I reread Orwell’s Animal Farm tonight and was reminded of the corruption deep within the heart of man – or pig – should you be familiar with the satire. The story goes something like this: Mr. Jones, the farmer, runs his farm in the normal fashion, that is, until his farm runs him off in a quite abnormal set of circumstances. After years of living under dictator Jones, Old Major the boar, the wisest of the farm animals, sows the seeds of revolution, inspiring a revolt which places the farm in the hands of the animals. Farmer Jones’ Manor Farm is renamed Animal Farm and the animals actually manage the farm better than Jones.
You see, the pigs had wisdom and they stepped up to the role of strategists and ran the farm with the core truth of the equality of all animals. They recognized that one gift is no better than another, they are simply different. Each gift was used in a way that benefited the society as opposed to the individual. Communism at its finest. Ahem…
But the real problem was, after the death of Old Major the boar, there were two power pigs left to guide the farm, Snowball and Napoleon. Two pigs, two visions. Therein lies the problem. While Snowball ran the farm the farm ran well. He was inventive and always thinking of the farm. Napoleon however, had self interest and was tired of Snowball’s ingenuity. In a coup of epic proportions Napoleon uses his soldiers, the dogs, to run Snowball off of the farm. He forcibly takes control. What results is inhuman animalistic behavior perfectly typical of the fallen human animal. History of the farm is rewritten, laws subtly changed to mean something different, and Snowball is systematically vilified until his memory is a symbol of evil. Napoleon, the Hitler-pig sets himself as the supreme ruler of the farm. But that’s not all…
Evil has a way of taking hold and turning one into something unrestrained. Napoleon does not simply rule with an iron hoof but begins a campaign of genocide to intimidate and prevent questioning, and by way of admiration does the most evil of deeds… He begins to act human.
The animals–at one time–had a mantra, a summation of their core beliefs, it stated; “Four legs good, two legs bad.” It was the foundational belief that helped to free them from the oppression of man. However, over time, man is exactly what Napoleon aspired to be. He learned to read, to bargain, to speak and to write. He even learned to drink alcohol and eventually walk on two legs. He changed the mantra to; “Four legs good, two legs better!” He became the object that inspired revolution in his previous master, Old Major. He became evil through self interest. He exalted self and forgot about others. In fact, the book ends with the animals peering in on a conversation between their leader, Napoleon the pig, and their enemy, the humans. They glance back and forth from pig to human and from human to pig, and in the final words of the book, it was impossible to say which was which.
Jesus called us light in darkness, light that cannot be hidden. The ones peering into the windows of our lives should be able to readily tell if we are darkness or light. They should not be pushing their noses to the window and trying to discern whether we are pig or human, sheep or goat. This world is an animal farm for sure, and I choose to be a sheep, I choose to hear “Well done good and faithful servant!”
I will be who I was created to be. I will be as good to my neighbor as to myself. I will seek humility not authority. Authority is given by God. Created a sheep, I will remain a sheep, and be the best sheep I am able to be.