The student mind in the New World
~a short story~
by Jon Rappoport
September 28, 2015
(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, Power Outside The Matrix, click here.)
On September 5, 2030, James Smith entered the office of Dean Fox B Fox at Harvard’s new Merck campus.
Smith, an incoming freshman, was there for his Entry Briefing. The following conversation took place:
Dean: I’m your guidance monitor, Smith. I want to make sure you’re ready to take your place here as a student. I want you to understand our theory of learning. It’s all about words. Words are weapons.
Smith: I went to a good high school.
Dean: I’m not talking about any of that stuff. Let’s see. Are you taking any psychiatric drugs?
Dean: Why not?
Smith: Excuse me?
Dean: Haven’t you ever had a mental-disorder label slapped on you? See, words are weapons.
Smith: No. I’ve never been diagnosed.
Dean: Hmm. Well, hopefully we can correct that. Maybe something like Excessive Privilege Disorder with a sub-category of Abnormal Entitlement Delusion.
Smith: I’m not following you, sir.
Dean: Of course, in that case, you’re going to have to spend the next four years groveling. And I mean that literally. You know, kneeling in the middle of the Quad weeping and apologizing for your unearned status. You’d have to be convincing. Some physical self-mutilation might be required.
Dean: What does your father do?
Smith: He owns a tire store.
Dean: Did he beat you as a child?
Smith: Of course not.
Dean: Did he beat your mother?
Smith: No. Sir, I think we’re getting off on the wrong foot here.
Dean: I’m trying to help you, son. I suggest you pay close attention. Okay, so no abuse back- story for you. That won’t fly. You have to have a back story. It’s essential. You can’t just walk into class and pay attention and do your work. That’s a red flag.
Smith: A red flag? Why?
Dean: College isn’t about doing well. It’s about having reasons why you can’t do well. And those reasons are words.
Smith: No one told me that.
Dean: So you’re a babe in the woods. That’s why I’m here.
Smith: I’m here not to do well?
Dean: Ever been in a wheelchair?
Smith: Once, when I broke my leg. I was twelve.
Dean: A bully crushed your leg with a rock?
Smith: It was a skiing accident.
Dean: We could line you up with a wheelchair. It’s a good prop. I’d suggest some scarring, too. On your face. You sag to the side. You look away from people.
Smith: What?! I’m going out for track.
Dean: Have you studied the glossary of forbidden words we sent you?
Smith: Yes. I have a few questions about that—
Dean: Forget your questions. Just avoid those words like the plague. You need a cause. Global warming, poverty, but better to focus on “justice.” It rings more bells.
Smith: What kind of justice?
Dean: Doesn’t matter. Don’t get cute with it. Justice for the oppressed. Stick with that. I know a doc in town who can give you a couple of withered fingers.
Smith: You’re joking.
Dean: You don’t need fingers to run track. Anyway, you’re not going to win.
Smith: Why not?
Dean: It’s not attractive. You run with withered fingers and a flapping hand, and you finish last every time. That’ll give you a bit of cred. Not much, but it’s a start. But, like I say, you need a back story—in this case, about your hand. How it happened.
Smith: I feel like I’m in a mental institution.
Dean: That could work. You were put in a hospital at age nine. You were having psychotic episodes, so they warehoused you. An inmate attacked you with a knife.
Smith: That never happened.
Dean: Get this straight, kid. Nothing ever happened. Do you see? You tell a story. Everybody puts out a story. You wear it like a badge. We have 939 groups here on campus. You have to join at least one. I’m thinking The Differently Abled Students of the North American Union. Withered fingers, and maybe a pronounced speech defect. Stammering. Your face twists up uncontrollably.
Smith: Some people actually have that problem.
Dean: Get rid of “actually”. Doesn’t work. Doesn’t play. You’d be excommunicated for making a distinction like that. Hounded. So…speech defect, prior history in a nut house. Mistreated. That’s your ticket to apply for psychiatric disability.
Smith: I’m applying for—
Dean: For one thing, disability means you’ll graduate in four years. Guaranteed. You can cut classes whenever you want to. Normal grades don’t apply to you. Well, normal grades don’t apply to anyone, but you’ll really get a free ride. Plus, a good apartment in town. Nurses on duty. You’ll have to go on the drug program, though.
Dean: The usual ones. Mostly downers. You’ll sleep a lot. Some kids flush them down the toilet. Get engaged to another Differently Abled Person in your sophomore year. Helps.
Smith: Engaged to be married? Just a minute—
Dean: You don’t have to go through with the wedding. Also, make sure you run for student office. Gives you negative visibility.
Smith: You lost me again.
Dean: At the debate, you can’t get your words out. The stammering. Plays well. You might even win.
Smith: I had no idea all this was involved in being a student.
Dean: Look up the word “student” in the college dictionary. It means “victimized young person.” If you don’t measure up to that, you could be expelled.
Smith: I prefer grade-performance in classes as a standard. That’s why I’m here.
Dean: What do you think I’m talking about? Your performance. This is theater. Get it? Besides, the professors aren’t teaching anything worth learning. If you wanted to learn, you wouldn’t even need to matriculate. You could buy a library card and spend four years reading books.
Smith: Maybe I should do that. Frankly, I’m disheartened by this whole conversation.
Dean: You’re going to drop out before you begin? What will your parents say? What happens when you apply for a job? You’re going to tell your prospective employer you spent four years in a college stacks reading?
Smith: This is a nightmare.
Dean: It doesn’t have to be.
Smith: I came here to study history and philosophy.
Dean: Two dead subjects. What happened in the past is being rewritten all the time. Philosophy means “externally imposed injury and who imposed it” now. Or haven’t you noticed? Every major figure of the past has been discredited as an oppressor of some kind. You don’t need a college course to spell that out. When you graduate from here, you’ll have a clear road to a government job. That’s where our students wind up. The back stories they invent while they’re on campus set them up for employment in the public sector.
Smith: Why did I spend four years in high school?
Dean: Beats me. But it’s the way things are structured. You could actually come here with a seventh-grade education and do quite well. Unless the seventh-grade was equivalent to the third grade. Now, let’s get back to language. This is important, so listen up. Language is propaganda. Persuasion. It has no other use. Every word you say or write defines your suffering. Your suffering or someone else’s. A little about yours, a lot about others’. Merge them. Other people’s suffering is your suffering. This is what words are for. Don’t get caught with your you-know-what hanging out there in the wind. Don’t make a mistake. Words are…look, you’re a student of philosophy, right? Ever read any John Dewey? He was messing around with “operational definition.” A word means “how the word is used to obtain a particular end result.” Kind of fuzzy, but you get the drift. Then you had all the British ordinary-language philosophers, who were followers of a guy named Wittgenstein. They nailed it down. The meaning of a word is the use. How it is used. That’s all. So the meaning of a word can change in 24 hours. It’s always up for grabs. The people who take over a word and declare ownership can win. It’s a war. You have to keep up. What was correct yesterday can be passe and incorrect today. In a war, there is always a central theme. In this war, the theme is “justice for the oppressed.” And what “justice” means is whatever the most aggressive side says it means. Following me? They change the meanings of all the words to suit their idea of justice. Who knows? Some day you might be one of those powerful people who make those decisions. You can learn a lot about the war in four years of college. I suggest you do. This is why you’re here, whether you know it or not. This is your education. Get yourself a good back-story and jump in. Feel things out. Feel out the changes and ebbs and flows of words. Out in the so-called real world, people are lagging behind. Here is where the big changes are made. It’s exciting.
—end of conversation—
As Smith walked across campus, affecting a severe limp, he was momentarily inspired. Perhaps he could orient himself to the war. Perhaps he could rise to a new level and understand how the game was being played. Up to now, he’d been in the dark. Clueless. But if he accepted a few basic premises, and didn’t bother thinking about them, he could derive a strategy. He could be a language-maker. It occurred to him that winners made the most radical changes in the meaning of words. They acted boldly and decisively and quickly. They didn’t stint. A certain sense of absurdity would help. Take an ordinary word and rip it apart and expose it as devious attempt to impose injustice…and then give it a brand new definition.
Think of words as weapons. Elastic taffy. Stretch one end, shorten another. Twist the beginning with the end.
It was all starting to make sense. He needed to catch up fast. He was a babe in the woods. He had to find a few student-group meetings and sit in the back of the room and listen to how the leaders used words. And in class, certainly the young professors would be on top of the new language.
Sniff out injustice where it hadn’t been found before. Find the words that had been used to conceal oppression. Expose them. Injustice could be anywhere. You could invent it at the drop of a hat.
Bring society to a halt. Stop the train. Just as civilization was once based on manners, the New World was based on concocting stories analyzing familiar and accepted mannerisms. Stories that concluded those mannerisms equaled deep oppression.
He could become a critic. Now there was an interesting profession.
The possibilities bloomed in his head as he walked.
In this day and age, a rebel was a critic who was “on the side of the people.” And the wonderful thing was, a critic was part of the establishment. He could be on the inside and still be an outsider.
His adrenaline began to flow. He adjusted his new limp, the one he had acquired…in an accident at his father’s tire store, when a shipment from a big manufacturer had collapsed on him.
The story needed work. Details. But he was sure he could flesh it out in a few hours. He was a quick study.
He turned a corner next to the Culture and Social Sciences building. He almost bumped into the Dean, who was carrying a box full of books.
The Dean stopped and stared at him. “What happened to your leg?” he said.
The student stared back. “Ten years ago,” he said. “An industrial accident.”
The Dean grinned, nodded, snapped his fingers, and walked on.
“Who knows? This kid could become a tiger,” he muttered.
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.