George Orwell’s classic novel, “1984” is a terrifying glimpse at human nature and a future that might have been.
In the dystopia of Oceania, formerly known as Great Britain, that is constantly at war with the other world powers, Winston Smith, a
mild mannered social servant, begins to realize that just maybe tyranny isn’t as great as everyone thinks it is.
After purchasing a diary, an unsavory but not quite illegal action, Winston begins questioning the constant vigilance of Big Brother,
the ominous figure that is all seeing and all knowing.
Big Brother is able to watch everyone by the use of cameras in homes, on the streets, and everywhere in between.
Big Brother controls the population of Oceania through fear.
One wrong word that might suggest anti-party thoughts, a facial expression that reveals individual ideas and the next thing one
knows is imprisonment with the eventual vaporization and deletion of character.
Winston spent his life rewriting, or rather correcting, the past.
As part of his job or striving to avoid the Thought Police, an organization bent upon the hindering of thoughts against the Party and
Big Brother. Winston puts himself in danger when he meets and falls in love with Julia, a beautiful and rebellious Party member.
Together, they try to find a way to join a secret society, called the Brotherhood, that is against the Party.
I think there is a particular irony in reading “1984” in the year 2013, in which personal privacy is nearly obsolete.
No one really takes notice of all the cameras that are constantly watching. Cameras are common fixtures on traffic lights, ATM
machines, and even on the sides of city buildings. When out in public, we are under the eye of a socially acceptable Big Brother.
Even at home, private lives are hardly private. Social networking sites make this a choice, making it possible to tell your social
network followers where you are, who you are with and what you are eating. Everyone wants everyone to know everything about them.
The thought about who watches us; is it just a lonesome security guard?
The government? Does our information just fill some sort of void?
Orwell would certainly not have a Facebook, nor would he find it necessary to Instagram his favorite dinners.
He would appreciate his ability to have personal freedom, unlike so many of us now.
In reality, the information we share probably will not get us vaporized, but is the smallest inkling that someone cares about what kind
of coffee we’re drinking really worth the risk?
“1894” reveals the conflicts and affects from an all-controling government.
Columnist Paige Jurgensen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org