Sometimes I really wish that George Orwell had it all wrong. I was born in 1949 and read his book in high school in 1966. I had been through the Cuban Missile Crisis when John F. Kennedy was president and the USA was eye-ball to eye-ball with the USSR and about to Nuke The World. The palpable threat of nuclear war in the air.
Orwell’s ideas had a strong ring of truth and they effected me deeply. His world view seemed to be emerging before my eyes and has been playing itself out all around me ever since.
Orwell’s book , 1984, was not supposed to be an instruction manual. It was supposed to expose a horrible possible future and motivate people to prevent it. Tragically, Orwell’s vision is all but upon us, except for the fact that we have more creature comforts, entertainment distractions, and opportunities for non-stop consuming.
Orwell did get one thing wrong. In his novel, he deprived the masses of creature comforts. This is not how it’s playing out. Take the alcohol from an alcoholic and they get mad – fighting mad. Take it away from the entire population of the USA and you have the birth of criminal empires and blood in the streets. It was called prohibition. Take away the drugs and addicts/abusers won’t get clean and sober. They will move heaven and earth to get it. Even an extensive national and international war on drugs won’t stop people from getting drugs. It didn’t work with prohibition. It won’t work with the drug war. People who really want something will find a way to build a supply – even in prison.
People are more easily conquered when they are distracted by false pleasures that feel good now and bite back latter. They can be distracted by dramas that continually recycle in the news, and comforting lies that distract them from the the truth. Most of the American people probable won’t wake up until all their creature comforts are gone. We’re losing them fast, so it might not be long.
Addiction and Deceit
There is a link between universal deceit and addiction. Universal deception makes people feel crazy and want to numb themselves off. This is most easily done with addictive substances and behaviors. To me, this makes sense. I believe that human beings are truth seeking-animals and that to live with lies is harmful to our mental and physical health. Living in a world of universal deceit makes people want to do a wide variety of things to turn off their brain and their pain. Here are some the most common:
(1) Join the masses and revel in the euphoric emotions of the mob mentality. Mobs don’t think. When they get riled up they can get out of control, destroy things, and kill people.
(2) Buy into the false idea that everyone creates their own reality and deserves what they get (after all, this life is just a learning experience, so what difference does it make?).
(3) Self-medicate with alcohol, other drugs, and/or compulsive behaviors. Try them all! More is better! Ask any addict, unless of course they are in recovery. Recovering people might say a few things you don’t want to hear.
(4) Turn off your empathy and morality and live for today, tomorrow be damned.
(5) Embrace irrational feel-good ideas of psychology, spirituality, and utopian communities. Be sure the that you select one that absolves you of any personal responsibility for your actions in the world. A strong charismatic leaders helps because you don;t have to think, only obey. (It worked great for Jim Jones and his family of believers at the people’s temple! That’s were we got the term about drinking the pool-aide.)
(6) Do nothing about anything except whine, complain, and play helpless. This is called tyranny of the weak. It is designed to motivate a rescuer to come running. When the rescuer doesn’t who up or ends up be a manipulator, the next step depression. Depression is debilitating but understandable. As the truth slowly seeps into our brain and we see the immensity of the problem it is easy to lapse into depression and suicidal thinking. This is driven by the thought: “If all of this is true, what’s the point in living?). W can only keep handing on by our fingernails for so longer. Doing nothing that feeds your soul can lead to mental illness.
There is another option, the one that I hope you will take: Don’t settle for shallow slogans and simplistic explanations. Don’t wait too be rescued because I truly don’t believe anyone is. coming to rescue us. Above all believe in yourself, get active in the world around you. Think, real discuss. Speak your truth at the top of your voice. Practice what you preach.
I hope you enjoy the challenge of Orwell’s thinking. Whether you agree with it or not, once you get into it, it’s a lot more interesting than TV or the movies. Read on. I hope you enjoy the ideas.
I wanted to get you thinking, so I decided to share several of my favorite George Orwell quotes. These have stayed with me since high school. I will share a quote, make a personal comment, and then share a letter I found on the internet written by Orwell in 1944. The letter presents Orwell’s rationale for writing the controversial book entitled 1984. I recommend Orwell’s 1984 as must reading.
Please pass this blog on to young people. I am no longer the youth of America. Our youth need to have these ideas to wrestle with if there is any hope for the future.
WAR IS A CHOICE EVILS
“War 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.”
~ George Orwell ~
TTG Comment: This explains to my why men and women of good will have gone to war. War to Protect Plan A , protecting a free people from tyranny, is being enslaved by a tyrannical Plan B. Sometimes the game of war engulf’s the entire playing field. There is no out-of-bounds and all spectators are forced onto the field of play. There is no place to run and hide. When this happens, I guess you just have to pick sides. I will always stand on the side of freedom and personal responsibility.
THE NEED FOR WARRIORS
“We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night
to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”
~ George Orwell ~
TTG Comment: This explains why police and the military are absolutely essential to civilization. The police and military also need to be held to higher values and standards because they carry on their shoulders the social permission to use lethal force. Without check and balances, military and police powers will always grow to the point of taking away individual freedom in the name of providing protection and safety.
“In times of universal deceit,
telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”
~ George Orwell ~
TTG Comment: This is why a commitment to rigorous honesty and healthy skepticism are so important. People in the pursuit of power can spin very convincing lies that are based on grains of truth designed to inflame emotions and turn people against each other. Without critical thinking skills, we can’t hope to tell truth from lies. Without the courage to speak our truth to power, even if there is hell to pay, we can’t hope to make a democracy work for the common good.
TTG: Comment: This slogan of George Orwell is expressed in practice by government agencies at all levels. there are more than 50 million traffic cameras alone. In addition every ATM has numerous cameras. All stores have video cameras both inside and covering the parking lots. We are not touching the NSA, FBI, or Homeland Security Cameras or the analysis of meta-data by both government and private corporations. I think the point is made.
WE ARE A SURVEILLANCE SOCIETY. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING!
GEORGE ORWELL’S LETTER TO JOEL WILLMETT
In 1944, three years before writing and five years before publishing 1984, George Orwell wrote a letter detailing the thesis of his great novel. The letter, warning of the rise of totalitarian police states that will ‘say that two and two are five,’ is reprinted from George Orwell: A Life in Letters, edited by Peter Davison and published today by Liveright. (Read it on the Internet)
To Noel Willmett
18 May 1944
Dear Mr Willmett,
Many thanks for your letter. You ask whether totalitarianism, leader-worship etc. are really on the up-grade and instance the fact that they are not apparently growing in this country 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 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.
[XVI, 2471, pp. 190—2; typewritten]
LIVE SOBER – BE RESPONSIBLE – LIVE FREE