Orwell’s dystopian society in which they lived.
Orwell’s1984 describes a totalitarian government and methods used by them to gaincontrol of the populace.
I am going to discuss how 1984 describes populace ofthe Outer Party and the Proles helped to maintain the dystopian society inwhich they lived. I would also talk about what Slouka, Atkinsson and Marquez wouldsuggest on how to avoid these problems. Orwell’s book largely describes thegreat divide between the inner party members and others. The others consist ofProles and the Outer Party members. The inner party members live a life ofluxury whereas the others suffer in poverty. How do these people maintain thedystopian society? The populace of the outer party are kept constantly underwatch by installing telescreens in their houses.
There were also police patrolssnooping into people’s windows. Their thoughts are monitored too by theThoughtpolice. Every aspect of their lives are always watched.
They areactually helpless to get out of their situation. Even a thought of rebellion wouldget caught by the thoughtpolice and then they die. Their death is so completethat their records are erased too. Sometimes they are released back intosociety but they are changed people, their spirit broken and their loyalty isonly and only to Big Brother. The proles live in utter poverty. They functionto work and procreate.
The party keeps them in check by providing thementertainment in the form of songs, novels and pornography, written bymachines. The thoughtpolice do keep an eye on them. Any individual theyconsider problematic is taken care of by them permanently. This way the Party’shold on the others is complete. (Orwell, 2008/1949). Mark Slouka,in his article “Dehumanised” writes about how Math and Science have taken precedenceover humanities studies. He states this state of neglect of humanities couldspell the demise of “Democracy” (Slouka, 2009. p.
38). Slouka clearly stateseducation is to teach people, not tasks; to participate in the complex andinfinitely worthwhile labor of forming citizens, men and women capable offurthering what’s best about us and forestalling what’s worst. It is onlysecondarily—one might say incidentally— about producing workers (Slouka, 2009. p.34). Slouka states how people are going more towards a totalitarian regime byskipping humanities altogether. He clearly understands how important it is thatwe have humanities as one of the major subjects as well.
“This “deep” civic function of the humanities, not easily reducible tothe politics of left or right but politically combustible nonetheless, issomething understood very well by totalitarian societies, which tend to keepclose tabs on them, and to circumscribe them in direct proportion to howstringently the population is controlled. This should neither surprise nor comfortus. Why would a repressive regime support a force superbly designed to resistit? Rein in the humanities effectively enough—whether through active repression,fiscal starvation, or linguistic marginalization— and you create a space, anopportunity. Dogma adores a vacuum.
” (Slouka, 2009. p. 38). Slouka’s viewsare clear on this subject. To avoid a totalitarian society, include humanities asan equal subject to math and science. To create more opportunities for Arts andHumanities. It is equally important today to have clear thinking and therebyhave, perhaps, some political efficacy. These traits are strengthened bystudying Arts and Humanities.
It broadens our mind to issues going on in today’ssociety. It helps people understand “democracy”. If kids today learn to thinkclearly at a younger age, it is easier for them to understand that the worldtomorrow.
It would be far easier to avoid a totalitarian government with moreunderstanding and clear thinking youth as opposed to Math and Science brainswhich might not be as wise. “In a visibleworld, the invisible does not compute; in a corporate culture, hypnotized byquarterly results and profit margins, the gradual sifting of politicalsentiment is of no value; in a horizontal world of “information” readilyconvertible to product, the verticality of wisdom has no place.” (Slouka,2009. p. 32). His message is clear to avoid a future like in “1984” create moreopportunities for Arts and Humanities. Pave a way for wiser youth over just creatingemployees. For aTotalitarian regime to work efficiently one of their major tool is media.
Mediais consumed by the population in print form or TV’s or Radio’s. It is a verypowerful tool to have to manipulate the masses. In Orwell’s “1984”, thecharacter Winston’s job was, in the Record’s Department of the Ministry ofTruth. His main job was to change history as per his party’s needs.
“As soon as all the corrections whichhappened to be necessary in any particular number of ‘The Times’ had beenassembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copydestroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. Thisprocess of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but tobooks, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks,cartoons, photographs — to every kind of literature or documentation whichmight conceivably hold any political or ideological significance.” (Orwell,2008/1949. p. 42-43). This shows in Orwell’s “1984” all news was manipulatedand changed as per the requirement of the day. People who did not exist wereadded into the records. For example, Winston creates a war hero, CaptainOgilvy, who has led an “ideal” life and was killed in battle to bepublished as news.
The whole purpose is to encourage people to live as per BigBrother’s ideal. In the Video Attkisson, S. (2015), Ali Velshi a well-knownjournalist states how news in today’s world is spread. He states how politicalparties can and do manipulate news. His example is, how 17 different USIntelligence Agencies believed that Russia hacked into the Presidential Electionswith the aim to support Donald Trump.
But as it happens the president did notbelieve it and neither did 80% of his followers. On the other hand, there was arumor that Hilary Clinton was running a child sex slavery ring out of the basementof a suburban DC pizza parlor, 50% of Trump’s followers believed it. There wasone guy who went in armed and shot 3 bullets. He was honestly surprised to seeno slave ring and not even a basement.
The point is the power a political partyhas to substantiate a news whether true or not. Ali Velshi’s suggestion toavoid succumbing to fake news on media, is to check the veracity of news and tonot just take it at face value. He suggests to trust mainstream media more thanan unverified source. Verify with atleast two sources who state the same thing.
Or one source which is highly placed. We should not spread any news beforeverifying it. One of the ways in which a totalitarian government can be avoidedis for the masses to be very aware of news being spread, do not spreadsomething which you feel is right or are not aware is a fake.
Cross referenceall news before you spread it. Be vigilant. (Attkisson, S. 2015).”A very oldman with enormous wings” is a short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
His storyis about an old man who washed up to the beach where Pelayo lived. The frailold man was different because he had wings. He was treated like a circus freak.
The village people and all the people who came to see him from far awayconsidered him a freak and had absolute no compassion towards him. He spoke alanguage which the priest Father Gonzaga did not understand. The Father thenthought he was much too human and did not understand Latin (which is consideredthe language of god).
According to the Father’s understanding the old manfailed to measure up the angel’s proud dignity. (Marquez, G.G, 1955) A preconceivednotion about people is what creates differences among us. A totalitarian regimewould seek out people who are of a different race than what is considered pure,different skin color, sexual orientation, gender, religion, etc. and create adivide. Wars are started, people are killed in every part of the world becauseof any of the above reasons. Hate is spreading. Today people think it is okayto bully someone who is different.
They lack empathy. Marquez would suggest to stop spreading hatebecause someone looks different or speaks a different dialect does not meanthey are not living creatures. They deserve respect and above all compassion. Ifwe as a race of human beings would stop hate and spread love, war wouldn’thappen. Whatever be our sex, race, color, national origin or religion we areall humans. We need to respect life. In Marquez’s story a single story about anangel was believed where they are gorgeous, majestic beings. No one was willingto look beyond that single story.
Same way today people believe “All Muslimsare Terrorists”. No one wants to examine these words. It creates fear to thinkan entire religion could be terrorists in disguise.
Marquez would suggests lookbeyond the single story, it is not feasible that every Muslim man woman andchild is a terrorist. Do not commit murder because something scares you. Marquez’ssuggestion would be if every human being would view the world with compassionand love there would be no room for hate or war or destruction. There would notbe a totalitarian government in power brain washing people and spreading hate. Afterreading “1984” today’s world unnerves me. We are heading exactly towards afuture which does look a lot like “1984”. We must work collectively to avoidexactly that.
Our freedom must be guarded. “Freedom of speech” and “Freedom ofthought” are essential to our existence as a free people. There is a saying “Absolutepower corrupts” therefore no party should hold that absolute power and hence democracyis as important. We should have the freedom to question our leaders on rightand wrong. We need to verify all news that is given to us rather than spreadfear and hate because of lies told to us by those in power. Leaders should beheld accountable.
People should not live in fear if they do not conform to acertain religion, color, race or gender. In today’s world where social media isat the very center of our lives, it is very easy to spread hate at the click ofa button. It is becoming far easier for political parties to manipulate peoplethrough fake news stories. We need to be vigilant.
Compassion begets equalityamong people. It is very important in a democratic society that there be equality.No political party can rule over people who are all equals and unanimous. Weshould not be afraid of the ruling party.
We should all feel empowered in thelives we live. In summation, today were are not that far from going into atotalitarian society. We are bogged down by our own insecurities about terrorismand war. We need to apply the above suggestions as a society to avoidsuccumbing to our fears and give-in to any ruling party control over our lives.