The thing I found intersting was coming back and reading 1984 as an adult, and seeing so much more in it that when I had read it in the high school/young adult area of my life.I know political discussions are a verboten topic, but this is a political work, so it's kind of hard to dicsuss without discussing politics. However, while it's always tempting to compare our current political situation to this dystopia or that utopia, there's more to be had from 1984.
Interstingly, pervasive 24x7 surveillance of everyone in society was never part of the 1984 vision. "Animals and proles are free." The vast majority of the populace, the "proles", were not watched nor even terribly harrassed by their government. The class analysis of IngSoc stated that revolution took place only when the middle class incited the proles to violence against the upper class. When this happened, the middle class displaced the upper class as rulers, relegating them back to middle class status, where they would eventually perpetuate the next revolution.
Only the Outer Party was watched in 1984 - the managerial/professional classes. The ruling Inner Party watched them like hawks and oppressed them mercilessly, because they recognized them as the only leginitmate threat to the status quo. The proletariat was happy consuming government-produced beer, gin, pronography and pop culture, and picking up little extras here and there on the black market.
Incidentally, the basis for IngSoc seems to be both Soviet and Burmese. Orwell served in Burma which at the time was a repressive military dictatorship. But IngSoc is really a pastiche of various oppresive regimes, with a wee bit of sci fi thrown in. As for how it relates to our current situation in the west, note that IngSoc owned the means of production as well as the organs of the state. Its power was what we now conisder corporate as well as govenmental. We live in a society where corporate power and governmental power exist separately but side by side, but it would be naive to say this consitutes an impermeable separation of powers, or that there is never an alignment of agendas between those at the top of society. There's hardly a thick, black line separating coprorate and state power. Corporate economies and state economies - and spheres of power - are often of comparable magnitude.
Finally, I always thought it was kind of pointless to discuss 1984 without also bringing Brave New World into the picture. It's a far more beguiling and subtle vision of the future, and far more relevent to the state of the western world today, even though it's the older work. To parapharase Aldous Huxley, the great danger is that freedom will become not illegal, but irrelevant.