An Extensive Deep Dive into the Resonance Between Orwell's 1984 and the Present Day
Imagine, if you will, a world where every aspect of your life is under constant surveillance. A world where your every move, your every word, and even your every thought are scrutinized by an all-seeing authority. In this world, the elite holds absolute power, manipulating and controlling the masses with an iron grip. Propaganda bombards you relentlessly, shaping your beliefs and perceptions until they align with the interests of those in control.
In this dystopian reality, loneliness and isolation are pervasive. Genuine human connection is a rarity, as fear and suspicion permeate every interaction. You are but a tiny, insignificant cog in an incomprehensible machine, where your individuality is suppressed, and your dreams are crushed. The weight of conformity hangs heavy upon your shoulders, suffocating any hint of rebellion.
Does this bleak vision sound familiar? Astonishingly, it mirrors our present-day society in almost every way. The chilling foresight of George Orwell, as portrayed in his masterpiece novel, 1984, has materialized before our very eyes. Now, I do have a little bone to pick with Orwell himself, but that is for another day. Today we shall focus on his writings.
Let us embark on a profound exploration of the story within 1984, peering deep into the mechanisms of control that shape our lives, and pondering whether liberation from this oppressive regime is even possible.
Today, we enter a world where the individual's autonomy is systematically dismantled. Surveillance cameras lurk in every corner, ensuring that no action goes unnoticed. Big Brother, the face of the ruling regime, peers at you from posters, a constant reminder of the omnipresent eye that watches your every move. Your thoughts, once considered sacred and private, are now susceptible to intrusion through invasive technologies.
The elite exercise their authority through relentless propaganda. The airwaves are filled with distorted truths and fabricated realities, blurring the lines between fact and fiction. The masses are indoctrinated, their minds molded to accept the narrative handed down by those in power. Critical thinking becomes a threat, and independent thought is swiftly suppressed.
Fear and suspicion permeate society, eroding trust and fostering isolation. True intimacy is replaced with a superficial sense of community, carefully crafted by the ruling regime to maintain control. The desire for genuine connection and the longing for freedom linger, but they are smothered by the weight of oppression.
Yet, amidst the bleakness, a flicker of hope remains. The human spirit, resilient and tenacious, yearns for liberation. The protagonist, Winston Smith, embodies this yearning, questioning the very fabric of the society in which he exists. He seeks to reclaim his individuality, to defy the shackles of conformity, and to challenge the authority that suppresses him.
As we delve into the story of 1984, we confront uncomfortable truths about our own reality. The parallels between Orwell's vision and our modern society cannot be ignored. The constant surveillance, the manipulation of information, the erosion of privacy, and the stifling of dissent all bear an unsettling resemblance to our own world.
So, as we witness Winston Smith's struggle for freedom, we are compelled to question our own capacity for resistance. Can we break free from the chains that bind us? Is there a path to liberation from the oppressive forces that seek to control our lives? Only through deep introspection and collective action can we hope to carve out a future where autonomy and individuality are cherished, and the human spirit triumphs over the forces of oppression. The choice is ours to make.
The movie opens with a powerful quote extracted from the pages of the iconic book it draws inspiration from:
“Who controls the past controls the future, who controls the present controls the past.”
These words reverberate through our consciousness, setting the stage for the dark tale that is about to unfold. They encapsulate the essence of a world where power lies in the hands of those who manipulate history, molding it to shape the course of the future.
In a seamless transition, the scene shifts to a captivating shot, immersing us in a crowd of people fixated on a mesmerizing display of propaganda orchestrated by the ruling party. This shadowy government, known as the Party, exercises absolute control over every facet of life through their ideology, known as Ingsoc.
The Party's fundamental principle rests on a suffocating grip on information. They tightly control the flow of knowledge, ensuring that every aspect of life is dictated and manipulated to serve their interests. Obedience, unquestioning and absolute, is the expected norm. It extends so far as to require individuals to deny even the most basic and undeniable truths about their own existence. Thoughts and memories themselves are not exempt from the Party's ironclad rule.
In this oppressive regime, free will becomes an illusion, as the Party engineers a reality where conformity and submission are paramount. Dissent is crushed, independent thought is deemed heretical, and individuality is suppressed under the weight of conformity. The Party's dominance extends beyond physical control; it penetrates the very depths of the human mind, attempting to rewrite history and erase personal autonomy.
Within this backdrop of stifling control, the narrative unfurls, unveiling the story's protagonist and his struggle against the oppressive regime. His name is Winston Smith, and he dares to question the Party's doctrines, yearning for freedom of thought and expression. His journey becomes a poignant exploration of the human spirit's resilience and its refusal to be completely subjugated.
As the movie progresses, we witness Winston's inner turmoil, the conflict between the Party's indoctrination and his innate desire for truth and liberation. Through his eyes, we confront the harrowing reality of a society in which every individual is reduced to a mere pawn in the Party's grand design.
The journey that lies ahead promises to delve deeper into the core themes of control, manipulation, and the quest for individual agency. It compels us to ponder our own world, and whether we too are ensnared in a web of manufactured truths and oppressive forces.
With each passing moment, the story beckons us to reflect upon the fragile balance between power and freedom, and the choices we must make to preserve our humanity in the face of overwhelming control. The stage is set, and the battle for liberation awaits.
On the screen, a video player paints a picturesque depiction of the once serene countryside, now under the iron grip of a totalitarian regime known as Oceania. This entity stands as one of the three dominant powers in the dystopian world of 1984, exercising control over the Americas, Britain, Australia, and certain regions of Africa.
In this unsettling scene, we are introduced to the ominous figure of Big Brother and a dissident named Goldstein, who endeavors to awaken the people of Oceania to the deception surrounding them. However, despite the undeniable truth embedded within his words, his voice is swiftly drowned out by a cacophony of shouts emanating from the audience.
The citizens of Oceania have been thoroughly conditioned by the ruling party, known as Insoc, to vehemently reject any semblance of truth, to the extent that they refuse to entertain it altogether. Throughout the demonstration, the distinctive Insoc salute is prominently displayed, a gesture reminiscent of the oppressive practices adopted by historical totalitarian regimes.
As the propaganda video reaches its crescendo, the crowd is subdued by the potent symbol of Insoc, accompanied by the imposing visage of Big Brother.
Following this spectacle, we are introduced to our protagonist, Winston Smith, who toils away in a cramped office cubicle within the Ministry of Truth. His labor involves the manipulation of historical records, skillfully editing past broadcasts to align with the current state-sanctioned narrative. If the sugar ration has decreased compared to the previous year, Winston meticulously alters last year's publications to falsely indicate an increase instead.
Once his arduous day's work concludes, Winston retreats to his humble abode, only to be met with the incessant barrage of propaganda permeating his living quarters. This time, the propagandistic content revolves around the public shaming of an individual who has fallen under the sway of Goldstein's influence. The man stands accused of attempting to persuade the masses that their perpetual enemy is not Eurasia but, in fact, East Asia.
The control and manipulation of information form the very core of Big Brother's dominion over the populace. Over time, the ruling party has skillfully molded and rewritten reality to suit its own purposes.
Winston, in his pivotal role, becomes an integral part of this process. However, this engenders inherent contradictions, which are addressed through the concept of Doublethink. Doublethink involves the ability to wholeheartedly believe in two contradictory facts simultaneously.
One such example presented in the novel is the paradoxical acceptance that the party embodies democracy while also deeming democracy to be an unattainable ideal. It is through this mechanism that the party fabricates an alternate reality, effectively replacing truth with an intricate illusion of their own construction.
This pervasive and all-encompassing falsehood stands as the bedrock of the dystopian society depicted in 1984, preserving the party's stranglehold over the minds of its citizens.
The notion that reality is shaped by collective belief is a fundamental aspect explored in Orwell's work. However, this concept of a world constructed upon fiction is not solely attributed to Orwell's imagination. It finds roots in historical observations spanning centuries.
Plato, the ancient philosopher, was among the first to articulate this idea. Millennia ago, he delved into the concept known as the "noble lie." According to Plato, societies could establish a cohesive social order by embracing a shared belief in a fictional narrative that elucidates the origins of their society. The specific details of this narrative are of secondary importance, as long as they provide justification for the prevailing social structure. By adhering to this noble lie, individuals find a reason to accept the existing state of affairs, even if it entails perceiving their fellow humans as superior or inferior based on arbitrary criteria.
Remarkably, traces of this phenomenon persist in our modern world, where our contemporary rendition of Big Brother often espouses one message while concealing a different intent. This dissonance between words and actions serves as a reminder of the enduring relevance of Orwell's insights and the enduring nature of societies constructed upon intricate webs of deception.
The Habitus and the Contradictions of Power
In a world where the establishment media, politicians, the European Union, and influential organizations like the World Economic Forum (WEF) proclaim their commitment to freedom and free speech, a stark contradiction emerges. Behind their facade of championing these values, they employ various tactics to suppress and silence any criticism or dissent.
Countless examples abound, exposing the dissonance between their claims and actions. Take, for instance, when the most corpulent and unhealthiest politicians present themselves as advocates for promoting well-being. Such blatant hypocrisy unveils the manipulative nature that pervades the corridors of power.
This phenomenon, however, is not isolated but rather a pervasive characteristic of our societal institutions. As people awaken to this reality, they recognize that the very foundations upon which society is built rely on a necessary fiction—a collective delusion known as the habitus.
The habitus acts as a metaphorical veil that shrouds our understanding of society, obscuring its true nature. It goes beyond the concept of the noble lie, delving much deeper into the core of our existence.
Throughout our lives, our perspectives, and behaviors are shaped by the environment in which we find ourselves and the interactions we have with others. The habitus is the sum of these influences, molding our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, often without our conscious awareness.
Yet, as we begin to see through this veil, society starts to reveal itself in a new light. We become aware of the subtle mechanisms of control and manipulation that permeate our institutions, influencing our thoughts and actions. The habitus serves as a framework through which we can interpret and navigate the complexities of the social world.
In this paradigm, we confront the dissonance between the professed values of freedom and free speech and the reality of suppression and censorship. The habitus challenges us to question the intentions and motivations of those in power, encouraging us to seek truth and challenge the status quo.
As we unravel the layers of the habitus, we gain insight into the power dynamics at play, enabling us to reclaim our autonomy and critically engage with the world around us. It is through this process of awakening that we can forge a path toward genuine freedom, untethered by the illusions and manipulations that seek to control us.
In this journey of self-discovery, we begin to recognize the profound influence of our environment and interactions. We become active participants in shaping the society we inhabit, breaking free from the grip of institutionalized falsehoods and charting a course toward a more authentic and liberated existence.
The interplay between your personality and external influences shapes your perception of the world, contributing to the formation of your worldview.
Through this process, you internalize and embrace the habitus. The habitus is a product of socialization, transmitted from authorities and disseminated throughout the populace. Its pervasive influence is reinforced by the consensus of those around you who also adhere to its constructs.
The habitus represents the social contract between individuals, their fellow human beings, and the governing institutions. It serves as the foundation upon which cultural norms, societal trends, and the rules of conduct are established. Its reach extends into every facet of life, permeating various aspects of society.
Our notions of beauty, values, and even the concepts of right and wrong are shaped by the ever-evolving habitus, influenced by our environment and the way people interact with one another.
In the world depicted in 1984, this habitus operates with profound distortion and decay. The upper echelons of power have fractured and deformed it, leading to its pervasive contamination throughout society. This systemic corruption has seeped into every facet of existence, engendering a chilling and disconcerting atmosphere within the narrative of 1984.
What sets 1984 apart and renders it more disquieting than conventional horror films is its unsettling plausibility. It feels alarmingly realistic because we possess an innate understanding of the potential trajectory of our own future. The current society we inhabit exists on a precipice, with a mere few steps separating us from the precipice of totalitarianism.
Orwell's intent in writing 1984 was to serve as a cautionary tale, to alert us to the looming dangers inherent in the erosion of personal freedoms and the encroachment of authoritarian rule. It serves as a stark reminder that the path to dystopia is not far-fetched, but rather uncomfortably close to our present reality.
The Erosion of Dissent: From Orwell's Inspiration to Present-Day Realities
As the narrative unfolds, we bear witness to the profound impact of the party's manipulation on both the habitus and society at large. We rejoin Winston, who finds himself in the solitude of his dilapidated apartment.
In this solitary moment, Winston introduces us to the concept of thought crime, a grave transgression that defies the established norms of the world, even in one's innermost musings. The mere act of contemplating rebellion is considered an act of rebellion itself, for it resides outside the boundaries of the party's constructed reality.
To enforce this strict control, the party employs the Thought Police, a clandestine organization that relies on informants, surveillance, and covert agents to identify anyone who dares to entertain subversive thoughts.
Amidst the incessant propaganda playing from the ubiquitous screen in the background, Winston dares to lift a brick from the confines of his dwelling, revealing a forbidden possession—a journal. In this journal, he pours his reflections, reminiscing about a bygone era when thoughts flowed freely, unshackled by the repressive grip of the party's ideology.
In Winston's introspection, he longs for a time when minds were not subject to the control of Big Brother and the Thought Police. Even his reminiscences make him a thought criminal, as the act of remembering itself is an act of defiance against the party's imposed reality.
The following day, Winston is compelled to engage in a mandatory exercise routine in front of his television, where he is singled out for his inadequate performance. With a half-hearted wave of the Ingsoc hand signal, he proceeds to make his way to work.
During his lunch break, the incessant propaganda on the television fills the room. However, what captures Winston's attention is a young woman who seems to be staring directly at him. He takes his seat and begins to eat his meal, when one of his colleagues comments on the recently shortened dictionary, praising the perceived positivity of word destruction.
This abbreviated language, called Newspeak, is an invention of the party. It aims to reduce English to its most basic elements, removing controversial words from existence. By eradicating such words, the party seeks to make rebellion conceptually impossible. If the words themselves cease to exist, then the very notion of rebellion cannot even be contemplated within the constraints of Newspeak.
Back at his workplace, Winston diligently carries out his duties at the Ministry of Truth, this time engaging in the unsettling task of “unpersonning” an individual. To unperson someone is to effectively erase them from history, replacing their existence with that of someone else.
This particular aspect of 1984 draws direct inspiration from autocratic regimes of the past, with Orwell specifically alluding to the practices of Stalin's dictatorship. In Stalinist Russia, enemies of the state were not only executed but also subjected to a comprehensive eradication. Every mention of their name and even their image in photographs was expunged, effectively erasing them from the annals of history.
Unfortunately, this practice has not faded into obscurity. The Chinese government, for instance, has become notorious for “disappearing” individuals they deem unfavorable. A prominent example is Jack Ma, the CEO of Alibaba, who seemingly vanished from public view after providing economic suggestions that challenged the power held by the Chinese Communist Party. Presently, Ma resides in exile under constant surveillance, effectively erased from the public eye.
Moreover, such practices are not exclusive to China, but are increasingly prevalent across Western societies as well. When individuals dare to voice dissent against the established agenda of Western governments, they often face censorship and are subjected to bullying tactics that seek to silence them. The eradication of opposing voices in the West is a disturbing trend, echoing the themes and warnings presented in Orwell's 1984.
Julian Assange and Edward Snowden shedding light on government actions or individuals being subjected to cancel culture for discussing Covid-19 and its origins, reflect the concerning reality of thought crimes in our current society. Anything deemed contrary to accepted narratives can result in immediate cancellation.
Furthermore, the infiltration and collaboration between government intelligence agencies and major social media platforms, such as the FBI's involvement, has become apparent. With control over platforms like Facebook, the ability to censor undesirable narratives, engage in shadow-banning, or completely remove individuals from these sites becomes a reality.
It is not limited to social media companies alone; even corporations like Uber, PayPal, and Airbnb have the power to ban individuals based on their expressed opinions online. This expansion of influence into private sectors heightens concerns regarding freedom of expression.
Meanwhile, in China, their notorious social credit system prevails. This system assigns individuals a personal score based on their perceived trustworthiness, according to the Chinese government. It further emphasizes the extent to which governments can exert control and surveillance over their citizens.
In China's social credit system, certain actions can boost an individual's score, such as posting social media content that praises the government. Conversely, engaging in activities like accruing debt, excessive video game purchases, reading the Bible, or criticizing the government can result in deductions from one's score. When an individual's score falls too low, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) severely curtails their already limited freedoms.
People with low scores may encounter difficulties purchasing train or plane tickets. In some cases, individuals have even had their pets taken away, while others have been denied access to higher education due to their parents' low scores.
Currently, the social credit system is being implemented by regional governments, but its expansion across the entire nation appears imminent. Recent laws have been enacted to pave the way for a nationwide social credit system, indicating that its full implementation is just a few years away.
The situation in China has escalated to the extent that a new law has been passed, restricting farmers from planting crops that are not approved by the government. Additionally, the personal cultivation of vegetables such as beans, melons, and squashes in front or backyard
spaces is now strictly prohibited.
These developments in China highlight the profound intrusion of state control into various aspects of individuals' lives, reflecting the worrisome implications of an expanding social credit system.
In the Western world, we are witnessing a gradual progression towards increasing repression, echoing the very concerns that George Orwell feared.
Want more? I have 10k more words than the 3000 you just read on this matter alone!
Unlock a Wealth of Insights: Gain Full Access to this Exclusive Article and Others by Subscribing to My Premium Membership.
Your support as a paid subscriber enables me to continue producing high-quality, independent journalism on this important topics. As an ad-free platform, I rely on the support of my readers to keep this content accessible and free from external influence.