The Company And The Nazi Party: The Lottery In Babylon

1678 words - 7 pages

Written in 1941 by Jorge Luis Borges, The Lottery in Babylon expresses the writer's agnostic and anti-Nazi beliefs through the use of science fiction. Argentina, the home of Borges, supported the Axis powers during World War II. Borges, known for his philisophical writing rather than political writing (Laraway, 563); uses this science fiction short story to depict and question beliefs about religion as well as the use of religion as a tool by the empires of the world. The Lottery in Babylon is a science fiction short story about a mythical city, with a historical name. A lottery began as a game initiated by merchants and enjoyed by the common people of Babylon. The Babylonian society became bored with the game as the entrepenuers of the lottery could not afford to continue. A negative aspect was instituted into the lottery, a fine was imposed on the owners of certain tickets. If the unfortunate ticket holder refused to pay the fine he was imprisoned. This increased the popularity and the power of the lottery. The lottery became so popular that it became mandatory as a cultural norm and the Company became the all powerful ruler of Babylon. All of society participates and acceptes its rewards and consequences. The Company, by enticing the public to believe the world is chaotic and at the mercy of chance, grows into an empire. Borges uses the Company metaphorically in the science fiction storyThe Lottery in Babylon to explain how the Nazi's manipulated religion and the occult to assist in the growth of the Nazi Empire.

The evidence that the Company is a metaphor for the Nazi Party begins in the title. Babylon, according to Laraway, “. . . . is widely agreed to designate not only a generic kind of antithesis of Isreal but more concretely, the imperial Rome that had begun to persecute aggresively the adherents of the new Christian sect” (2). The Nazi Party, as is well known, is anti-semantic and aggresively persecuted the Jewish people. The Nazi Party, also known as The Third Reich, is thought to have originated from the Thule Society (8). The Thule Society was an occult anti-semantic secret society of which many future high ranking Nazi Party members were associated. “It was Thule people to whom Hitler came in the very beginning; it was Thule people who first joined forces with Hitler.”(9) Hitler, the Nazi leader, later cut ties with the Thule Society while injecting many of the beliefs into the political party (Phelps, 246). The occult ways of the Thule Society and the Nazi Party are symbolized in the story by the mystical ways of the Company. The narrator of the story explains the lottery as being mysterious and secretive. The purpose of the enigmatic workings of the Company is, according to the narrator, to promote intrigue in the lottery. This is inconcistent with the way the narrator later describes the lottery. The narrator speaks of the lottery's beginnings as lacking moral clout, but as the Company gains more power the lottery begins...

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