George Orwell was a master of the dystopian novel. Way back in 1949, Orwell predicted what the future would look like in his book 1984 with a frightening amount of accuracy. In our current political climate, many of the lines from his novel are even more applicable now than they ever have been before. Here are are a few that we find the most chilling.
Big Brother is the mysterious figurehead of the totalitarian government in the novel 1984. The people are reminded of their constant surveillance through the ubiquitously displayed phrase above. Today we live in a society where digital privacy is increasingly a thing of the past. Our actions, preferences, and online content are constantly being examined to derive our likes, dislikes and behavioral patterns.
In his allegorical novel Animal Farm, Orwell demonstrates his thorough understanding of human nature and how it reacts to power and societal change [while ostensibly telling the story of some barnyard animals]. As their new society develops, the ruling class of Animal Farm replace their original legal tenets with just this phrase. In one stroke creating a privileged ruling class in a previously equal society, while nominally retaining the concept of equality. Anything sound familiar here?
Does it ever seem like the professional career politicians that dominate our government today are only seeking office for the personal power it gives them? As great fictional archetype politician Frank Underwood from Netflix's House of Cards says, "The road to power is paved with hypocrisy, and casualties". Power is the end goal for many of our elected officials, similarly to the government in 1984.
In Animal Farm, Squealer convinces the other animals that Napoleon is acting in their best interact, when in reality he's doing anything but. With all the political rhetoric that we are subjected to in modern society, it is difficult to know who is merely trying to convince us that they are acting in the best interest of the people.
The internet has been an equalizing force in recent years, provided increasingly ubiquitous access to an unprecedented volume of information. However, it still holds true that those writing the proverbial history books are controlling the past and the future. We should be wary of those who wish to regulate and control the free flow of information in our society.
It seems today like strong adherents to a particular political party, are simply convinced by the party's rhetoric without giving a lot if thought to what their party leaders are saying. Always think, to avoid the type of orthodoxy that Orwell tells us leads to unconsciousness.