George Orwell 1984

Review :

WAR IS PEACE.

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

Those words keep sounding in my head since I read this book. Gosh, probably the most haunting not to mention frightening book I've ever read. 1984 should also be included in the horror genre.

1984 describes a Utopia. Not Thomas More's version of Utopia, but this is one is the antithesis, i.e. Dystopia. Imagine living in a country, whose leaders apply a totalitarian system in regulating their citizen, in the most extreme ways, which make Hitler, Mao, Stalin and that old bloke in V for Vendetta look like sissies.

Working, eating, drinking, sleeping, talking, thinking, procreating...in short living, all are controlled by the state. Any hint of obedience or dislike can be detected by various state apparatus such as the Thought Police, telescreen, or even your children, who will not hesitate to betray you to the authorities. Even language is modified in such ways that you cannot express yourself, since individualism is a crime.

The past is controlled, rewritten into something that will strengthen the incumbent ruler. Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past. There is no real truth. The "truth" is what the state says it is. Black is white, 2+2=5, if the state says so.

The world in 1984 is divided into three states, originated from the ashes from World War II: Oceania (British Isles, the Americas, Pacific, Australia), Eurasia (Europe & Russia), and Eastasia (the rest of it). Continuous warfare between those three (who hold similar ideologies) is required to keep the society's order and peace. Si vis pacem para bellum. That's describes the first slogan.

The second slogan, freedom is slavery, means the only way to be free is by letting you lose yourself and to be integrated within the Party. That way, you'll be indestructible and immortal.

Ignorance is strength, means the division on high, middle, low classes in society will never be changed. The middle wants to be the high and they'll act "on behalf of the low" to dethrone the high. Afterwards, a new middle class arises, all will change except the low. The high and middle make and uphold the law, the low (proletarian) is just too stupid to revolt. The state maintains its structure by torture, intimidation, violence, and brainwashing.

Blimey, Orwell's Animal Farm is already depressing, but 1984 gives "depression" a new meaning, at least for me.


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