1984 by George Orwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Finally got around to reading this classic (is it a classic?). Terrible timing on my part. Basically, reading 1984 it is just like scrolling through a newsfeed in 2021.
Orwell was a prophet in many ways. He saw the temptation of authoritarianism. He saw the danger of what he termed “the mutability of the past.” He was right that the direction our culture is headed is towards the proliferation of sex to the point where sexual enjoyment is nonexistent. Orwell sees that the intimacy which sexual union creates also brings loyalty to an entity outside of the State’s oversight and authority.
He couldn’t have foreseen that Big Brother would be an example of using gendered (and oppressive) language and thus would be guilty of ThoughtCrime, but the Ministry of Truth would correct that in a future edition of the Newspeak dictionary. Big Sibling will suffice, comrade.
The story was well told. It isn’t a warm fuzzy ending. It doesn’t really offer any solutions, only warnings. The solution, I would submit, is hot Gospel. Jesus died for your sins; so love your wife, raise your kids, go to church, work hard.
Some of my highlights:
“It was always the women, and above all the young ones, who were the most bigoted adherents of the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and nosers-out of unorthodoxy.”
“Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.”
“Now that he had recognized himself as a dead man it became important to stay alive as long as possible.”
“You don’t grasp the beauty of the destruction of words. Do you know that Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year?”
“The aim of the Party was not merely to prevent men and women from forming loyalties which it might not be able to control. Its real, undeclared purpose was to remove all pleasure from the sexual act.”
“The heresy of heresies was common sense.”
“But you could not have pure love or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred.”
“…the object was not to stay alive but to stay human…”
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