Charles CharbonnierMr. DevitoEnglish01/16/18Orwellian Phenomenon1984 is a dystopian novel published in 1949 by English author George Orwell. It is seen to this day as one of Orwell’s most enthralling pieces of literature due to the novel being compelling, contemporary, and containing remarkable foresight on the state of our world today.
In 1984, a totalitarian government run by a party is constantly watching and controlling its citizens through numerous systems of surveillance all so that the party can create its ‘ideal’ society. The state knows every move its citizens make, including their habits, whom they talk to, and what they are doing at any given time. Every aspect of their lives is under control by the government.
They even have the ability to change your beliefs and create false memories through mind control. Despite the plot appearing far-fetched in 1949 due to inferior technology at that time, In our everyday lives, we share various aspects of the totalitarian regime in 1984.In 2018 electronic surveillance is a common and mostly accepted government practice: cell phone listening, cameras on corners and traffic lights, and electronic payment system tracking are all everyday occurrences.
Advancements in technology have revolutionized the way we as a society communicate and function. The twentieth century brought technological advancements such as the internet, satellites that orbit the earth, and countless other ways of violating our privacy every day without consent despite living in a so-called ‘free’ country. All these systems of surveillance often are run and regulated by the government.
They’re in possession of a vast network of surveillance, always knowing where you are, seeing what you see, and never leaving you alone. We even have a branch of the government known as the NSA which focuses on gathering information on everything we do with electronic devices. The Huffington Post says “The National Security Agency (NSA) collects hundreds of millions of emails, texts and phone calls every day and has the ability to collect and sift through billions more.” This statement shows us how much of our privacy can be accessed by the government. This is similar to the telescreens in 1984 which are used by the government as a way to surveil the citizens of Oceania. “The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously.
Any sound 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.
It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate, they could plug into your wire whenever they wanted to.”(Orwell 4-5). These telescreens create paranoia amongst the citizens and in turn, forces the people to conduct themselves in accordance with the government’s perspective of an ‘ideal’ society. The leader of the party who runs the government in Oceania uses the name Big Brother which is ironic as the party has set out to eliminate familial love. An older brother is meant to be someone you can look up to, trust, and love yet in 1984 this couldn’t be further from the truth. The citizens of Oceania persistently see Big Brother’s face plastered on posters that litter the streets, on their telescreens and even stamped onto the coins that they use. He is described as having dark eyes, a mustache, and in his mid-forties.
”The black mustachioed face gazed down from every commanding corner… BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston’s own.”(Orwell 1). Big Brother is described on the first page of the book.
In our day and age, there are numerous examples of leaders using titles that create a false image in order to gain affection from their people. An example of this would be the use of the titles in North Korea that require their citizens to address the leader Kim Jong-un and his predecessor Kim Jong-il as ‘Supreme Leader’ and ‘Dear Leader’ which have been used. 1984 presents thought-provoking ideology concerning the use of technology and how it could impact the relationship between a country and its government. Although some people believed that his predictions for our future were too far-fetched back when the book was published, even now we have not yet discovered how far technology can go, or how it will affect us as a whole. Our society is becoming increasingly similar to that of 1984. The government is already able to access devices like presented in 1984, so there is a definite possibility that they could be used for dominance over us.
It is important that we always consider all the possible outcomes when developing new technology, and we remain aware of how powerful these advancements really are or we could end up in a society similar to that of 1984.Works CitedQuigley, Bill. “Thirteen Ways Government Tracks Us.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.
com, 13 Apr. 2012.”Profile: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
” BBC News, BBC, 29 Aug. 2017,www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-11388628.