Orwell’s 1984 And The Price Of Freedom

Just finished the brilliant audiobook narration of George Orwell’s 1984 by Stephen Fry who is often referred to as a British national treasure. Well-deserved title by the way. He brings the two books to live in this combination audiobook for Animal Farm and 1984.

I loved Animal Farm, and in a way, it makes it easier to understand where Orwell is coming from as you delve into the story of 1984.

I believe that Orwell’s 1984 is a timeless piece of classic literature that will live on as long as there are people who can read.

If you haven’t read it still and you do not want to read spoilers, I highly recommend that you stop reading at once.

This is a once in a lifetime experience to be able to read such a great novel for the very first time.

It really is something to be able to intelligently use cultural and literary references in your speech and writing to make a point and sound smart doing so. But it is entirely a whole different thing if you have actually read the great literary works and get the real meaning behind those references everyone keeps using here and there.

There are plenty of words and references to 1984 in the English language vernacular. Words like ‘Big Brother is watching you,’ and ‘Thought Police’ are parroted about by the best of us. Of course, we do understand the gest of it as it basically means that the state or government is surveilling you at all times.

It certainly is the way things happen today. It hasn’t really stopped at all and if anything it increased in intrusiveness and breach of privacy as our entire lives have to funnel through electronic devices and digital networks that could easily be monitored and manipulated.

It’s not simply performed by the unlimited resources of the state security agencies as it once was, there is competition now from all of these private capitalistic companies that run the social media platforms that make huge profits off of their users’ private information. It is argued that Tech companies are getting more powerful than governments, but I’m not going to start worrying about that until Facebook has its own robot army.

We must not forget that governments have a monopoly over violence and they use that to enforce law and order as they see fit.

1984 is a story of awareness and freedom of thought above all else.

The protagonist Winston Smith was awake and aware. He was a master pretender who followed orders, cheered with the mob, showed nothing but loyalty to the system and devotion to the omnipotent leader Big Brother.

Yet, he got really tired of feigning stupidity and got tired of living in a mindless stupor and started getting thoughts of rebellion.

He knew at once that it meant his guaranteed death, but he pursued his own version of rebellion all the same.

It is not portrayed exactly like so in the novel, but perhaps he felt that if it meant his death, it would have been worth it to rebel all for a few moments of freedom.

He knew full well the grave price he was going to pay but went on with it because he couldn’t take it any longer.

It is extremely difficult to deal with constant stupidity delivered to you as Devine truth after all.

He was eventually cracked and killed in thought and spirit before he was finally killed physically and it was a gravely sobering ending to the story.

It’s a forewarning of things to come.

I was thoroughly impressed by the deep implication of the ideas that discussed governance and control over the masses.

It made me want to read the book “Anatomy of The State” again. (Reviewed Here)

The mind-boggling switch of personal ideology on such a deep level under extended torture left me disgusted with the evil humanity is capable of.

How Julia and Winston ended up as enemies was heartbreaking to me.

Is it a failure? Have they failed? Or was it a triumph on their part to steal months of freedom even at the expense of certain inescapable death? I believe I will have to think about the answer to this question for a while.

This book is not easy to read unless you have a certain understanding of the way the world works.

We got the stories handed down to us from our families who lived through these times. Arab states in the 50s were under the influence and protection of the Soviet Union and they were predominantly ruled by absolute power despots who ran secret thought police and spies and who made people scared to openly oppose the “wisdom” of the ruler.

Despite the bleak darkened years of a dictatorship, it kind of always ends with the emperor finally showing to be wearing no clothes.

Freedom is priceless.

Crawling your way into freedom is not an easy feat but it always starts with discipline, mastery over yourself, and conquering your own demons.

Independent thought is such an expensive skill to develop. You cannot start to think critically about the rules set for you by government, cultural, and professional authorities unless you have a certain level of basic self-sufficiency. And even then, it takes a lot of work to abolish your old deities and step outside the lines there were made to herd the masses.

You are not a sheep, then, you don’t follow the entranced into doing the bidding of the powerful.

You switch sides to being a leading power figure in your own right once you step outside that line. That’s when your real journey will begin. You take the initiative, you face the uncertain and tread with courage, confidence, and conviction. At that point, inadvertently, people will start following you.

Just remember that if they do, do not get drunk over the power you have over them.

It is very expensive to be free and to stay free, but it is most certainly worth it.

 

 

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