Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

“Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Rebellion meant a look in the eyes, an inflexion of the voice, at the most, an occasional word. But the proles, if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength. would have no need to conspire. They needed only to rise up shake themselves like a horse shaking off flies. If they chose they could blow the Party to pieces tomorrow morning. Surely sooner or later it must occur to them to do it? And yet–!

Reading the ‘book biography’ about 1984, The Ministry of Truth, led me to rediscovering this favorite book from my childhood. So I decided to re-read it. Let me also state, I never re-read books. This is the first book I have ever read. It was great. It was like finding a long-lost friend.

In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.

This book is so prescient. Orwell really understood how communist and fascists operated. He wrote a book that explained it all, and showed us the terror that will be inflicted on us, ‘the proles’, if totalitarianism is allowed to conquer liberal democracies.

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.

This book is a like a well done documentary, you don’t need to explain what it feels like to live under an oppressive government, Orwell explains how it feels through Winston’s experiences. He takes us through this hell with Winston, an ordinary nobody, who gets caught up in the gears of the Party.

Winston is just trying to survive, but he just can’t contain his curiosity about the propaganda he hears. He starts to doubt the what the Party declares to be the truth. ““Didn’t the chocolate ration go down instead of up?””

Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party. That is the fact that you’ve got to relearn, Winston. It needs an act of self-destruction, an effort of the will. you must humble yourself before you can become sane.

This chilling little bit of humour (?) from O’Brien when Winston is in the Ministry of Love.

I enjoy talking to your. Your mind appeals to me. It resembles my own mind except that you happen to be insane.

I imagine Chinese political meetings talking about their goals for the Xinjiang ‘education centers’ probably sound something like this…

Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery is torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but MORE merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain.

The book also contains this very famous quote, from just before Nazis put their boots all over Europe.

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever.

I like the ending, Winston ‘loses’, but does he? He lived a few moments of freedom with Julia, but was eventually erased at the end. A person who thinks outside the predefined and every changing boundaries of what is acceptable thought is too dangerous to the Party.

To die hating them, that was freedom.

Six star rating for this one. I could probably re-read this book every five years and find something to enjoy in it every time.

Rating: ★★★★★★! Book #96 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge #BookReview #Books #Classic #GeorgeOrwell #1984 #dystopia”,

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