A Scottish philosopher once said: “Ignorance is the mother of fear.” Fear and confusion arise out of ignorance. If we illuminate the darkness with the light of wisdom, there is nothing at all to fear or be bewildered about.
It is out of hope that you will develop such wisdom that I would like to speak to you today about Animal Farm by the British author, George Orwell (1903-1950), who also wrote the well-known novel Nineteen Eighty-four, a bitter prophecy of a totalitarian world.
Animal Farm is an allegory employing a group of barnyard characters on an English farm, who become the misled victims of a totalitarian dictatorship. After long years of oppressive rule under the tyrant, the human beings, the animals launch a rebellion with the rallying cry: ‘Liberty and equality to animals!’
Their democratic revolution is a success. The animals oust the human beings and take over the farm, renaming it ‘Animal Farm.’
For those of you who may not yet have read the book, their struggle could be compared to the way we discarded incorrect teachings and made a full-fledged start on the kosen-rufu movement for the sake of the true liberty and equality of humankind.
The animals start governing themselves in accordance with the principles of ‘Animalism’ which have been agreed upon by all. Everyone is happy and burning with pride. Under the unalterable tenet that, ‘All animals are equal,’ they resolve to build an ideal, democratic homeland.
When the human beings attempt to recapture the farm, the animals fought valiantly together, magnificently repelling the enemy.
However, as time goes by, the principle of equality begins to crumble. the farm’s affairs, which until then, have been governed by a system of open debate and consensus, gradually come to be decided exclusively by the pigs, who have appointed themselves leaders.
There are only subtle changes at first. For example, one morning, the animals wake up to find that their milk has vanished. Presently, the truth is discovered: The pigs have mixed the milk into their mash. They have also appropriated the apples, which should have been shared equally.
The pigs defend their actions, ‘We, pigs, are brain-workers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night, we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples.’ Of course, none of the other animals is a match for such eloquence.
They were implying: We want you to respect and treasure us, pigs; it may appear that we have appropriated milk and apples (which we actually did), but we did it all for the farm’s sake. The all too trusting animals were completely taken in.
To be continued…
SGI President Ikeda guidance, Japanese Goodwill Delegation, Tokyo, 14 February, 1991 (Flow Vol.1, no.21)