Finished reading the Orwell negative utopian 1984
last night for the second time. What a relevant piece of fiction today. Many of the ideas and fears Orwell illustrated in the world of Big Brother can be easily seen in today's society.
-America has waged a perpetual war on "terror" that parallels the Eastasia/Eurasia/Oceania conflict in the novel. The war against terror is a war that can never be won, much like the wars waged in 1984
- but so long as these wars are ongoing and America profits from them, they will continue.
-Our politicians engage in "newspeak" where they create buzzwords and media jargon to refer to complex concepts as to neuter the true meaning and argument. Words like "
-The telescreens that monitor the outer party's every move (referred to as Big Brother) in 1984
are reminiscent of the wire tapping and loss of liberties that many people have experienced since 9/11 <---- NEWSPEAK.
-The "Party" aims to keep the proles (lower class) in check by keeping them in an ongoing fervor over common enemies (today's terrorist) and making sure they can never succeed or hope to move from lower to the middle class (current economy, housing bust, recession).
The next step is for the dual party system to go away (I already think they are very similar today despite some ideological differences) and the single party to desire raw power for power sake. We have our share of megalomaniacs in DC -- enough to assume power and realize the only true way to control the people is to destroy the past (or better yet, rewrite it). Once this happens, the ideas of "thoughtcrime" will come to fruition.
Quotes of interest from the novel:
"There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."
"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power."
"He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."
An interesting take on 1984's relevance can be found here: bdaugherty.tripod.com/articles/orwell.html