Brain Slave to the Machine

I found this reading to be invaluable insight into both the zeitgeist of the Soviet Union in the 1930’s and human psychology. Being born in the United States in 1993, I found this article to be both very fascinating and disturbing. Part of what I have been taught growing up is that it takes until somewhere in early adulthood to obtain a grasp of what you’re identity is as a person, and many never understand. I see the journey to understanding ones self as a fluid part of life, shapeless and easily distorted by pressure, but ultimately liberating. My conscience has been heavily influenced by a type of social revolution of cultural, religious, ethnic, and sexual acceptance brought about closely before the second millennium, and through my education I have been taught to transcend observed boundaries. Podlubnyi’s world is one which is hard to imagine myself in.

The first thing that surprised me was that Podlubnyi truly believes that he has been tainted with some sort of kulak blood, as if it were an inescapable genetic trait or a physiological, psychological defect. Podlubnyi spent his life as a prisoner of his own conscience, desperately digging an escape route from his kulak past to be identified as a worker of the state. The state truly owned him through what I would assume he would perceive as a somewhat transparent label which had been given to his father. Podlubnyi continued to lose sleep even when the state validated him as “working class”, as he continued to look towards guidelines for his thoughts and behaviors in order to be “free”.

The fact that suicide was brought about by a self-perceived uselessness towards the state also shocked me. Suicide to me comes about after extreme personal failure, but it is usually because of severe psychological depression or a severe implosion of ones life, causing one to see no purpose to continue. Although these may have been the thoughts and emotions of Podlubnyi, they were a product of the state’s influence on him rather than what I would perceive to be as a more personal affair. But perhaps the state was more personal to him than love or friendship would be to me, it is impossible to know.

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