Framing the Dialogue

1984

1984It had been quite a few years since I read George Orwell’s novel about the future and at time 1984 was the future.  Here we are 25 years past and I was compelled to read Nineteen Eighty-Four again as there seemed to be too many parallels to what is happening in America.  I am not suggesting that we have gotten to the same place as Orwell’s Oceana, but a number of recent events had a somewhat chilling effect on me.

If you are one of the few people who have not read Nineteen Eighty-Four, it takes place in a world where everything is controlled by the Inner Party and Big Brother.  Big Brother knows all, sees all, and is always right and has the resources to enforce the rules.  I know that it might be difficult, but try to imagine a society where the leader’s image was everywhere all of the time.  Every time you picked up a paper, turned on the radio or television, there he was over and over again.  Brrrr.

Imagine a society where the news media seems to be controlled or at least in bed with the party leadership with daily conference calls and talking points.

Imagine a world where children are indoctrinated by the inner party and asked to write about how to serve Big Brother and compelled by celebrities to pledge allegience  to our President rather than to our country.

Imagine a society where neighbors are asked to report on neighbors who express an opinion differing from Big Brother and the ruling party…or the ruling party entering your households to send you an unsolicited message.

Imagine a society where Big Brother could shut down communications in the “event of an emergency.” 

Of course none of this could happen in America.  We have that Constitution that protects us!

Here are a few excerpts from Nineteen Eighty-Four for you to ponder:

“Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying.  It was merely a few words of encouragement, the sort of words that are uttered in the din of battle, not distinguishable individually but restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken.”

1984-social-classes“A few agents of the Thought Police moved always among them, spreading false rumors and marking down and eliminating the few individuals  who were judged capable of becoming dangerous…all that was required of them [proles or underclass] was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working hours or shorter rations.”

“It had long been realized that the only secure basis for oligarchy is collectivism.  Wealth and privilege are most easily defended when they are posssessed jointly.  the so-called ‘abolition of private property’ which took place…the concentration of property in far fewer hands than before; but with this difference, that the new owners were a group instead of a mass of individuals.”

“But stupidity is not enough.  On the contrary, orthodoxy in the full sense demands a control over one’s own mental processes as complete as that of a contortionist over his body.  Oceanic society rests ultimately on the belief that Big Brother is omnipotent and that the party is infallible.  But since in reality Big Brother is not omnipotent and the Party is not infallible, there is need for an unwearying, moment-to-moment flexibility in the treatment of facts.”

It is not time to sound the alarm, but it is time to wake up America.

2 CommentsLeave one

  1. We - Framing the Dialogue says:

    […] what first struck me was the similarity to George Orwell’s novel 1984.  I had recently reread 1984 and this novel, written by Yevgeny Zamyatin and translated by Natasha […]

Leave a comment

Use basic HTML (<a href="">, <strong>, <blockquote>)