“Nineteen Eighty Four” – George Orwell

5 Nov

No blog about books could be complete without a post about George Orwell’s scary distopian future perspective.  If I searched the net, I’m sure I’d find hundreds or thousands of articles on “1984”.

SPOILER ALERT: please note that this post does reveal some details of the story (although there is also a considerable amount of the story that is not revealed here).

The final page of the novel is – to me – perhaps the most memorable section. At the end, Winston has been put through all manner of torture, as well as threats of torture to force him to betray his lover, and yet he is actually happy. Really happy!  “He had won the battle with himself: he loved Big Brother!”  Aren’t we all this way with views we know (deep down) to be uncertain?  We’re happier if we follow the crowd or at least a crowd (e.g. a fringe political group), and we ignore data or facts that contradict the views of that crowd. Of course, Winston’s situation is an extreme case but the principle is still true. He knows the Party, as represented by Big Brother, is all about lies and cruelty, yet he has forced this knowledge from his mind in order to love Big Brother.

And how did the Party manage that? By taking away his other love: by forcing him to betray her, he cannot love her. And as everyone needs to belong to a group or at the very least to be connected to another person, then without her, love of Big Brother fills the need. So he ignores the blatant evidence that Big Brother and the Party are in fact harsh and cruel liars. Less extreme examples could be found in all of us, I’m sure. It may be uncomfortable to admit it, but when you really look into a strongly held political view shared by your peer group or your wider society, you will very likely find flaws in it. But you’re happier if you ignore the doubts and go on believing your view to be rock-solid. And I really think this could apply to almost any view whatsoever: there’s very little, if anything, that is completely certain.

Personally I hold some views on certain issues that go against widely accepted views in society. I hold these views because of evidence yet it can still be uncomfortable to disagree with people, especially those I’m close to. I could be happier by ignoring evidence and just following the crowd rather than having confrontational discussions; but then I’d be happy like Winston! Of course I can have doubts about my own views also – nothing is really certain!  So I try to keep an open mind but it’s not always easy. Sometimes a decision is needed.

As Rene Descartes said “In practical life it is sometimes necessary to follow opinions which one knows to be quite uncertain, just as one would if they were indubitable”. In case it’s of any interest, that quote comes from Part Four of “The Discourse” and is shortly before the famous “I think, therefore I am” quote.

I would just like to use this post to mention my own debut novel that is now over half-way through and should be due for release probably 2016.  Like “1984” it is on the subject of mind-control and brainwashing.  Further updates to follow – WATCH THIS SPACE! For more on “1984”, check out this post written by fellow blogger Katie:

Also readers should check out this post on the subject of opinions, by another fellow blogger: http://beingcreativebc.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/so-you-have-an-opinion/#more-363

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23 Responses to ““Nineteen Eighty Four” – George Orwell”

  1. Christine Jenkins November 7, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    But how much did Winston love Julia … or she him? I don’t find their love very convincing, I can’t see much mutual knowledge or affection really … not enough to resist betraying each other anyway. Their affair seems to be more an expression of political rebellion on Winston’s part and just physical sex on Julia’s. It is significant too chthat Julia apparently betrays Winston quite early on after her arrest.

    • Jenkins1974 November 10, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

      It depends on the definition of love, I suppose. Winston certainly becomes far happier during the affair with Julia, perhaps largely because he finds a release from the stifled existence under the Party. Also he realises that the only way to save himself from his worst fear is by betraying her – the Party have to use his worst ever fear to make him betray her because it is the thing he least wants to do.

  2. shuart24 November 19, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    What evidence? The world exists only in the mind, and Big Brother controls the mind. 🙂

    In all seriousness, hate and love are actually aspects of the same emotion. In Newspeak we could say that hate is unlove, or that love is unhate. Perhaps lovehate? Either way, our word for this emotion is “Passion.” Winston’s hate for the party is his dominant emotion, far surpassing his feelings for Julia. Thus, his love for the party is also stronger.

    For more on this argument, refer to the analysis on 1984 posted on my blog.

    • 5i5i December 11, 2013 at 3:38 am #

      “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” –Friedrich Nietzsche

  3. Cristian Mihai April 23, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    Reblogged this on Cristian Mihai.

  4. teeceecounsel April 23, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    Very well written!
    I’ve developed a new love for 1984.
    It’s good to know that you are working on something new and unique.

    • Jenkins1974 April 23, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

      Thank you very much! I shall have a look at your blog too

  5. ADEWUYI 47 OKE April 23, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

    Nicely done. Its kinda strange that I’m yet to read 1984

  6. elmcal April 23, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    This is absolutely one of my favourite books even though I haven’t read it yet. I love the plot and what I know about the characters. It’s definitely on my reading list. 🙂 Good post!

  7. Srishti Sood April 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    People need affiliation. Being disapproved is seen as social rejection. I agree with what you wrote. I love the book because of Doublethink and how much I’ve seen it around me. George Orwell was indeed ahead of his times.

  8. heatherparady April 23, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

    How exciting! Looking forward to its release!

    • Jenkins1974 April 24, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

      Thanks Heather! Watch this blog for more details…

  9. Meanie Mouse April 23, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

    Reblogged this on The Songbird.

    • Jenkins1974 April 24, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

      Thank you for re-blogging, Meanie Mouse!

  10. blueribbonfair April 23, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

    I remember in the 70’s when this book scared me, being slightly paranoid . I never read it, but had heard of it even before having the internet.

  11. Mr. Wapojif April 24, 2014 at 12:20 am #

    A great novel indeed. I’m going to see a play adaptation down in London next month. Very much looking forward to it, one is.

  12. Luis Hidalgo G. April 24, 2014 at 12:38 am #

    Reblogged this on Luis Hidalgo.

  13. claudenougat April 24, 2014 at 12:57 am #

    Fascinating re-evocation of one of my absolute all time favorite books. I read it many years ago and had forgotten most of it, but the Big Brother paradigm has stayed with me all my life. I’m looking forward to your book! This is the kind of science fiction that I really like, the kind that raises fundamental questions (and I hope that’s the kind of book I write too…)

    • Jenkins1974 April 24, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

      Thank you very much for your comments Claude! I agree that some of the best fiction is that which asks fundamental questions, as you say (and has a good attempt at providing potential answers to them).

      You mention that you’re writing a book – what’s that about?

  14. makagutu April 24, 2014 at 3:11 am #

    I need to read this book a second time.

  15. Athena OfAthens April 24, 2014 at 4:33 am #

    See how we, the people, have been duped again? America will not play out as it did in Orwell’s ‘1984’, but instead we are already half-way into Aldous Huxley’s, “Brave New World”.

    And I don’t know which is scarier.

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