George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is arguably one of the best books of its time. This book can be seen as a sort of warning flag to the world about creating a dystopian civilization that has the facade of a utopian society.
1984 contains probably what is the prime example of dystopia and highlights some of the real-world issues that still exist today. One example of the dystopian world in the book, people are always under surveillance by a “telescreen” or are being constantly watched by the so called “thought police”.
Most people I have observed on their laptops appear to cover up their cameras. How poor must the quality of privacy be for a large majority of society to distrust a product that they do their business on, bills, banking and so forth. Almost everyone tends to have a smartphone of some sort with access to a camera 24/7 and yet few people have these covered up. Smartphones would be just as easy to hack as the camera on your laptop if not easier, in my opinion. However, with social media like Snapchat, Instagram etc. One probably doesn’t even need to access your cameras in order to discover private information. This is because people take endless photos of where they are and what they are doing, also in those photos there can be people in the background. So in a way, everyone is already under constant surveillance even if they do not have a phone!
The slogan from 1984 “WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.” appears to be filled with contradictory statements at first glance. Perhaps though it is possible for these comparisons to be closer related than they appear originally. “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY,” might be the easiest statement to draw similarities from. Let us look at the definition of freedom from the dictionary. “Freedom: the power to think, speak, or act without restrictions, or hinderances.” There are things people are not allowed to do and things we are not allowed to say without facing consequences or scrutiny. This hardly sounds like freedom. People must obey laws, pay taxes and serve “the man” in order to make a decent living in our society. We are slaves to the everyday luxuries we seek to maintain. Hence, “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.”
“IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH,” is a tricky concept to understand. We are often taught to not question things which challenge certain beliefs. We are often taught to turn a blind eye to subjects and situations that can be considered uncomfortable or taboo. People too often become familiar with taking the easy answers instead of considering whether the material is true or not. How often do you fact check your sources? When was the last time you looked on anything other than the first page of Google for a solution to an issue? Many of us take the fastest route possible without ever considering “Is this really true?” Some articles will try to back up their claims with a phrase “a study done by blank has shown blank”. More often than not when trying to find these “studies” used by articles, I find they don’t seem to hold much academic weight. The last statement “WAR IS PEACE,” I will leave you to figure out on your own.
There are countless ideas and symbolic meanings in 1984 that could make for a week-long topic. It is similar to the work of Nietzsche in the sense that each sentence is so dense with thought and material that they need a significant amount of time to be digested. Revolutionize the way you view the world by reading the work of Orwell.