George Orwells 1984 in Today’s Tech-Driven Conformity
Surveillance State: Modern Parallels to Orwell’s Vision
Can you imagine a controlled society with a telescreen merely watching us every single day, with no personal privacy and no personal freedom? 1984, written by George Orwell and published on June 8, 1949, is a unique novel no human would ever believe would come true. Unfortunately, ill Mr. Orwell was right; this chaotic world is inevitably becoming a nightmarish vision, a division of political factions, and, worst of all, ignorance. I selected this book because George Orwell wanted to caution us about the future, and the significance it has is so impactful that many of us take for granted his warning about technology, the concept of “Newspeak,” and the conformity that has taken over.
To start off, new technology has brought a lot of change to our world, and we have become too attached to our devices or telescreens because they mean the same exact thing. For instance, our personal cell phones are certainly telescreens, laptops, and cameras. In my opinion, somewhere, somehow, the Government is observing us because our own devices can track, record, and are connected to a satellite. Worst of all, with technology being such a possession, the phrase “Big Brother is watching you” does exist.
Order your custom essay on
For instance, China, Beijing. In Beijing, the Government installed cameras on every corner of the street. Yes, it does decrease the rate of stealing and viciously murdering; However, does it by force lower the rates of chaos? In my opinion, it does not. The reason Is the fact that we are no longer working towards our peace but craving for our freedom. That is why some parts of China and Beijing are referred to as “Big Brother is watching you.” And I do believe sooner or later, it will spread to more countries.
Conformity’s Grip: Echoes of “1984” in Modern Sociopolitical Divisions
This brings me to my next topic. Another point is we repeat history, and that’s the frightening part. Conformity has consistently been a huge concept talked about among others of whether we all experience that behavior or not. I believe we do, and Orwell uses that to illustrate the factions of the Ministry of Peace, Ministry of Love, Law and Order, and Plenty. (4; Ch. 1) To be more specific, the whole society is determined to be in a party, except Winston, who complains or denies their division of parties and the language of Newspeak.
Depicting it from our world, it is remarkably similar to what our society has come to be with politics. We divide ourselves into various factions and listen to the Government to not generate attention to one another. I believe that just because the other person acquires certain beliefs about something does not mean the other person has to retain it. In addition, George Orwell presents ideas like “Newspeak” and “Doublethink” to demonstrate how conformity plays a huge role in it. Newspeak represents a language the author used for Oceania to speak.
This language represents a way to process in short ways. For instance, “Minitrue was the Ministry of Truth. The reason I believe it is significant to depict Is that, as of today, we use a similar context. For instance, when we text, we implement the abbreviation. Brb (be right back) and so on. As a matter of fact, Winston, the protagonist, knows that the language Newspeak remains a way to dominate people’s thoughts, and that is what makes his character so important because we all know in the end that the Government torturing and conditioning him he gave up and ended up falling for the language and Big Brother.
Internal Struggles: Instinct, Doublethink, and Orwell’s Dire Warning
Moreover, In the novel, something that captivated my attention was that the word “Instinct” was used repeatedly, and, in my opinion, it portrayed a little bit of Winston’s character. The word instinct Is implemented frequently for survival, and in reality, all Winston was doing was to survive; he was in a controlled society, secretly disregarding the rules by cheating on his lost wife and not believing in Newspeak. Also, one of the essential points in 1984 is the phrase “Double Think,” which means to accept beliefs more than one at the same time, and somehow both are valid.
For example, in the novel, the author uses “Freedom is Slavery” or “War is Peace.” To put more thought into it, does freedom actually mean slavery? Or does war mean peace? We can interpret it in two ways: we can use it to declare our rights, or we can take advantage of it. Normally, our society views freedom as doing whatever you desire, and that’s where the disagreement comes and, worst of all, confrontations. To conclude, this is one of my favorite choice books; it is captivating and demonstrates so much significance to it.
What I got out of the book was George Orwell was trying to explain his point of view on the Government’s thought process, to explain that each of our minds can be affected. Nevertheless, something that caught my attention was a video of George Orwell on his deathbed declaring his last words to the world: he believed our world would become like 1984 if we didn’t make the change now. It is terrifying since he was merely delivering us a warning, and we disregarded it because, somehow, we keep repeating history.
- Orwell, George. “1984.” Published by Secker & Warburg, June 8, 1949.
- Goggin, Gerard, and Christopher Newell. “Digital disability: The social construction of disability in new media.” Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.
- Lyon, David. “Surveillance after September 11.” Polity, 2003.
- Orwell, George. “1984.” Part 1, Chapter 1.
- Hu, Mingyuan. “Sousveillance: Concept, Technologies and Applications in Ubiquitous Computing Environments.” Master’s thesis, University of Toronto, 2007.
- Solove, Daniel J. “Understanding privacy.” Harvard University Press, 2008.
- Rosen, Jeffrey. “The Unwanted Gaze: The Destruction of Privacy in America.” Random House, 2000.
- Boyd, Danah. “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.” Yale University Press, 2014.
- Fuchs, Christian. “Internet and society: Social theory in the information age.” Routledge, 2008.
- Zizek, Slavoj. “The courage of hopelessness: Chronicles of a year of acting dangerously.” Penguin, 2017.
- Shalizi, Cosma Rohilla. “In Soviet Union, Optimization Problem Solves You.” Blog post. December 11, 2007.
- Huxley, Aldous. “Brave New World.” Published by Chatto & Windus, 1932.
- Bakshy, Eytan, Solomon Messing, and Lada A. Adamic. “Exposure to ideologically diverse news and opinion on Facebook.” Science 348.6239 (2015): 1130-1132.
- Stammers, Neil. “1984: A Multitude of Prophecies.” The English Review, vol. 21, no. 3, 2011, pp. 6-9.
- Edgerton, David. “The shock of the old: Technology and global history since 1900.” Profile Books, 2007.