Before we get into the nitty gritty, lets remind ourselves of the plot:
Winston Smith lives in a totalitarian country called Oceania.
He works for the Ministry of Truth, which alters history and spreads public lies.
The realities of his existence in this society are:
Police patrols are everywhere.
The Thought Police rely on informants to report thought crimes, such as reading books on a variety of subjects, restrictions are abundant.
Big Brother, the Party’s leader, stares out of telescreens in every house and every street corner. The screens are two-way, promoting propaganda and also watching everyone within it’s scope.
Winston defies his totalitarian masters and has a love affair and he puts his rebellious thoughts in a diary.
He is found out and sent for punishment in Room 101.
He is tortured and broken, his love affair is over and his spirit is torn apart.
He is released to the outside world but he has nothing to do with his lover, or she with him.
He has accepted his lot and he now loves Big Brother!
In “1984”, the novel by George Orwell, the state has a total disregard for the will of the people, in fact in the novel, the people have NO will, period!
Now, here’s what has happened in the UK recently.
The people voted to leave the European Union in June of 2016.
Now, three and a half years later, the will of the people is still disregarded by the elite and our politicians.
They have blocked every attempt to execute the will of the British people.
The people’s vote is still up in the air and Britain is still in the EU!
Total disregard for the will of the people, just like in “1984”.
Looking at the predictions in the novel and the state of the world today, the novel got it right in many areas.
Lets look at the areas in which the novel got it right:
SURVEILLANCE–In “1984”, Big Brother is watching!
Telescreens and posters of Big Brother’s face are on every street and all public areas.
The telescreens broadcast government propaganda and they are two-way so they can spy on people.
TODAY–CCTV cameras are everywhere watching us going about our daily activities.
Stores and online shops gather data on you and your shopping habits.
Social media tracks our likes and dislikes and government and private individuals hack into our computers.
ENDLESS WAR–In “1984”, the war is used to keep people in a constant state of fear, the economy is always in wartime mode. The people turn aggressive toward their enemy.
TODAY–We have the “War on Terror” which is endless.
It keeps the populace in constant fear and they are suspicious of everyone.
Security is tight which suspends some of our liberties.
The war has restricted some of our freedom.
DOUBLETHINK–In “1984”, this is accepting two contradictory beliefs as correct, such as:
War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery and Ignorance is Strength.
The people are kept ignorant of the news by changing it and this keeps the Party strong.
TODAY–Some governments use such slogans to confuse the issues.
The Party censors all information. Just like the dictatorship in North Korea today.
NEWSPEAK–In “1984”, shortened versions of words are strung together to create new words.
This is used by the Party to limit the usefulness of language and to get rid of words that allow people to think and speak about rebellion.
TODAY–Texting creates new language components that affect communication and language comprehension.
Manipulating the language results in differences in understanding.
FAKE NEWS AND ALTERNATIVE FACTS–In “1984”, the telescreens emit continuous government propaganda, so the people believe only what the Party says.
The Ministry of Truth is continuously changing the news to suit the Party.
TODAY–Politicians manipulate people by spreading falsehoods.
Digital age Twitter spreads fake news. Things are talked about out of context. Some facts are completely made up.
ANTI-SEX LEAGUE–In “1984”, sex is used only as a mechanical function for procreation.
Love and the enjoyment of sex are forbidden by the Party.
To Winston his love affair was a political act of rebellion.
TODAY–There are organisations that promote abstinence or want to ban artificial birth control.
So, are we turning into a “1984” world?
In “1984”, Winston Smith is subjected to “behaviour modification”, in other words, torture, and in the end he likes his environment of oppression.
TODAY–it seems we are giving up many of our freedoms and privacy.
Fears over terrorism have imposed restrictions on us, like heightened security.
We have suspicions about everything!
Advances in technology have overwhelmed us to the extent we are always glued to our screens and some of the info we get is distorted.
People say: If you don’t have anything to hide, you have nothing to fear.
BUT, when government and private companies can monitor our phones, we have all become SUSPECTS!!!
There is probably NO turning back!
DO WE STAND ON THE BRINK OF A NEW DYSTOPIA?
ARE WE IN A POST-FACTUAL STATE?
Post-factual is when political stories replace facts and evidence as the basis for debate and policymaking.
It’s nothing new that politicians lie.
Politics has always been a somewhat dirty business with its fair share of deceit.
If the facts are politicised, you have post-factuality and potential totalitarianism.
If politics is reduced to only factual questions and “expert” solutions, you end up with technocracy.
Both extremes undermine democracy.
FASTEN YOUR SAFETY BELTS, IT’S GOING TO BE A FAST, FEARFUL AND FURIOUS RIDE!!!