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The 'Murti-Bing Pill' Helped a Nation Escape Reality

During the height of Marxism in Eastern Europe, the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz (pronounced Ches-wav Me-wosh) explained how so many intelligent people could have been seduced by the soulless philosophy of Communism. Milosz said it was like taking the Murti-bing pill. The idea of the "Murti-Bing pill" first appeared in a 1927 a futurist novel written by one of Milosz's contemporaries.

In the novel (titled Instability), a foreign army is threatening to invade and conquer Poland. The Polish people, nervous and exhausted, have no idea where to turn for help. Should they fight? Should they surrender? Not to worry, the leader of the foreign army offers everyone in Poland a wonderful gift—the Murti-Bing pill. Whoever took the Murti-Bing pill became instantly "serene and happy." The worries of life, including the worry about being conquered and enslaved, no longer bothered them. Takers of the Murti-Bing pill ceased to care about troublesome questions like the meaning of life or what happens after death. Everyone took the pill. But eventually those who took the Murti-Bing pill couldn't completely erase their past or escape their problems so became schizophrenic.

For Milosz, Polish intellectuals and politicians who capitulated to Communism in the 1940s and 50s had taken the Murti-Bing pill. It was the only thing that could help them cope. The pain and shock would be too much to bear, so instead they stopped asking questions about life and just took the pill and escaped.

Possible Preaching Angles: How do we take the Murti-Bing pill and try to escape from the real questions of life? What are our contemporary versions of the Murti-Bing pill—diversions, distractions, addictions, entertainment, or social media?

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