Swimming in an Ocean of Robots
“Every man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.“
– Mark Twain
“The dissenter is every human at those moments of his life when he resigns momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.“
– Archibald MacLeish
“In every generation there has to be some fool who will speak the truth as he sees it.”
-Boris Pasternak, Russian poet
Boris Pasternak wrote his first novel in 1956 and sent it to a publisher in his native Russia, hoping for the best. But they violently rejected the book, saying it “represented in a libelous manner the October Revolution, the people who made it, and social construction in the Soviet Union.” The government immediately ordered all copies of the manuscript destroyed, but an Italian publishing house sagely refused to return their copy. Two years later, it had been translated into 18 languages and Boris Pasternak was awarded the 1958 Nobel Prize for literature.
Embarrassed, the Soviet government made him give it back.
As a result of his government's rejection of him, Pasternak's friends abandoned him as well and he was kicked out of the Union of Soviet Writers, which meant he could never again write for publication. Public meetings were held calling for his deportation.
Strangely, none of the people who were angry with him had ever read his book. All they knew was what they had been told. (Don't you hate it when herds of social robots begin bellowing their criticism before they have the facts?)
Boris Pasternak was destroyed. He wrote, “Like a beast in a pen, I'm cut off from my friends, freedom, the sun. But the hunters are gaining ground. I've nowhere else to run. Dark wood and the bank of a pond; trunk of a fallen tree. There's no way forward, no way back. It's all up with me. Am I a gangster or murderer? Of what crime do I stand condemned? I made the whole world weep at the beauty of my land. Even so, one step from my grave, I believe that cruelty, spite, the powers of darkness will in time be crushed by the spirit of light. The beaters in a ring close in with the wrong prey in view. I've nobody at my right hand. Nobody faithful and true. And with such a noose on my throat, I should like for one second my tears to be wiped away by someone at my right hand.”
The following year, Boris Pasternak died. And there was no one at his right hand. A few years ago his book was finally published in the Soviet Union. Doctor Zhivago.
I remember Boris Pasternak as I contemplate the heart-bonds that link the graduates of Wizard Academy. Authors, inventors, musicians and ministers find university presidents, NASA engineers, medical doctors and Nobel laureates at their right hand. Many would call these people misfits, mavericks and renegades. But pioneers, trailblazers and leaders would be an accurate description as well.
Come, and you decide.
Roy H. Williams