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KneeLess
April 3rd, 2004, 10:31 PM
In chapter one, we're introduced to three slogans of Big Brother:

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

Now, most would say these are surely oxymorons, and they are. Yet, they are true in many aspects in the past and today. I'll try to outline what I'm talking about here.

War is peace. I find to relate this to war for peace, but the statement is apply to the ends, and not the means in which I'm talking about. But, isn't that one in the same? If you start a war for peace, can't that be contorted into, "when we goto war peace results, therefore the more war we fight, the more peace we have." This can be seen today, under President Bush. We're in a war agaisnt Iraq. And why? To free the people of Iraq, to make peace there. And still, there is no peace.

Freedom is slavery. "Freedom itself was attacked," Bush said. He's right, but there's one caveat: To protect freedom, we have to lessen the amount of freedom we have. Under new laws being passed, we are losing our right to privacy. One could say, "So in a sense to be truely free and free from danger, we have to be enslaved." I think that's a bit far, but to a lesser extent, it's true. Are the people of Oceania free?

Ignorance is strength. This example can best be explained through computers, in my opinion. Let's take the Microsoft security ideal, "Security through obscurity." Now because the people are ignorant, Microsoft's products are "strong". This doesn't hold true, because the community can't see what's wrong, only a select number of people can, then less input is given in. When one person figures out the problem, and can't give input, then he can exploit that problem. The problem that I speak of can also be put into the society form. If only a select number of people can actually see what's going on in the world and the government less input can be given in, and that's not always the best.

How else do you think these slogans relate to life today, if at all?

FruitandNut
April 4th, 2004, 05:34 AM
You could say than in those few lines lies a message for all time. Political (with the P in both cases) will to control and dominate, the spin, misinformation and hypocrisy used is mixed into the paint that shapes the words. It is a warning for those who think and quicksand for those who don't.

War is Peace Sounds bit like justification - the end justifies the means - a simplistic statement that can have complex out comes. Often war begets war as in the links between WW1 and WW2. Each time we seek to justify that our motivation is noble and the objective Peace.

Freedom is Slavery To be a slave is to have the burden of thought and decision making removed from your shoulders. 'Toe the line and everything will be fine'. In the UK we find that a statistically significant number of ex-forces find it hard to settle in 'civvy street', they have been used to obeying orders, to have decisions made for them. Their food, clothing, housing etc. are decided and provided for them. It is an extreme from of a 'nanny state'. When they leave this comforting cocoon-like existence, to have to think and decide for themselves, they can find traumatic. Numbers drift into drugs, alcoholism and homelessness. Their functioning has become dysfunction.
(Perhaps we can add to Orwell's party slogan - 'Function is Dysfunction'?

Ignorance is Strength Ignorance can be seen as freeing you to make many decisions and to take actions that knowledge would prevent you from indulging in. If we are ignorant as a group we can act decisively in union, we act from a strength of numbers, I am reminded of the fasci (I think that's how you spell it), the symbol of Fascism and of Roman dominance of their Empire - united we stand, divided we fall.
I see it in 'hood fights and in group rioting.
The thoughtful protest and act in a more 'mature and dignified' way.


ps. I am amazed at how packed the book is with imagery and metaphor.

, and the clocks were striking thirteen, a mataphor for 'strange and disturbing times, of the world gone mad, and of new control and different reasoning. -A Napoleonic like attempt to change even time. (Napoleon changed the calendar) A time for dysfunction.

Winston Smith, the hero and the everyman combined.

Perhaps at some stage we can 'play' spot the metaphor and then follow with an explanation or explanations.

Meng Bomin
April 4th, 2004, 11:54 AM
Here's my take on their meaning.

War is Peace: War passifies the public. By always being at war, the government (big brother) can exploit nationalism and maintain a peaceful hold on the people of Oceania as demonstrated by the "Hate".

Freedom is Slavery: I would have to say that this is refering to freedom to make decisions as being the slavery to your decisions. When you make decisions, especially bad decisions, you must endure their consequences. When someone is making decisions for you, you are "free" of all the responsibility involved with those decisions.

Ignorance is strength: Ignorance of what is really going on can increase nationalism. As I have not read past Chapter 1, I do not know how accurate the imagery in the "Hate" was, but I got a sense that it wasn't accurate at all.

Meng Bomin
April 4th, 2004, 08:13 PM
On a more general note:
Do you think that such a society could exist?
I find it hard to imagine the means such a government coming to power and even more, the means of staying in power. I guess that once they had subdued a population for over a generation, they could brainwash everyone into following them, but I think that it would be incredibly difficult.

KneeLess
April 4th, 2004, 10:48 PM
Neverending, I do not think it would be that hard at all. As long you have a strong following in the first place (think Third Reich), then you have the first generation mildly brainwashed. That's okay for now. But the second generation is were the real patriotism really begins. You can brainwash them from the minute they are born. And so forth with the third and fourth generations. But of course there are two stumbling blocks.

The first generation loosing interest. I think the best solution for that would be to install a socialist type government, with slight democratic leanings. Some basic rights, maybe limited free speech, limited freedom of press, etc. This would be instead of harsh despotism. Of course this is just as much of a risk as would be the despotism. Maybe radicals beforehand would think that the government is taking things too slowly and it would try to overrun the government. At this point, the goverment would just try to please the people, all the while increasing the opression. If many radicals thought progress wasn't being made, then just try to appease them, constantly increasing totalitarianism. This would go on for thirty-fourty years, until the second generation (i.e., the zombies) would be taking control. At this point, with second, third, fourth, etc., generations the only problems that I can forsee is foreign influence. This is where "IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH" comes into play. If the zombies don't know democracy exists, then how could they want it. This is how it's always been and how it always will be. At least, that's the way it looks in Oceania.

FruitandNut
April 4th, 2004, 11:19 PM
The biggest problem in holding on to that sort of power are the 'Brutus' type people around you and pressures and info. coming in from freer societies. Now that we have the Web, satellite TV/Radio and mobile phones it makes a totalitarian state an increasingly improbable long term prospect. I am sure even our 'Dear Leader' in N. Korea has a problem or two in this respect.

'Back to back, belly to belly, we don't give a damn 'cos we're done dead already...................at the Zombie Jamboree', is unlikely now.

tinkerbell
April 4th, 2004, 11:58 PM
How I see these images apply to today's society..

War is Peace..The obvious..The believe that in order to attain Peace sometimes there must be struggle or war.

Freedom is slavery, I see a big Mastercard or Visa ad...The Freedom of Mastercard. Do we own the items we purchase in a store? Or do those items enslave us?Our choices set us up for a life of servitude. How free is Freedom? What is the cost of Freedom? Self control, failure, bills, Failure,neglect,CHOICES! Free to make choices, free to pay the consequences.

Ignornace is Strength can be easily applied to society. It's that "Ignorance is Bliss" feeling."Let someone else worry about it." "Our governement will take care of it." If we don't know of the atrocities of the world, we can't be held responsible for not doing anything about them. Then our government can decide how to spend our dollars.
It could also be easily applied here to the Great state of Florida. Students must pass the FCAT in order to graduate, the could be an A student, but if they fail the FCAT they will not move forward.The government put's out this banner that they are trying to improve education standards, yet they seem to refuse to be proactive in funding schools or teachers. The job doesn't attract the best or most qualified & the budget doesn't allow for growth. It seems to be another way to keep the lil people in their place.What do they have to worry about, the "supporters" children are in private schools anyway.

I think it wouldn't be so far fetched an idea for such a society to exist.It seems most people want to be managed and told what to do and how to live...Most people are lazy and take things at face value.We Accept what the boob tube, magazines and whatever Self help guru of the week tells us. Look how many people enslave themselves to Atkins, when deep down we all know eating carrots is a healthy choice, eating Bacon is not. Yet, we are ready to toss out the food pyramid and devote ourselves to high fat diets because someone in a lab coat with MD at the end of his name says it's "perfectly healthy." Our better judgement knows better, but watch all the sheep follow, looking for the "easy" way out. Looking to be led.

Meng Bomin
April 5th, 2004, 10:36 AM
As long you have a strong following in the first place (think Third Reich)
Yes, but the following would have to be greater given that Oceania is much larger than Germany. I just think that it would be difficult to subdue all first generation opposition elements as to rid the country of knowlege of democracy. Of course, once you have accomplished that, the rest is easy. Since we don't have much background on the country, it is hard to say how it got there to begin with, how big it is, and if Eurasia and Eastasia actually exist.

KevinBrowning
April 5th, 2004, 03:56 PM
I read about half (I think) of 1984 a long time ago. For this discussion I'm not reading ahead, so i don't get confused and put in comments originating from later chapters (although the introduction, which is actually a summary, in the main page of the link given is a huge spoiler, I wish I had been warned. Oh well). The Two Minutes Hate is quite fascinating. It has all the elements of effective group hypnosis. But back to the topic of this thread. The Three Slogans of the Party.

WAR IS PEACE. I don't agree with those who are saying this means "The only way to establish peace is through war." I agree this is often true, but I think what it means in this context is "People are only peaceful when they have a scapegoat, that scapegoat being the enemy the people are at war with."

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. Having someone tell you what to do all the time makes you much freer, in actuality, than having to make your own choices, according to the Party.

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. "What you don't know can't hurt you," the old saying goes.

Somewhat superficial and obvious remarks, I know, but we only have the first chapter to work with so far. I look forward to an interesting and thought-provoking month of discussion on this great book. ;)

Linz
April 6th, 2004, 01:13 PM
GREAT ANALOGIES ABOVE!!! :)

This also brings to mind communist Russia. People against the new government disappearing in the night without charges or trials. The use of film (cinematography) to persuade or "brainwash" citizens with ridicules propaganda. I am anxious to read on and hear more about these Two Minutes Hate, how exactly they are drawing in even unbelievers in the brotherhood like Winston and bring out the most vial thoughts ...murder.

WatsonGlenn
April 6th, 2004, 07:35 PM
I have read "1984" before and so my interpretations cannot help but be affected by that but I am trying to reread each chapter one at a time. Here is my take on the slogans in Chapter 1.

WAR IS PEACE:
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

These slogans are proof of the successful final stages of a long range project by the government to change the very meaning of words. In reality of course war is not peace and ignorance is not strength but oh wouldn’t those in charge love it if the people could be convinced these slogans were true.

I am reminded of Clinton debating the meaning if the word "is" and denying that oral sex was in fact sex. I am also reminded of the homosexual community's redefinition of words like 'gay' and 'phobia' and the ludicrous claim that male pedophiles who have sex with boys are not gay.

By controlling vocabulary the government is taking the first step towards mind control. In fact by controlling the medium of vocabulary there is no need to control thought. There won't be anything left to think about. Form follows function.

Examples in our own culture abound. He is not homosexual, which has such a negative feel to it, he is gay, which has such a nice wholesome sound. Its not a war its a police action. Its not a conquest its a liberation. Its not a religious war between cultures, despite the 1300 years of evidence that it is, its just a few confused Muslim terrorists.

The different ministries mentioned in the first chapter show the same predilection to word play. The shortening of the ministries names to a shorthand version is a major step in redefining the feel and meaning of the words. Its like changing Christmas to X-mas. Soon Truth, Peace, Love, and plenty will be as forgotten and Christ.

Here is a quote from the book
"The Ministry of Truth, which concerned itself with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts. The Ministry of Peace, which concerned itself with war. The Ministry of Love, which maintained law and order. And the Ministry of Plenty, which was responsible for economic affairs." Even without reading any further the reader understands these ministries have nothing to do with truth, peace, love and plenty, in fact just the opposite. The horror is that so many people are fooled by this and that this might actually happen in fact has already happened in real life.

Of course the parallels to the Soviet Union are obvious. The Three Year Plan in place of the Stalin's Five Year Plan, the people who disappear in the night like so many did during Stalin's Great Purge, and the general low quality if consumer goods so emblematic of the Soviet Union's economy.

KneeLess
April 6th, 2004, 08:36 PM
These slogans are proof of the successful final stages of a long range project by the government to change the very meaning of words. In reality of course war is not peace and ignorance is not strength but oh wouldn’t those in charge love it if the people could be convinced these slogans were true.
True, but you don't believe as Kevin Browning put it so well, "I think what it means in this context is 'People are only peaceful when they have a scapegoat, that scapegoat being the enemy the people are at war with.'"?

By controlling vocabulary the government is taking the first step towards mind control. In fact by controlling the medium of vocabulary there is no need to control thought. There won't be anything left to think about. Form follows function.
I don't quite follow you. Okay, so the government somewhat changes the meaning of the words, so their actual definition is not clear. But, people can still think right? I don't see how controling vocabulary totally elimiates (or lowers to a very low degree) the need for mind control (the three minute hate, brainwashing from an early age, etc.).


Of course the parallels to the Soviet Union are obvious.
Correct, so let's not reduce this great novel into a mere story about Stalin's Russia. :)

Com'on debaters, let's get more threads on this chapter going.

Meng Bomin
April 6th, 2004, 08:38 PM
I think that what he is refering to may come later in the book.

chadn737
April 6th, 2004, 10:46 PM
I don't quite follow you. Okay, so the government somewhat changes the meaning of the words, so their actual definition is not clear. But, people can still think right? I don't see how controling vocabulary totally elimiates (or lowers to a very low degree) the need for mind control (the three minute hate, brainwashing from an early age, etc.).

I dont think its so much that it eliminates all unorthodox thought, but it does make it very hard for such thoughts to exist. When you have no words in which to express and concieve your concepts with then there is very little chance of you ever being able to communicate those thoughts. If you cant communicate concepts such as freedom then those ideals will die with you.

WatsonGlenn
April 7th, 2004, 08:58 AM
let's not reduce this great novel into a mere story about Stalin's Russia. :)

The USSR was merely the first primitive steps toward the truely horrible society Orwell envisioned. Stalin ruled through fear. Big Brother is moving towards automatic almost autonomic obediance based on a complete lack of awareness of any other choice but to obey. Stalin said follow me or else. Big Brother is moving towards the goal of not even needing the "or else."

For example the girl with the scarlet sash. She has reached the point where she and those like here cannot even concieve of a world filled with choices. You don't need to threaten her to obey she simply does. She does not need a chastity belt soon she won't even need the sash.

KneeLess
April 7th, 2004, 11:29 PM
Chadn737, and WatsonGlenn, you both have procured a thought in me nessesary of great thought, concerning the role that language plays in a society. Before I merely thought that it was a tool to communicate, but he who controls the lines of communication, controls the communicators, does he not?

The USSR was merely the first primitive steps toward the truely horrible society Orwell envisioned. Stalin ruled through fear. Big Brother is moving towards automatic almost autonomic obediance based on a complete lack of awareness of any other choice but to obey. Stalin said follow me or else. Big Brother is moving towards the goal of not even needing the "or else."
Well, if you have automatic obediance, and never another thought, you can't exactly be unhappy, right? Kind of like the story of Wu-Ming (http://www.serve.com/cmtan/buddhism/Stories/cucumber.html), in the fact that he, although not fully capable of thought (he was mentally handicapped), was completely happy just eating his cucumbers. Many people "mistook" him as an amazing monk who understood life completely. Did he really understand life, or was he just dazed and confused? Is the girl with the scarlet sash really unhappy because of her oppresive government, or is she completely happy? Is happiness ever a factor? Not anymore. Is she content with her life? I would say so. With America being the land of the free, and one of the highest suicide rates, I wonder if free is really the best thing sometimes.

WatsonGlenn
April 8th, 2004, 08:01 AM
Chadn737, and WatsonGlenn, you both have procured a thought in me nessesary of great thought, concerning the role that language plays in a society. Before I merely thought that it was a tool to communicate, but he who controls the lines of communication, controls the communicators, does he not?

Its not just a matter of controlling the lines of communication like the Internet or TV. Big Brother is trying to control the very nature of vocabulary.


Well, if you have automatic obediance, and never another thought, you can't exactly be unhappy, right? Kind of like the story of Wu-Ming (http://www.serve.com/cmtan/buddhism/Stories/cucumber.html), in the fact that he, although not fully capable of thought (he was mentally handicapped), was completely happy just eating his cucumbers. Many people "mistook" him as an amazing monk who understood life completely. Did he really understand life, or was he just dazed and confused? Is the girl with the scarlet sash really unhappy because of her oppresive government, or is she completely happy? Is happiness ever a factor? Not anymore. Is she content with her life? I would say so. With America being the land of the free, and one of the highest suicide rates, I wonder if free is really the best thing sometimes.

Ignorance is bliss for some but not for all.

FruitandNut
April 8th, 2004, 08:35 AM
The long lines of communication were an Achilles Heel of any Soviet control. Entire non existent factories(a tractor factory the other side of the Urals for example) etc. would send back information that would be digested by the Party machine and further distort their own 'inner circle' picture, of what was real or permitted to be real. The next 'five year plan' would be in danger of floundering on myths and Party wishes, when faced with such reality. There was an 'industry' that spawned hundreds of ironic and sarcastic jokes about the achievability of true Communism. Rumours and dissent although muted, survived, awaiting their moment.

Even the Tsars 'authoritarianism and autocracy' appreciated problems in controlling distances and were resistant to building railways. They saw the advantages being outweighed by the disadvantages.
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Brief happy moments have a heighted poignancy when set against dangerous and
repressive backcloths. Witness those brief encounters in Dr.Zhivago. Winston and Julia would have felt a similar enhanced thrill of the moment. In some way not unlike the buzz some people get from illicit activity. Their love for eachother being daring and challenging, a white rose set among thorns, a sweetness amongst the bitter aloes of repression..

WatsonGlenn
April 8th, 2004, 10:09 AM
Advances in technology have brough such a distopian furture a little closer though I still think it was be impossible to create a long term stable system that had such a level of control. It would last a couple of generations at the most then would collapse due to a lack of innovation and technical competancy.

KevinBrowning
May 6th, 2004, 03:56 PM
Chadn737, and WatsonGlenn, you both have procured a thought in me nessesary of great thought, concerning the role that language plays in a society. Before I merely thought that it was a tool to communicate, but he who controls the lines of communication, controls the communicators, does he not?

Well, if you have automatic obediance, and never another thought, you can't exactly be unhappy, right? Kind of like the story of Wu-Ming (http://www.serve.com/cmtan/buddhism/Stories/cucumber.html), in the fact that he, although not fully capable of thought (he was mentally handicapped), was completely happy just eating his cucumbers. Many people "mistook" him as an amazing monk who understood life completely. Did he really understand life, or was he just dazed and confused? Is the girl with the scarlet sash really unhappy because of her oppresive government, or is she completely happy? Is happiness ever a factor? Not anymore. Is she content with her life? I would say so. With America being the land of the free, and one of the highest suicide rates, I wonder if free is really the best thing sometimes.
Far Eastern religion usually focuses on achieving enlightenment, but what they mean by that is not omniscience. They mean something like being rid of all concerns and worries. With new knowledge comes new unhappiness, think how much happier you were when you were a little child. So, they support the theory that that lack of knowledge, i.e. ignorance, actually leads to supreme knowledge. I disagree with this, I think acquiring knowledge is important because it lets one understand and interpret the world around them, and decide what is good and what is bad. But knowledge is not the ultimate goal, this is where the gnostics were wrong. Salvation is the ultimate goal, meaning while knowledge is important, one cannot achieve "enlightenment" through one's own personal effort, one must recognize that we have a limited intellect and understanding of the universe, and learn to be content treating others as we would like to be treated.

KneeLess
May 6th, 2004, 04:23 PM
With new knowledge comes new unhappiness, think how much happier you were when you were a little child. So, they support the theory that that lack of knowledge, i.e. ignorance, actually leads to supreme knowledge.
Please, name one religion that teaches ignorance to be a good thing.

Salvation is the ultimate goal, meaning while knowledge is important, one cannot achieve "enlightenment" through one's own personal effort, one must recognize that we have a limited intellect and understanding of the universe, and learn to be content treating others as we would like to be treated.
Religious opinion can't be argued because it's just that, opinion. I believe that you are in complete control of yourself, and can obtain surpreme enlightenment through bettering yourself and meditation. Does that make me right? Of course not. So, what is your point in this case?

KevinBrowning
May 6th, 2004, 08:17 PM
Please, name one religion that teaches ignorance to be a good thing.

Religious opinion can't be argued because it's just that, opinion. I believe that you are in complete control of yourself, and can obtain surpreme enlightenment through bettering yourself and meditation. Does that make me right? Of course not. So, what is your point in this case?
"Ignorance" was an incorrect word for what I am trying to express. In Buddhism and other Far Eastern religions (yes, I consider Buddhism a religion), the ultimate goal is transcendence, basically, rising above everyday desires and wants. So it is obtaining satisfaction by letting go of trivial knowledge, which brings only worries and concerns. Do you see what I am saying? I am saying that the way I see it, some Asian religions do actually advocate the ignorance (for lack of a better word) is bliss mindset, but not in the way one would normally take that phrase. If I am incorrect and/or simply blabbering off-topic, then we can discuss it further in a different thread, if you want.

KneeLess
May 7th, 2004, 11:39 PM
"Ignorance" was an incorrect word for what I am trying to express. In Buddhism and other Far Eastern religions (yes, I consider Buddhism a religion), the ultimate goal is transcendence, basically, rising above everyday desires and wants. So it is obtaining satisfaction by letting go of trivial knowledge, which brings only worries and concerns. Do you see what I am saying? I am saying that the way I see it, some Asian religions do actually advocate the ignorance (for lack of a better word) is bliss mindset, but not in the way one would normally take that phrase. If I am incorrect and/or simply blabbering off-topic, then we can discuss it further in a different thread, if you want.
You have a point, but it is a simple one of misinformation. I've studied Buddhism and the ultimate goal is transcendence, and one of the things that can help you to reach nirvana would be to let go of some materialistic things, such as a computer, or a television. A better word than ignorance for this (which is really a slap in the face if you think about it) would be apathy. Sure, stary a thread.

KevinBrowning
May 8th, 2004, 11:30 AM
You have a point, but it is a simple one of misinformation. I've studied Buddhism and the ultimate goal is transcendence, and one of the things that can help you to reach nirvana would be to let go of some materialistic things, such as a computer, or a television. A better word than ignorance for this (which is really a slap in the face if you think about it) would be apathy. Sure, stary a thread.
I guess if a moderator gets mad, we can make a new thread, but I am lazy right now. You are right, I was trying to use an appropriate word for how Buddhists attempt to accomplish transcendence of the material, and apathy is a better word, by far. So, nothing more to discuss about that I suppose. That was pretty off-topic anyway.