Saturday, February 04, 2006

George Orwell -- Way Ahead of His Time

A couple of quotes from George Orwell's classic dystopian novel 1984 came to my attention recently, and I think they are worth repeating here:

There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted. You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.

* * * * *

The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought. There are therefore two great problems which the party is concerned to solve. One is to discover, against his will, what another human being is thinking, and the other is how to kill several hundred million people in a few seconds without giving warning beforehand.
Orwell was prescient beyond belief -- it's difficult to grasp at this late date that he actually wrote 1984 way back in the late 1940s. There are some notable differences, of course, between then and now, biggest among them that the Party has pretty much got that whole "kill several hundred million" thing worked out, and with those nifty night vision devices the protective cover of darkness has been eliminated.

And one more thing Orwellian: Be sure to check out Principles of Newspeak for an instant primer into the deep-structure meaning behind just about every fucking word that comes out of the mouths of Big Brother Cheney, his meat puppet Baby Doc, inept prognisticator Kindasleezy and all of the other corrupt minions of the BFEE.

2 Comments:

draingbamage said...

Do you think the recent "cartoon riots" have something to do with the plan?
I haven't read the book but am very shocked that people will be so irate, intolerant, and just plain backwards about religious cartoons.

That there prophet is so fragile and can bring forth such hatred is amazing!

If they had nukes the world might be over by now.

Elizabeth Green said...

I just heard that Attorney General Gonzales is supposed to make a statement tomorrow that the wiretapping was selective and not widespread as if this is supposed to make us feel better about our dictator ignoring the Constitution. Would killing 3 people be any less wrong than killing 500? These people just have no clue