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Vision of Society in 1984

Uploaded by PROmetheus on Mar 05, 2001

‘The empirical method of thought, on which all the scientific achievements of the past were founded, is opposed to the most fundamental principles of Ingsoc’. (Emmanuel Goldstein in ‘The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism’, ch.3). Discuss with respect to George Orwell’s vision of society in Nineteen Eighty-Four.


Orwell’s society displays a threatening projection of a totalitarian system into the future. Indeed it is a regime very similar to the tyrannies of the 20th century and strongly echoes Stalin Russia or Nazi Germany. The dominant mood inside this repressive system is one of threat and suppression due to the systematic persecution and oppression of non-conformists. As Goldstein explains in his ‘Oligarchical Collectivism’ there have always been three classes: the high, the middle and the low with the middle and the high constantly changing their respective position. Eventually this movement was identified by historians as being cyclical. In an attempt to interrupt this recurring pattern the Party is essentially focussing on the problem of Stability. Indeed Stability becomes paramount in Oceania as well as in the other two superpowers Eastasia and Eurasia. In short it is the problem of how to keep things the way they are and maintain a hierarchical society without risking an overthrow of the established system.

Several devices and attitudes have been conceived to achieve this aim. First of all the Party constantly controls and monitors its subjects. A crucial device in this scheme is the telescreen which, by being able to send as well as to receive information, allows a constant surveillance of all Party members. In addition other institutions such as the Thought Police or the Spies have been contrived to guarantee a maximum of surveillance. Moreover different concepts of thinking such as ‘Thoughtcrime’ and ‘Crimestop’ have been introduced in an attempt to detect and/or prevent any digression from the Party principles as soon as possible and thus eliminate any potential non-conformists. Even the expression of one’s face is subject to scrutiny as it might for example hint at a resentment felt towards Big Brother or might even indicate a possible future ‘criminal’ (in Oceania this concept is referred to as ‘Facecrime’).

Although the system tries to suffocate all possible opposition from the very beginning, the Inner Party has nevertheless to confront several problems which directly threaten stability. Paramount among those is the industrialisation and the consequent introduction of machinery on a large scale which tended...

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Uploaded by:   PROmetheus

Date:   03/05/2001

Category:   Nineteen Eighty Four

Length:   9 pages (2,095 words)

Views:   1843

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