George Orwell's 1984

I’ve just finished reading Orwell’s 1984 and it’s left me feeling quite futile if telescreens and brainwashing are what we have to look forward to in the future.

I was discussing it with a friend the other day, and we were wondering whether Orwell had any inkling as to just how much of an insight he had into the future of humanity. I hate to sound depressing but his book has made me really think. 1984 provides no hope whatsoever for the future of mankind, implying that we evolve to become mindless robots that can be manipulated by a merciless oligarchy.

And the idea of the proles; Orwell depicts them as being totally unaware of being fed lies that they believe to be reality. But if one thinks about it, it’s sort of already occurring in our society today. Well, what I mean is that it’s not difficult to see aspects of it peering through our everyday life. Did you ever think perhaps we are the proles? That we are the ignorant mass that could do something about the way the world is but are just totally naïve to the fact that this is the case?

If what we felt was reality was actually a lie would we prefer to know the truth, regardless of how horrible it may be? Would we take the red or the blue pill?

My friend argued that if the ‘world was really corrupt, damaged and beyond repair’ then she would prefer the lie, and take the blue pill. I on the other hand would have to take the red one. Why live the lie, despite it being the happiest thing you have envisaged (although in 1984 even the lie is pretty bleak), if you know that the truth is out there waiting to be found? My exact words to my friend were:

Maybe it’s ‘cos I’m a theologian, but I’d rather be told the truth, as the truth is the only thing worth knowing.

I said that then, but obviously I cannot say for definite that given the situation that I wouldn’t change my mind. But I still cannot help but fail to see the rationale in living a lie if you have the choice to choose to pursue the truth.

Credit to Andrei Robu for the image.

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