VIDEO: [The School of Life] LITERATURE – George Orwell. [Nov 25, 2016]
It had been at least 25 years. Most of what I remembered seemed to be fragments of quotes and cliches my brain had absorbed from internet articles and pop culture. Truth be told, I had always been more partial to Brave New World. Perhaps because Huxley’s dystopia had always seemed lighter and less malevolent. Less gritty.
I’m not sure which book I prefer now, but I will say reading 1984 today was a very different experience. To a teenage mind, 1984 is basically an allegorical prophecy of the modern police state. Big Brother is watching. Telescreens are everywhere. Children spy on their parents and report them to Thought Police.
I don’t mean to diminish these themes. Orwell, a one-time socialist who soured on its ideology once he got a good look at it, was prescient to observe how totalitarian surveillance states would operate. (Bear in mind, 1984 was published two years before the Stasi was formed.)
What impressed me reading 1984 today was Orwell’s grasp of the philosophy behind Big Brother, or, rather, its lack of philosophy (beyond Nihilism). Truth, we see, does not exist in Oceania, the totalitarian nation-state that serves as the setting of 1984.
The absence of truth is shown at various times in various ways, but it most famously is depicted when Winston Smith, the book’s protagonist, reflects that it’s only a matter of time before the Party would insist that two plus two makes five.
This article continues at [Intellectual Takeout] The startling rediscovery George Orwell’s prophetic accuracy