first had the idea! 🙂 I know this reading might look very clever, but believe me I’m not really technically savvy myself! I just have a programme on my computer that records,(in a similar way to a tape recorder) and another programme at the press of a button alters the sound (add an echo) I just did a lot of layers of re-recording and messing around with sound really. I don’t have any clever editing programmes yet. My original recording was done on an mp3 recorder – bit like a dictaphone, it was less than £20, unbelievably cheap. But I have to admit, my brother is the technical one, who gets hold of these useful programmes for me, I’d have terrible trouble looking for stuff like that on my own!

      I think there has always been an element of persuasive conditioning going on, in the past and present, and I’m sure there will be in the future. I certainly felt while reading George Orwells Nineteen Eighty-Four that to some extent he was making reference to what ‘had’ already taken place. I’m sure some of the jobs he undertook – his experiences during the second world war, plus his wife working for the censorship department, deciding what could or couldn’t be published must have given him a lot of ideas for that story! My Dad, was old enough to remember the second world war as a young man, and I remember him saying he felt Nineteen Eighty-Four was less of a prediction of the future but more of a telling of the past.

      Yes, I hope it’s not possible to create either robot humans or a mixture of the two, that would be a truly dead and quite horrific society. I wouldn’t want to be alive in that! And thank you again Cynthia for a great comment! 🙂

  7. Brilliant – love the sound effects!! I read both books when I was in my teens – they had a profound effect and influenced me at a critical point in my life.

    1. Thank you Rebecca – I had some fun creating this! 🙂 That’s good you read those books when you were young – you had a great preparation for life! I wish I had. I may have understood a lot more about life at an earlier age if I had read the right kind of books. The trouble is, if a teenager is as stubborn as I was to the reading of certain books – how do you get them to read? I think I convinced myself it would send me into an unbearable depression I’d never recover from – couldn’t have been further from the truth! 🙂

  8. Its a great poem Suzy! I think our character could be either of the ones you suggest. Both it perfectly.

    I started to read the Orwell book many years ago but I, too, thought it too depressing as I honestly believed back then we were all going to be wwiped out! I have never felt the desire to read it again. Maybe one day, or maybe not. 😊Xx

    1. Thank you Christine! 🙂 Oh yes I know what you mean about being wiped out, that was my feeling on it too! It’s best to read it as more of an account of what did happen (to some extent) during the second world war. Some of the jobs Goerge Owell undertook during the second world war may well have given him his inspiration for that novel. His wife also worked for the censorship department as to what could or couldn’t be published during the war years. I wonder if that was related to his suggestion of the memory hole, where past facts and information was destroyed and then rewritten. And he also mentioned a machine that wrote trashy fiction to keep people dull minded and occupied. Haha – I think we’ve had that going on for years!!! 😀

      Best not to read it unless you feel drawn to it. I did for some reason, and it was the perfect moment for me get a lot out of it! 🙂

    1. Yes, I like the thought of it being both, well, I say like – a bit of a scary concept! There’s a lot of technology used in humans already, mainly for medical purposes, but the thought of people being wired up to be mind programmed is something I hope I never get to see! 🙂

    1. Oh, thank you Karen, that’s really lovely! 🙂 I hadn’t thought of wanting to do that, but you never know. There’s a lot of self published books now – I could be available very cheap!! 😀 I have thought about reading some of my short stories on here, but I’d have to get into some serious editing, because the thought of reading a whole story all the way through without one mistake, is probably unrealistic! I used to record these poems at least 10 times, then pick the best one, – I’m down to only 4 times now, so moving on – slowly! 🙂

      1. I have a friend who read one of her books on YouTube… the entire book (in chapters, of course). Was fantastic. I say, if you have the voice for it–and you DO–try it! 🙂 It’s wonderful to hear an author read their work aloud; it connects the writer to the reader and brings them closer to the fictional world.

  9. Actually, until the no mother and father line, I pictured a poor lonely soul with no life. Just working a menial job and not really living. But then I finished the poem and listened to your recording. Hmmm.
    I’ve never read 1984 but I’ve heard about it. You’ve intrigued me though – I will put it in my to read pile (which is quite big. I hope to get back into reading soon).

    1. I see what you mean – you could read it like that too, it’s certainly depressing enough to be someone like that! If you want to hear the story instead of reading it, I’ve got two links here at the bottom of the page, one for Nineteen Eight-Four and the other for Brave New World. They are YouTube videos of the audio books. Depends on whether you relate to audio books or not, they’re not everyone’s ideal way to read a book, but they are useful to listen to while driving or even cleaning the house. Accomplish two things at once! 🙂

  10. I’m inclined to go with human! Who has been told how to think but is beginning to feel, and doesn’t know what to do with that. And I love the picture, the teardrop says it all for me! A feeling that is beginning to be born, and if it is not stuffed, will develop this robot into an independent person. Well done! This has given me food for thought. I didn’t want to read 1984 either, but it was assignment for school, so I did what I was told! hehe. (robot student -):

    1. When I first wrote this, that was definitely what I had in mind, a young future person who’s been told how to think from birth, but underlying there is another part of them, their own instinctive thought pattern beginning to break through. But then when I recorded it in that monotone kind of voice, I started to wonder if maybe they might not be human at all! Now I’m actually beginning to wonder if subconsciously some of it is about me, when I was younger, rejecting things I’d been taught, images I’d seen that I thought conveyed truth when they didn’t, and eventually deciding not to be that robot student. I like that, it’s a good way to describe it student life! Oh dear, those forced assignments – aaaahh, dreadful way to read those classic books! But I’m sure you didn’t stay being that robot student! 😉 And who hasn’t at some time in their life been that robot student? I tried for a while, but found it to be intolerable and I rejected it, and left school at thirteen. I survived the disruption of my education, and somehow muddled through, learned what I needed to an threw out all the rest – best way to live! 😀

      Glad you liked that picture – it is very striking, and I was so pleased when I found that, because it’s nearly all the face and not much else to distract – a wonderful artist!

  11. Your voice, the poetry and the child’s tears in the photo are all chilling and alarming. Sadly, this is true when any one blindly swallows whatever they’re told … without examining the content of what’s said or what’s read for truth or propaganda.

    We’re often so idealistic as teenagers, thinking we can topple windmills Don Quixote-style or conquer the world. Then reality steps in and reshapes our views to the point where many believe that they cannot make a difference … and make no effort to try.

    Beautifully done, Suzy.

    1. Thank you Judy! 🙂 And chilling is good for me, because that was what I wanted to convey, but not too much. Not my usual style of course, but it’s good for me to stretch out to a mixture of fact and fiction, I always find that kind of writing inspiring, which is why I found I liked ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ – it’s a great mixture of both. It’s good to have an examining mind, that’s something my parents learnt through experience and I’m sure have passed it on to me, something I will always be eternally grateful for – and all the other nurturing of course! 🙂

      Yes, we can have a very different view of the world in the teen years, I know a lot are idealistic, and then go the opposite way and give up. But strangely I wasn’t, I was a bit of an introvert in those days, one who felt the world was spiralling out of control into a world I didn’t want to grow up in, which is why I avoided ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’. It was actually my mind that was spiralling out of control, and being interested in some science fiction didn’t help either. But I recovered, and I found a more grounded way to think, without the interference! 🙂

  12. You reading is fabulous… just the echo, perfect. Gave you a slightly programmed/robotic tone.

    Brave New World has always been a favorite and 1984 was always way to realistically scary. Well done 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Melanie! 🙂 I discovered that faint robotic tone by accident, after tweaking settings on a sound editing programme. It was meant to cut down background noise, which it did, but added a slightly strange tone to the voice, which I’d normally reject, but on this occasion it was perfect. And the echo was added from a playback sound on another sound programme, and then I recorded it again. I’m not much of a technical person, but I enjoyed messing around with this one. I shall have to invest in some professional sound editing, it’s amazing how one sound effect can entirely change a voice.

      I’ve only briefly dipped into Brave New World, but my brother read it years ago and has filled me in with a lot of detail. It’s one of those books I’ve got sitting on my bookshelf waiting to read! Nineteen Eighty-Four is realistically scary, and I know it’s put a lot of people off reading it. I actually feel a lot of it was about what ‘had’ already happened during the second world war, especially in Russia and Germany, but presented as though it was a future story, by adding some bits that haven’t happened. I’m sure a lot of George Orwell’s experiences of those war years are in there somewhere! 🙂

  13. Loved the poem Suzy. There’s an air melancholy to your voice. The misery is palpable. Brilliant work of Art. For me it reminds of religious fanatism and blind loyalty to organized belief systems. It’s almost like you’re painting the picture of a brainwashed mind. Then again you could be painting something else 🙂 Either way, it’s definitely an intense poem

    1. Oh thank you very much Gloria! 🙂 I’m glad that misery came through!! 😉 I shall try something a bit more cheerful next time! I hadn’t really thought about religious fanatism, but yes I guess it could cover many kinds of belief systems that require blind loyalty. I was definitely aiming at a general brainwashed mind, but how much it was washed and in what way I think can be interpreted in many ways. And I think this is probably about as intense as I’m likely to get on here, but it was an interesting experience to do something a little different. 🙂

    1. Thank you very much Aquileana! I hope you don’t mind, but I don’t participate in blog awards on here, but I do appreciate you thinking of me – very kind of you! 😀

    1. Yes, culture really does shape us, it’s difficult for it not to affect our thinking. I try to keep an eye and ear open for the mindless stuff though! And always good to be aware of choices, we all have a lot more choice in our thoughts than most of us realise. 🙂

  14. I so agree with what gloriathepoet wrote here…very powerful stuff, Suzy. I immediately thought of Orwell and Huxley while listening and reading along. Brilliant work!

  15. What a great poem Suzy! I first pictured a human who has gotten a bit trapped in life. But it could as well be a robot. Very powerful and thought-provoking!

    1. I’m glad you saw both, because I like the idea of poetry conveying more than one message or feeling, it’s good for some of them to have an open interpretation. Thank you so much Elina! 🙂

  16. What a powerful, chilling poem, Suzy! You know I love your voice and I think I felt a little bit of both human and robot…I started to read the book, but couldn’t stay with it for obvious reasons…it’s great you’re still on Soundcloud, too. I haven’t done any recording for awhile…hope you’re doing well, otherwise, and have a wonderful weekend! ♥

    1. Thank you Lauren, that’s really kind of you! 🙂 Yes, it’s not a book for everyone, I just think I was in a mind set that could accept it, and see it as more to do with what had happened in the 2nd world war, but just set in a future world. It made me look at it in a different light when I read it with that in mind. Gets quite tedious and gruesome towards the end though, and certainly not the usual kind of book I read!

      Yes still adding more to Soundcloud, I’ve not got that many on there, but it’s slowly growing. It’s been a good experience to do this, it’s made me think a lot more about how to write them too. I would have never guessed readings would help that process, but they really do! 🙂

      1. I think that’s great about Soundloud and I also feel you have a lovely voice for reading poetry. I’m still unsure of mine and haven’t been on for awhile. Maybe someday soon, I’ll try again! 🙂

    1. Thank you Brenda! 🙂 I think parts of it have always been true, but they haven’t always been obvious. A lot of the things George Orwell mentioned in Nineteen Eighty-Four actually happened to one extent or another in the 2nd world war, especially for Germany and Russia, it’s easy to forget just how bad it was for people living through all that, must have been horrific. I find it makes the book easier to read thinking of it that way, a future prediction is not a comforting thought.

      1. Yes, that’s a good point. My country is not especially into conforming to some governmental ideal. We are a lot of individualists, so it’s hard to imagine us accepting a world like that one, but we have had an erosion to our rights since 9/11 that is very troubling.

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