About a week ago, I was speaking with an old college buddy. He was reminiscing about a time when we both read George Orwell’s 1984 (everybody was reading it at the time). He sent me a You Tube link to a
film version released in 1956. Link
In the classic novel, Orwell describes a then-not-too-distant future where an oppressive totalitarian elite has perfected a system of social control based on perpetual warfare, manipulation of perceived reality, and total surveillance of the population. The servile obedience of the bureaucracy and the mindless poverty of the masses keeps them in power. (MHP)
Saturday night, I watched the film. I was amazed at the parallels with today’s society. It’s here, Baby!
The story takes place in the aftermath of a devastating nuclear war. The action is happening in “Oceania”, one of the three blocs that evolved after the big war:
- Oceania consists of, basically the English-speaking world, plus Southern Africa and Latin America.
- Eurasia is, essentially, Western Europe (ex the UK) and the former Soviet Union.
- Eastasia is China, Korea, Japan and a few other parts of Asia.
The three are constantly at war with each other.
The remainder of the world is considered “disputed” and serves as places to exploit and excuses for the wars.
The State has been anthropomorphed into an anonymous, benevolent symbol who is the source of all benefits, lovingly called “Big Brother.
A website (Modern History Project) provides a short summary of key aspects of 1984’s society
These are the defining slogans of the Party, which are inscribed on the wall of the immense white pyramid that is the symbol of its hierarchical power:
War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength
War for the masses = Peace for the elite
The Ministry of Peace maintains the illusion of perpetual warfare to prevent the masses from uniting against
the system, and to keep them dependent upon the Party for "security". It is the pretext for more control and greater extortion, and serves to keep the masses impoverished. Each of the global power blocs operates under the same system of control. The so-called renegade leaders are merely puppets. With the masses divided by fear and living in poverty, the global oligarchs rule them undisturbed.
"The war is merely an imposture. The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is...to keep the structure of society intact. The primary aim of modern warfare is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living."
Slavery for the masses = Freedom for the elite
The Ministry of Plenty uses a system of fiat money, taxation and wage slavery to keep the masses fully
occupied at a minimal level of existence, with the illusion of being able to "get ahead" by striving harder. They are too concerned with their daily occupations to understand or organize effectively against the system of exploitation. While the masses slave away, the oligarchs enjoy wealth and freedom at their expense.
"An all-around increase in wealth threatened the destruction of a hierarchical society. If leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings…would become literate and would learn to think for themselves. They would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would
sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance."
Ignorance for the masses = Strength for the elite
The Ministry of Truth uses control over the education system and the communications media to keep the
masses in a state of ignorance and incapable of perceiving the facts of their manipulation. By controlling all sources of information, and playing one ignorant group off against the other, they ensure that effective opposition
does not arise. While the masses attempt to make sense of the false reality fed to them in the schools and on the telescreens, the elite manipulators that write the scripts laugh at their confusion.
"All the beliefs, habits, tastes, emotions, mental attitudes that characterize our time are really designed to...prevent the true nature of present-day society from being perceived. If the 'High' are to keep their places permanently, then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity."
Once you understand that this is all going on today, it is so easy to see the parallels. The Ministry of Truth is the Mainstream Media. The Hate is directed at Muslims, Saddam, Assad, etc. The Telescreen is the equivalent of computers and cell phones. (and now they have TVs that can watch you! ). There are perpetual wars so we always have someone at which to direct our hate. The doublespeak such as who is a Terrorist and who is a Freedom Fighter goes on. “Our” dictators are benign; the others are “brutal”. The NSA is “Big Brother”. The list goes on and on. We are living 1984 right now.