For Such a Time as This: “Ballad for the Obdurate”

Photo by Ariful Haque on

Obdurate (adj): stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing, hardened in feelings; resistant to persuasion or softening influences

Let’s be honest. We all have the propensity to choose the narrative we want to believe and refuse to consider other perspectives. But what concerns me is the growing trend to remove access to any dissenting point of view. This is Brave New World at its finest. Consider this passage from chapter twelve of Huxley’s dystopian novel:

“A New Theory of Biology” was the title of the paper which Mustapha Mond had just finished reading. He sat for some time, meditatively frowning, then picked up his pen and wrote across the title-page: “The author’s mathematical treatment of the conception of purpose is novel and highly ingenious, but heretical and, so far as the present social order is concerned, dangerous and potentially subversive. Not to be published.” He underlined the words. “The author will be kept under supervision. His transference to the Marine Biological Station of St. Helena may become necessary.” A pity, he thought, as he signed his name. It was a masterly piece of work. But once you began admitting explanations in terms of purpose–well, you didn’t know what the result might be. It was the sort of idea that might easily decondition the more unsettled minds among the higher castes–make them lose their faith in happiness as the Sovereign Good and take to believing, instead, that the goal was somewhere beyond, somewhere outside the present human sphere, that the purpose of life was not the maintenance of well-being, but some intensification and refining of consciousness, some enlargement of knowledge. Which was, the Controller reflected, quite possibly true. But not, in the present circumstance, admissible. He picked up his pen again, and under the words “Not to be published” drew a second line, thicker and blacker than the first; then sighed, “What fun it would be,” he thought, “if one didn’t have to think about happiness!”

from Aldous Huxley’s, Brave New World, Chapter 12

Mustapha Mond is one of the World Controllers in the novel, one who knows the truth but intentionally suppresses it, including scientific evidence, to maintain a false sense of happiness in the world. Everyone has been conditioned to believe what they hear is for their best. The World Controllers have removed the family, God, history, and anything that contradicts the “ideal” vision of what’s best for society. But we, the readers, know differently.

I believe that we were made for more than just safety, happiness, and survival. We were designed to deepen. Censorship is the antithesis to deepening. How can you deepen if you only have a shallow cesspool into which you can wade? The most alarming example of this censorship exists among the supposed open-minded public forums of Google, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. If something doesn’t line up with the prevailing narrative, it suddenly becomes a “violation of … policy.” We don’t really care about facts and truth. We don’t even really care about saving lives, if we’re really being honest. If so, why persecute those who suggest other proven life-saving means of dealing with the COVID-19 crisis? Why silence the voice of first responders who have been on the frontlines of defeating this virus?

“Anything that would go against World Health Organization recommendations would be a violation of our policy.”

Susan Wojcicki, CEO, YouTube

Odds are we’ve been the victims of modern day snake oil salesmen and not allowed the freedom to make our own decisions. We desperately want our voice to be heard, but don’t really support everyone having the benefits of freedom of speech or freedom of assembly. In fact, we’ll threaten the lives of those who don’t follow our agenda. We trust our government officials and media outlets, but do they really present the facts and have our best interests at heart? We allow others to fact check for us rather than checking for ourselves. We demonize anyone who won’t nicely fit into the brick-shaped hole of our wall (thank you, Pink Floyd!). It’s for those people who would suppress the truth and stubbornly hold to carefully manufactured narratives that I wrote this song seven years ago.

“Ballad for the Obdurate” – Track 2 from For Such a Time as This by Vincent H. Anastasi 2020

Ballad for the Obdurate

Vincent H. Anastasi 2013

I will be consistent – you won’t catch me wavering;
Like a statue I will wear a stony face.
Though you are persistent, I won’t hear you arguing;
There’s no room for your opinion in this place.

Don’t give me more statistics – I know all I need to know;
I have steeled myself to counter wicked truths.
You preach apocalyptic, but it’s hardly apropos;
Let me live my life apart from telling proofs!

You backwash hypocrite, stalwart counterfeit, public miscreant, now!
You outlaw photograph, spineless autocrat, broken phonograph, how?

All around me, all that I see
Are scarecrows and shadows of what we’re meant to be,
And tin cannot hide the cowardly pride
That rings in the silence of your obstinacy

Call me realistic – I have heard the public cry;
Though you turn my waters red, I will not yield.
You come off altruistic, but I can read between the lines;
You’re not fooling anyone with what you deal.

You backwash hypocrite, stalwart counterfeit, public miscreant, now!
You outlaw photograph, spineless autocrat, broken phonograph, how?

All around me, all that I see
Are scarecrows and shadows of what we’re meant to be,
And tin cannot hide the cowardly pride
That rings in the silence of your obstinacy

Published by thedeepened

I am a lover of words - the way they sing together in neat or sprawling lines upon the page, conducted by the great wordsmiths of all time. The way a sudden turn of phrase or surprising combination of sounds resonates with the deep within me, causing pause: moments of reflection and appreciation that transcend the superficial babblings and paltry visions of the infantile. Here at the deepening ground, it is my intent to make time and space for the reflection, appreciation, and creative imaginings that sustain the human soul.

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