1984: How Government Controlled The Society

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A world without freedom, no thought, no privacy, no way to denote yourself; in other words, a world where you are nothing but an android, is something we will more than likely become amidst the technology we have today. This presents the possibility of our world as a whole becoming nothing other than Orwellian. Orwellian can intend various things, but the central notion is that the State or some actuality has TOTAL CONTROL. Oceania signifies a world of fear, hostility, and limitation. The people of Oceania cannot display any repugnant thoughts or sensations regarding Big Brother, who is the figure that possesses power, because otherwise, they would solely “vanish”. Our technology now is guiding us closer to the world of Big Brother concerning several reasons, although the three significant ones are: it has taken over our quotidian lives, the police are already tapping into our private property for ‘safety’ purposes, and ever since the beginning of technology we have been advancing and who knows what it will be like in the future.

The varieties of surveillance prevailing in the lives of people in 1984 were helicopters, microphones, thought police, speak write, the versificator, and the memory hole. The helicopter was a form of patrol from the sky. Helicopters would cruise atop people’s residences and observe everything they were doing through their open windows, which is demonstrated at the very beginning of the novel. This can be demonstrated as it states, “In the far distance, a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into people’s windows” (1.1.4). Microphones were also planted in areas such as trees, and bushes. They were intended to be capable to capture voices when the telescreens were not nearby. ‘In general, you could not assume that you were much safer in the country than in London. There were no telescreens, of course, but there was always the danger of concealed microphones by which your voice might be picked up and recognized; besides, it was not easy to make a journey by yourself without attracting attention” (2.2.2). The thought police were people of the inner circle responsible for watching the telescreens and monitoring the movements, reflexes, facial emotions, and responses measured by this system. They would even go as far as to train the children to listen to their parents, and if they said anything that went against the social ideology, it was their obligation to report it to the thought police. For example, ‘Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course, no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork” (1.1.3). The device called ‘Speakwrite’ was used by the main character Winston in order to document and make changes to existing articles so that they align with the totalitarian ideology. Furthermore, he uses a ‘Speakwrite’ to help him with that. The device hears everything he says and then writes it down, word for word. Their invention of ‘newspeak’, which is a controlled language that is used as a tool to limit freedom of thought, and concepts that pose a threat to the regime such as freedom, self-expression, individuality, and peace, further contribute to the idea of 24/7 monitoring. The versificator is Oceania’s art-creating, a novel-writing machine which constructs content that benefits proles that are the worker parties of the society, such as “…rubbishy newspapers containing almost nothing except sport, crime and astrology, sensational five-cent novelettes, films oozing with sex, and sentimental songs which were composed entirely by mechanical means on a special kind of kaleidoscope known as a versificator” (1.1.4). The memory hole is a history-destruction mechanism “…used when one knew that any document was due for destruction, or even when one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building” (1.1.6).

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We can wholly validate that there exist some eerily realistic correspondences that can be drawn within Orwell’s methods of surveillance and the surveillance that can be detected today. Progressions in technology have to lead to devices that are alike to telescreens which would include: 24/7 surveillance cameras by approximately every intersection, road and established business, satellites, internet, and GPS technology. Nevertheless, further concerning circumstances have befallen us due to those progressions, such as the NSA privacy violation which resulted in millions of texts, emails, phone calls, and other private information of millions of Americans being leaked and monitored while we remained unaware. Although the government proceeds to overlook their developing impact in our quotidian lives, we can’t help but discern that private information is no longer confidential; moreover, there is no such thing as being absolutely isolated or going unnoticed. The vague hand has grown all too ruling and the government’s grasp on our lives is growing increasingly obvious as time passes by. To acknowledge the prompt, our technology is leading us towards a world of Big Brother. It has solely taken us three decades to accomplish the predictions that Orwell has devised. In another three decades, the world will be controlled, monitored, and dictated by forces that are out of our control and if we disobey these forces. then we will receive the punishment of room 101.


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