Each time I read the story about Joseph Stalin of Russia and his chicken experiment, I always have goosebumps. Imagining a defeathered chicken bleeding is too much a violent image to contain, but the thought of that sad bird going back to feed from the hand of a man who subjected it to such a fate moved me.
In Joseph Stalin’s own words, “People are like this chicken. It doesn’t matter how much pain you inflict on them. The moment you offer them what they need, they will still follow you and turn to you for their survival.”
In political thought, this imagery is used to explain the gullibility and narrow mindedness of the masses. How faulty! This point of view is narrow minded and steep in delusion and the illusion of power over the people you feed. When battered people go for food in the hands of their oppressors, what are they going for?
Think of this hapless Stalin’s chicken again, it has come through a persistent onslaught of torture and disregard, impersonal hatred and exposure to weather in an uncharitable manner. What else? Should the chicken surrender to death? No. The poor creature like all creatures include the mighty Stalin (who himself was a victim of his self-hate stemming from low self-esteem and mental torture) respond subconsciously to the need to survive! Life impulse in that Chicken told it, “Eat those grains for in them is your recovery.”
You have to be in a chronic state of self-hate (apathy) to ignore the pulse of Eros (life drive) and succumb to the odious pull of Thanatos (death drive). Pain is one thing, and it comes from the outside. But suffering is another, and it comes from inside, choice.
You can choose to suffer from the pains in your life, just as you can choose to enjoy from the pleasures in your life, but one great lesson a conscious soul gleans from the Stalin Chicken is Poor, reduced, and shamed as the poor creature was, it did not succumb to suffering. Bleeding as it was, it did not give up hope of life. Cold and cut off from its kind as it stood albeit on groggy feet, it did not choose to hate its punisher (for hatred is suffering). Disdained and condemned by the present circumstances as it was, it did not accept the situation as others expected of it. No, it chose life above all else.
This is the way of true living, pains are normal in life, but suffering is very abnormal, it is a choice. Whereas pain comes upon us from the outside, the choice to suffer is internal, it is a decision away. Self-esteem ignores suffering, but the absence of self-esteem embraces suffering. Suffering is the reason we repeat the same experience life in and life out, year in and year out, we have chosen to build a self-limiting story out of the external events that have been happening in our lives, this really is self-reproach.
Show me a perpetual critic of others, and I will show you a sufferer crying out loud to be helped but will cringe violently at the offer of help, thinking they are being effective and scoring points in life.
As dangerous as you think you are, as indispensable as you feel you are in the lives of those you subjugate, you are nothing but a sad bubble in history, you will pass and the ones who refuse to make enterprises of suffering out of your hollow imagery would go on to live their dream life forgetting the nudity you made them feel. Those who suffer from you are your disciples, but those you gave pains, but refused to suffer will outlive and outlast you.