Controlling the Past in George Orwell’s Book 1984

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George Orwell, a significant literary figure, opposed communism and despised totalitarianism.

In 1949, George Orwell released a cautionary book titled 1984, which presents a dystopian society where the ‘Party’ holds absolute power over every facet of life, controlling people’s perceptions and thoughts. Orwell’s portrayal is both unsettling and profound, highlighting how manipulation and domination can profoundly impact human existence. The novel emphasizes the significance of history by demonstrating that it can be manipulated to create an eternal truth if altered.

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The white males in power recreated history to shape the world according to their desires and gain control over the public. They rewrote books to match their agenda and confiscated any unwanted material, giving them complete control over the past. This control extended to the present time and allowed them to manipulate the future. The Party’s motto reflects this ideology: “Those who control the past, control the future; Those who control the future control the past.”

Through manipulation of all available forms of information, the Party exercises complete authority over our beliefs. As a result, we are compelled to blindly comply and become innocent followers. By influencing the perceptions of the population, they wield immense power, enabling them to undertake various actions, including military interventions, as highlighted in the book. Their ultimate goal is to establish a singular ruling dictator, who will reign indefinitely and maintain control over the future. Concurrently, the Party exercises dominion over the present, allowing them to oppress it at will. They meticulously rewrite literature and recreate photographs, shaping them to fit their fictitious narratives of economic prosperity and military triumph.

The party created a positive and successful image of itself in order to gain the support of the people. The only version of history accessible to them was the party’s biased and fictionalized account of the past. Additionally, the concept of “doublethink” was introduced in the novel, which suggested that 3 + 3 could equal 7. This served the party’s convenience as it manipulated the human mind, body, and spirit to accept this as a valid answer. Overall, Orwell aimed to depict the significant bias that arises from history being told from the perspective of a white, wealthy, educated, European male.

These individuals shaped history according to their own ethical perspectives, determining whether it aligned with their future goals. Furthermore, the act of documenting history often resulted in errors, as obtaining a complete and detailed account of events proved challenging. Consequently, these individuals had to fill in these gaps, potentially introducing biases to their narratives, whether intentionally or unintentionally. This pattern continues into the 21st century where a dominant nation exercises control over the media, employing techniques such as subliminal messaging, two-way television, newspapers, and computer viruses that pose a threat to information systems. The global repercussions of these actions compel the public to adhere to the rules, regulations, and viewpoints of that particular nation.

The manipulation of the human mind is a dangerous concept, as it could lead to world domination by influencing people’s political and ethical views, essentially brainwashing them. Orwell warned about the potential effects of totalitarian policies that were emerging after World War II, which are still developing today. However, Orwell exaggerated the effects and beliefs in the novel, as they may not be as extreme in reality.

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Controlling the Past in George Orwell’s Book 1984. (2017, Aug 01). Retrieved from

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