This month, George Orwell's legendary novel Nineteen Eighty-Four ("1984") turns 70 years old, and the warnings contained within the story are now more relevant than ever...
were so spot on that it almost seems like it was
used as some type of accidental instruction manual for would-be
Censorship is the norm in this world, and is so extreme that individuals can become "unpersons" who are essentially deleted from society because their ideas were considered dangerous by the establishment.
This is an idea that is
very familiar to activists and independent journalists who are being
removed from the public conversation for speaking out about
government and corporate corruption on social media.
For example, in Orwell's story,
There was also never-ending war in Orwell's story, the conditions of which would change on a regular basis, keeping the general population confused about conflicts so they give up on trying to understand what is actually going on.
Some of these predictions were merely recognitions of patterns in human history, since the idea of "unpersons" and war propaganda is nothing new.
However, Orwell had an
incredible understanding of how technology was going to progress
over the 20th century, and he was able to envision how
technology would be used by those in power to control the masses.
Orwell described "telescreens," which acted as both an entertainment device and a two-way communication device.
This type of technology
was predicted by many futurists at the time, but Orwell's prediction
was unique because he suggested that these devices would be used by
the government to spy on people, through microphones and cameras
built into the devices.
This police state was also a strong deterrent in the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four, because although many of the citizens in the book had a positive opinion of "Big Brother," it was still something that they feared, and it was a force that kept them in control.
Of course, this is not much different from the attitude that the average American or European has when confronted with,
Many of the ideas about
power and authority that were expressed in Orwell's classic are
timeless and as old as recorded history but his analysis of how
technology would amplify the destructive nature of power
was incredibly unique, especially for his time...