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Last post Author Topic: Why George Orwell wrote 1984  (Read 7395 times)

40hz

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Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« on: January 09, 2014, 01:25:27 PM »
From our friends over at OpenCulture.com comes this sobering and cautionary post by Colin Marshall about some of what was on George Orwell's mind in the years leading up to his writing the now seemingly prophetic novel 1984.

Quote


George Orwell Explains in a Revealing 1944 Letter Why He’d Write 1984
Posted: 09 Jan 2014 04:45 AM PST




Most of the twentieth century’s notable men of letters — i.e., writers of books, of essays, of reportage — seem also to have, literally, written a great deal of letters. Sometimes their correspondence reflects and shapes their “real” written work; sometimes it appears collected in book form itself. Both hold true in the case of George Orwell, a volume of whose letters, edited by Peter Davison, came out last year. In it we find this missive, also published in full at The Daily Beast, sent in 1944 to one Noel Willmett, who had asked “whether totalitarianism, leader-worship etc. are really on the up-grade” given “that they are not apparently growing in [England] and the USA”:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "I must say I believe, or fear, that taking the world as a whole these things are on the increase. Hitler, no doubt, will soon disappear, but only at the expense of strengthening (a) Stalin, (b) the Anglo-American millionaires and (c) all sorts of petty fuhrers of the type of de Gaulle. All the national movements everywhere, even those that originate in resistance to German domination, seem to take non-democratic forms, to group themselves round some superhuman fuhrer (Hitler, Stalin, Salazar, Franco, Gandhi, De Valera are all varying examples) and to adopt the theory that the end justifies the means. Everywhere the world movement seems to be in the direction of centralised economies which can be made to ‘work’ in an economic sense but which are not democratically organised and which tend to establish a caste system. With this go the horrors of emotional nationalism and a tendency to disbelieve in the existence of objective truth because all the facts have to fit in with the words and prophecies of some infallible fuhrer. Already history has in a sense ceased to exist, ie. there is no such thing as a history of our own times which could be universally accepted, and the exact sciences are endangered as soon as military necessity ceases to keep people up to the mark. Hitler can say that the Jews started the war, and if he survives that will become official history. He can’t say that two and two are five, because for the purposes of, say, ballistics they have to make four. But if the sort of world that I am afraid of arrives, a world of two or three great superstates which are unable to conquer one another, two and two could become five if the fuhrer wished it. That, so far as I can see, is the direction in which we are actually moving, though, of course, the process is reversible.

    As to the comparative immunity of Britain and the USA. Whatever the pacifists etc. may say, we have not gone totalitarian yet and this is a very hopeful symptom. I believe very deeply, as I explained in my book The Lion and the Unicorn, in the English people and in their capacity to centralise their economy without destroying freedom in doing so. But one must remember that Britain and the USA haven’t been really tried, they haven’t known defeat or severe suffering, and there are some bad symptoms to balance the good ones. To begin with there is the general indifference to the decay of democracy. Do you realise, for instance, that no one in England under 26 now has a vote and that so far as one can see the great mass of people of that age don’t give a damn for this? Secondly there is the fact that the intellectuals are more totalitarian in outlook than the common people. On the whole the English intelligentsia have opposed Hitler, but only at the price of accepting Stalin. Most of them are perfectly ready for dictatorial methods, secret police, systematic falsification of history etc. so long as they feel that it is on ‘our’ side. Indeed the statement that we haven’t a Fascist movement in England largely means that the young, at this moment, look for their fuhrer elsewhere. One can’t be sure that that won’t change, nor can one be sure that the common people won’t think ten years hence as the intellectuals do now. I hope they won’t, I even trust they won’t, but if so it will be at the cost of a struggle. If one simply proclaims that all is for the best and doesn’t point to the sinister symptoms, one is merely helping to bring totalitarianism nearer.

    You also ask, if I think the world tendency is towards Fascism, why do I support the war. It is a choice of evils—I fancy nearly every war is that. I know enough of British imperialism not to like it, but I would support it against Nazism or Japanese imperialism, as the lesser evil. Similarly I would support the USSR against Germany because I think the USSR cannot altogether escape its past and retains enough of the original ideas of the Revolution to make it a more hopeful phenomenon than Nazi Germany. I think, and have thought ever since the war began, in 1936 or thereabouts, that our cause is the better, but we have to keep on making it the better, which involves constant criticism."

    Yours sincerely,
    Geo. Orwell

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Three years later, Orwell would write 1984. Two years after that, it would see publication and go on to generations of attention as perhaps the most eloquent fictional statement against a world reduced to superstates, saturated with “emotional nationalism,” acquiescent to “dictatorial methods, secret police,” and the systematic falsification of history,” and shot through by the willingness to “disbelieve in the existence of objective truth because all the facts have to fit in with the words and prophecies of some infallible fuhrer.” Now that you feel like reading the novel again, or even for the first time, do browse our collection of 1984-related resources, which includes the eBook, the audio book, reviews, and even radio drama and comic book adaptations of Orwell’s work.

==================================================================================
Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, Asia, film, literature, and aesthetics. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on his brand new Facebook page
==================================================================================

James Madison summed it up even more succinctly in 1787:

Quote
"In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people."


and again in 1788:

Quote
"Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments, the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from the acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents."

and yet again in 1795:

Quote
"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

Quote
"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."

Things to think about as we enter a new year. :tellme:

superboyac

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2014, 04:24:48 PM »
 :nono2: but also  :greenclp:

Deozaan

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2014, 04:46:02 PM »
Very intriguing. Thanks for sharing.

You don't happen to have the source(s) for those James Madison quotes, do you?


40hz

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2014, 05:19:03 PM »
Very intriguing. Thanks for sharing.

You don't happen to have the source(s) for those James Madison quotes, do you?

1) from a speech given at the Federal Constitutional Convention of 1787

2) in a letter to Thomas Jefferson (1788)

3) From "Political Observations" (1795)

4) Although widely quoted, this one is probably not real. I looked and can't find a reliable reference to it.  FWIW Wikipedia says they believe it to be a modern paraphrasing of: "Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged against provisions against danger, real or pretended from abroad."

Bunches more quotes of Mr. Madison can be found here.

 :)

IainB

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2014, 05:50:45 PM »
...James Madison summed it up even more succinctly in 1787:
Quote
"In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people."
__________________________
Very thought-provoking. Of course, that was then. This sort of thing couldn't possibly happen today ... oh, but wait...
« Last Edit: January 10, 2014, 11:07:34 PM by IainB »

Renegade

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2014, 06:16:23 PM »
This is one of the things that bothers me:

Quote
...but I would support it against Nazism or Japanese imperialism, as the lesser evil. Similarly I would support the USSR against Germany because I think the USSR cannot altogether escape its past and retains enough of the original ideas of the Revolution to make it a more hopeful phenomenon than Nazi Germany.

I don't think supporting evil really ever works out very well.

Remember, Stalin murder far, far more people than Hitler. Hitler was an amateur. Stalin was a pro. Mao was even better than Stalin when it came to murdering people.

http://www.hawaii.ed...owerkills/MURDER.HTM

And while a lot of people may call the Nazis "fascists", remember what Hitler had to say about it...

Quote
We are socialists.



Perhaps a bit meta, but still on the topic of authors, from J.R.R. Tolkien:

http://peacerequires...ters-of-jrr-tolkien/

Quote
My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) – or to ‘unconstitutional’ Monarchy. I would arrest anybody who uses the word State (in any sense other than the inanimate realm of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights nor mind); and after a chance of recantation, execute them if they remained obstinate! If we could get back to personal names, it would do a lot of good. Government is an abstract noun meaning the art and process of governing and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so as to refer to people.

Remember the meaning of "anarchy" and the etymology - "an" meaning "no" and "archos" meaning "rulers" -- "no rulers". It does not mean "no rules". Well, unless you're Humpty Dumpty...
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2014, 07:45:11 PM »
...
Quote


George Orwell Explains in a Revealing 1944 Letter Why He’d Write 1984
Posted: 09 Jan 2014 04:45 AM PST

...

-----------------------------------------------------------------

    "...Already history has in a sense ceased to exist, ie. there is no such thing as a history of our own times which could be universally accepted, and the exact sciences are endangered as soon as military necessity ceases to keep people up to the mark. Hitler can say that the Jews started the war, and if he survives that will become official history. He can’t say that two and two are five, because for the purposes of, say, ballistics they have to make four. ... That, so far as I can see, is the direction in which we are actually moving, though, of course, the process is reversible.
...

    Yours sincerely,
    Geo. Orwell

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
...


Things to think about as we enter a new year. :tellme:

At the slight risk of studying plague beetles on one single apple tree in an entire orchard, I think this section is worth pondering.

I truncated certain portions to make his broader point clearer "in today's / tomorrow's world".

(Paraphrased) "For the purposes of a weapon which you wish to kill someone with, 2+2=4 and that can't be changed because you need your scientist to make you more weapons that kill people and for that they need to work, and for that, the math needs to work. But if you say things like 'America is overrun by terrorists! Ban all Apple Juice from Airplanes!', then 2+2=5 because no natural phenomena are 'hard coded' to it."

Slashdot likes its Correlation vs Causation arguments about once a week, so yes, brainwashing people "does stuff", but it's a "soft effect". The herds of masses mostly do what you want, then you shoot the rebels.

Whereas if you have a nice shiny gun pointed at your enemy, and somewhere in its design it has an equation where 2+2=5, it's liable to shoot 135 degrees polar on the vertical axis (or however it's phrased) and shoot YOU in the heart. So after the first three of those deaths, the troops point it at their own heads. Except this batch is made correctly, so they also die.

Not good for an army.  :D

But these "soft people things", you can twist them forever, and if you wind it tight enough, they can't ever fully break out of the Zork Maze of Twisty Little Mental Passages.


40hz

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2014, 09:58:10 PM »
I don't think supporting evil really ever works out very well.

I think Orwell was being excessively pragmatic in that instance, opting to do what he felt was doable, as opposed to doing what he felt was right.

That's always going to be a problem whenever you permit the "other side" to frame, and define the terms of, the debate.

So whenever given a choice between A and B, it's important to remember there's also a third option: neither.

th.jpg

 8) :Thmbsup:

wraith808

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2014, 10:22:02 PM »
Well, for all of my middle of the road stance, I'm nothing if not practical.  A practical man has to have a sense of humor, because being practical is hard.

I think from his writings, Orwell was a practical man.

Renegade

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2014, 01:03:50 AM »
So whenever given a choice between A and B, it's important to remember there's also a third option: neither.

Exactly.

On the topic of total control...

Camp 14 : Total Control Zone

FAIR WARNING: This is about a fellow who was born into a North Korean death camp and escaped. It might not be all that wonderful for some to watch. Of particular note is how and what he thought, e.g. that beating a girl to death in a school classroom was normal, that torture was normal, that he thought the rest of the world was exactly like where he was, etc. Oddly enough, if you think about it a little bit, you probably know (or are) people who have similar though patterns, though your circumstances be different...



http://www.camp14-film.com/

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2014, 07:42:38 AM »
I don't think supporting evil really ever works out very well.

I think Orwell was being excessively pragmatic in that instance, opting to do what he felt was doable, as opposed to doing what he felt was right.

That's always going to be a problem whenever you permit the "other side" to frame, and define the terms of, the debate.

So whenever given a choice between A and B, it's important to remember there's also a third option: neither.

Unfortunately, in these circumstances, being pragmatic matters. All too often it becomes "A, B, or get shot." So you're not "permitting" them to frame things, you're trying to live until Tuesday might be a better day to fight it all.

Renegade

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2014, 08:02:04 AM »
Unfortunately, in these circumstances, being pragmatic matters. All too often it becomes "A, B, or get shot." So you're not "permitting" them to frame things, you're trying to live until Tuesday might be a better day to fight it all.

When it comes down to being coerced into making a decision, that's an entirely different matter. Threatening to kill you, imprison you, or take away your livelihood or everything you own is coercion.

But sometimes we are not coerced into choosing evil.

When you choose evil without coercion, even if it is a lesser evil, there's something seriously WRONG there.

The strongest people with the strongest convictions are able to refuse to choose evil in the face of imminent death. Those people are rare. I don't think that I have that in me. I think few people do.

I don't think that it is fair to blame someone who is coerced for what they do. It is more sensible to have pity for them and their situation.

"Live to fight another day" is pretty much always a good thing.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2014, 08:10:48 AM »
Unfortunately, in these circumstances, being pragmatic matters. All too often it becomes "A, B, or get shot." So you're not "permitting" them to frame things, you're trying to live until Tuesday might be a better day to fight it all.

When it comes down to being coerced into making a decision, that's an entirely different matter. Threatening to kill you, imprison you, or take away your livelihood or everything you own is coercion.

But sometimes we are not coerced into choosing evil.

When you choose evil without coercion, even if it is a lesser evil, there's something seriously WRONG there.

The strongest people with the strongest convictions are able to refuse to choose evil in the face of imminent death. Those people are rare. I don't think that I have that in me. I think few people do.

I don't think that it is fair to blame someone who is coerced for what they do. It is more sensible to have pity for them and their situation.

"Live to fight another day" is pretty much always a good thing.

Decent choice of words Renny. I tried to get into this with the idea of "soft coercion". Where your life is not at stake but "my my my, wouldn't it be nice to get a Pepsi right now?"


Renegade

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2014, 09:20:41 AM »
Decent choice of words Renny. I tried to get into this with the idea of "soft coercion". Where your life is not at stake but "my my my, wouldn't it be nice to get a Pepsi right now?"

Orwell raises many very difficult questions, many of which are often overlooked. At the core, we find the choice of right/wrong. What is 2+2?
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

wraith808

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2014, 12:15:13 PM »
When you choose evil without coercion, even if it is a lesser evil, there's something seriously WRONG there.

Not.. necessarily.  Take a US election, with two candidates, and other marginalized ones.  You can vote for the one that would do the least harm.  Or you can vote for someone else.  Or you can not vote at all.

Not voting at all is not making a choice.  Similarly, if pragmatically your candidate won't win... that's not really a choice either.  Those kinds of choices for the non-mainstream candidate are made before an election and during the campaign.  Not at the ballots.  Once it becomes obvious that the marginalized candidate won't win, all you do by voting for them is reduce the pool of effective votes.

Voting for the lesser evil in that case, is the pragmatic choice.  You're not actually choosing the lesser evil- you're choosing against the greater one.

40hz

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2014, 12:21:25 PM »
To define the terms and scope pf a discussion is to control it.

We're already seeing it happen today in the "nuanced" testimony and comments of those in power who place their own self-serving re-definitions on words such as: collateral, redaction, privileged, and legal

We can expect to see even more of this in the future if we continue to allow it to go unchallenged. Unchecked, and it will eventually lead to something resembling this scene in Orwell's  1984:

(Comrade Syme speaking to Winston Smith about how Newspeak, the chief tool of Big Brother, will eventually remove the cognitive capability to effect change.)

‘You haven’t a real appreciation of Newspeak, Winston,’
he said almost sadly. ‘Even when you write it you’re still
thinking in Oldspeak. I’ve read some of those pieces that
you write in ‘The Times’ occasionally. They’re good enough,
but they’re translations. In your heart you’d prefer to stick
to Oldspeak, with all its vagueness and its useless shades of
meaning. 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?’

Winston did know that, of course. He smiled, sympa-
thetically he hoped, not trusting himself to speak. Syme bit
off another fragment of the dark-coloured bread, chewed it
briefly, and went on:

‘Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to
narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make
thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no
words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever
be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its
meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings
rubbed out and forgotten. Already, in the Eleventh Edition,
we’re not far from that point. But the process will still be
continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer
and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a
little smaller. Even now, of course, there’s no reason or ex-
cuse for committing thoughtcrime. It’s merely a question
of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won’t
be any need even for that. The Revolution will be com-
plete when the language is perfect.

Newspeak is Ingsoc and Ingsoc is Newspeak,’ he added with a sort of
mystical satisfaction. ‘Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the
year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will
be alive who could understand such a conversation as we
are having now?"


thoughtcrime.jpg
« Last Edit: January 10, 2014, 01:49:13 PM by 40hz »

J-Mac

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2014, 01:28:26 PM »
Oh my...  only 10 days into the new year and you guys are getting me depressed already. Well, that is, you guys AND any news article/program/etc.  (And on my birthday, no less!)

I know that all this crap was still there back in the 1950s and 1960s, but I was too young to be anything other than blissfully ignorant of all of it.   :)

Now let me go to my room and draw the shades, turn out the lights, and weep quietly in the knowledge that I have spent an entire lifetime without being able to change anything significantly.

Jim

PS- OK, OK... so the part about my room and weeping, etc. was crap. I actually went downstairs and ordered a pizza.   8)

40hz

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2014, 01:55:20 PM »
@J-Mac - First, I'd like to wish you a very Happy Birthday and a fantastic New Year.

Second, please consider: the main reason some of this discussion can get depressing is because there's still something to lose.

If the game were already over it wouldn't matter. But so as long as it feels disturbing, there's still hope. It's when it doesn't feel like anything that we'll really need to worry.

Or so it seems to me. ;) :Thmbsup:

P.S. Don't know about you, but a pizza (esp. a Sicilian or Red Margarita) has always been a terrific confidence booster for me! 8)

Renegade

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2014, 09:41:43 PM »
When you choose evil without coercion, even if it is a lesser evil, there's something seriously WRONG there.

Not.. necessarily.  Take a US election, with two candidates, and other marginalized ones.  You can vote for the one that would do the least harm.  Or you can vote for someone else.  Or you can not vote at all.

Not voting at all is not making a choice.  Similarly, if pragmatically your candidate won't win... that's not really a choice either.  Those kinds of choices for the non-mainstream candidate are made before an election and during the campaign.  Not at the ballots.  Once it becomes obvious that the marginalized candidate won't win, all you do by voting for them is reduce the pool of effective votes.

Voting for the lesser evil in that case, is the pragmatic choice.  You're not actually choosing the lesser evil- you're choosing against the greater one.

You are far more optimistic than I am.

As far as I can see, voting is at very best a complete waste of time. It's simply supporting controlled opposition where your choices are only facets of the same beast.

One of the beasts heads threatens you with X, and the other with Y. At any time those threats might change to J and K. Voting against X or Y or J or K is still supporting the beast and validating its existence.

The only rational option I can see is to not play the game, because by playing it, you are guaranteed to lose.

If the game were already over it wouldn't matter. But so as long as it feels disturbing, there's still hope. It's when it doesn't feel like anything that we'll really need to worry.

Excellent point.

To define the terms and scope pf a discussion is to control it.

We're already seeing it happen today in the "nuanced" testimony and comments of those in power who place their own self-serving re-definitions on words such as: collateral, redaction, privileged, and legal

We can expect to see even more of this in the future if we continue to allow it to go unchallenged. Unchecked, and it will eventually lead to something resembling this scene in Orwell's  1984:

Absolutely.

If we want to look at it humorously, the system is very Humpty Dumptyish:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/12
http://www.gutenberg...che/epub/12/pg12.txt

Quote
'And only ONE for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!'

'I don't know what you mean by "glory,"' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't--till I tell
you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument,"' Alice objected.

'When _I_ use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it
means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less.'


'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you CAN make words mean so many
different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master--that's
all.'

While that may seem a bit extreme, it really isn't all that out of line with reality. You can look at any set of laws or any contract/agreement and you will always see a set of definitions. Quite often the definitions are far from what you would expect.

For example, when a police officer asks you if you "understand", that isn't asking whether or not you comprehend - it's asking if you agree. We're pretty far down the rabbit hole already...

But you can look in the news to find examples of truly twisted Orwellian language used on a daily basis. e.g. "Global warming" means that the world gets colder. Very double-plus-ungood. "National Security". Nuff said.

We still have a lot to lose. The way things are going, we're headed for "Camp Earth" where everywhere is like Camp 14. A prison planet if you will.

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

IainB

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2014, 12:07:42 AM »
So whenever given a choice between A and B, it's important to remember there's also a third option: neither.
Exactly.
On the topic of total control...
Camp 14 : Total Control Zone
FAIR WARNING: This is about a fellow who was born into a North Korean death camp and escaped. It might not be all that wonderful for some to watch. Of particular note is how and what he thought, e.g. that beating a girl to death in a school classroom was normal, that torture was normal, that he thought the rest of the world was exactly like where he was, etc. Oddly enough, if you think about it a little bit, you probably know (or are) people who have similar though patterns, though your circumstances be different...
http://www.camp14-film.com/
______________________________

Very interesting movie. Thanks for the link.
We have the capability to hold different paradigms and images in our minds. The image that is in our minds of "the way things are" tends to be set by our experiences/interpretations of what passes for us as reality. We might never even question it, though when it is challenged by a potentially contradictory opinion/view of reality, we may tend to fiercely protect it (e.g., as in some of the discussion above).
But there is also potentially an image of "the way things might/could be for the better". This idea was discussed in a rather profound and wise Stanford Research Institute report The Changing Images of Man. (You will read it when you are ready for it.)
In it, they gave a diagram illustrating a theory of mankind's development as being a constant spiralling push-pull dance between two changing things:
(a) The "operational" images of man in the minds of men;
(b) The "behavioural" image of man imposed by society.

SRI Report - Changing Images of Man - hypothetical time + phase graph.png

Sometimes one thing has the role of leading, pulling the other upwards, then a role switch occurs as their paths briefly intersect. When they are furthest apart there would be the greatest tension and pressure to come together, but always forwards and upwards.
This theory offers a most profound piece of hope, requiring only imagination.
As Freddy Mercury sang:
Quote
"This could be Heaven.
This could be Heaven, for everyone."

_____________________
Some things stand repeating. There is potentially life-changing wisdom in this, for those who want to or can see/imagine the implications, which is why I repeat it here.
YMMV though.    ;)

IainB

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2014, 04:11:18 AM »
Quite by chance, I was reading this post today in Standpoint - Pareto Humanity - which was suggesting that the Italian School of economics had always been right (i.e., applicable, and theories not disproven), though they weren't popular in economics teaching classes.
The author then refers to Pareto's assertion that the elite was a necessary and natural component of an economic theory where any organisational structure would tend to be structured as a pyramid, with big boxes at the the bottom and successively smaller boxes atop each other to the top.
Rings a bell...

In para 3 he writes:
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Yet all the evidence continued to favour the Italian School, especially the history of the Soviet Union, evolving an apparatchiki and a nomenklatura with unprecedentedly structured privileges (like their own exclusive shops) exactly as the theory suggested they would. Orwell's Animal Farm reads pretty naturally as an Italian School allegory about the USSR.
__________________________
I must admit that, since reading Animal Farm as a 12 y/o, I had always seen it as an allegory about the USSR, but I did not know at the time, or later, that it was so aligned wit the Italian school of economics.
You learn something new every day - if you're lucky.    :)

J-Mac

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2014, 11:19:12 AM »
Interesting little post by Cory Doctorow on his Tumblr page. It mentions Orwell in its title though its not related other than being generally "Orwellian".

http://mostlysignssomeportents.tumblr.com/post/72759474218/we-are-huxleying-ourselves-into-the-full-orwell

Here's the text, hopefully in good "fair use":

Quote

We are Huxleying ourselves into the full Orwell.

Try as I might, I can’t shake the feeling that 2014 is the year we lose the Web. The W3C push for DRM in all browsers is going to ensure that all interfaces built in HTML5 (which will be pretty much everything) will be opaque to users, and it will be illegal to report on security flaws in them (because reporting a security flaw in DRM exposes you to risk of prosecution for making a circumvention device), so they will be riddled with holes that creeps, RATters, spooks, authoritarians and crooks will be able to use to take over your computer and fuck you in every possible way.

As near as I can work out, there’s no one poised to do anything about this. Google, Apple and Microsoft have all built proprietary DRM silos that backed the WC3 into accepting standardization work on DRM (and now the W3C have admitted the MPAA as a member - an organization that expressly believes that all technology should be designed for remote, covert control by someone other than its owner, and that it should be illegal to subvert this control).

Once this is standardized at the W3C, all the alternative browsers (eg Firefox) will also have to ship closed, opaque, illegal-to-report-vulnerabilities-in software to support it.

And it’s basically all being driven by Netflix. Everyone in the browser world is convinced that not supporting Netflix will lead to total marginalization, and Netflix demands that computers be designed to keep secrets from, and disobey, their owners (so that you can’t save streams to disk in the clear).

We are Huxleying ourselves into the full Orwell.

I’m not kidding about any of this. I can’t sleep anymore. I think it may be game over.

Jim

tomos

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2014, 02:09:56 PM »
^wow. That kind of deserves a thread of it's own.
Is that true, all that? I mean, I dont suspect him of lying - but is it a realistic analysis?
Tom

J-Mac

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2014, 09:19:07 PM »
Well, the facts mentioned in it are true. As for his analysis, that's an opinion. A somewhat informed one, though it seems a bit extreme. Or is it?

Jim

wraith808

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Re: Why George Orwell wrote 1984
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2014, 09:50:54 PM »
The facts mentioned in it are *sort of* true.  Not one for draconian DRM measures, but the proposal is to include support for DRM, so third party measures aren't needed.  They won't be required.  If you go to netflix right now, they download a silverlight plugin that does the same thing.  This just does away with the plugin.

--combating FUD where ever it's found.