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KneeLess
April 8th, 2004, 12:03 AM
As we can see in Chapter 2, the children are scary. The nine year old boy, threatening Winston like he was a criminal, and like the boy was a member of the Thoughtpolice saying such things as, "I'll shoot you, I'll vaporize you, I'll send you to the salt mines!" Of course, this was play, but when does it stop becoming play? I guess it does when the boy is actually holding a gun, actually holding it at a "criminal's" head, ready to vaporize him. In the chapter, it goes on to talk about the child-heros and how the turn their traitor parents into the Party. Yes, it is horrifying. But, to what effect is the brainwashing? Do you think they could break from it later in life? Are they trapped in a sense of love for the Party fpr the rest of their lives?

Do you think child brainwashing is in effect today?

FruitandNut
April 8th, 2004, 03:31 AM
Through his book and the imagery of 1984 totalitarianism, Orwell highlights an example of the political adult seeking power and control over its youth.

Since time 'immoral' adults have always sought to mould and shape the next generations to their own mind set. The 'Young Pioneers' and the 'Hitler Youth' in the last century were far from being exceptional. Was it Pope Gregory or St. Augustine or Ignatius? - who said, 'give me the boy and I will show you the man'.

Youthful brains, 'crave' for knowledge. They are more trusting and less challenging. They wish to be part of the crowd, to go on marches and camps together, to be part of the herd, to be accepted. Arn't The Scouts and Guides just a Christian and gentler expression of this phenomenon? They are after all the political gene pool and our stake in the future.

If all families have a 'fifth column', an informer in their midst, this can be seen by The Party (the only tolerated party), as being a cheap and effective means of controlling and suppressing dissent.

The children of the Kymer Rouge and the child militias in Africa at present, are examples of brutalisation and exploitation. In a more 'peaceful' vein we 'see' the armies of low paid poor children in the Third World working long hours when they should be at school getting a formal education.

We also 'see' them as often remarkably resilient and responding generously to kindness. It is as though there is an innate goodness trapped within, just awaiting its moment or opportunity to emerge.

ps. In a presentation I made at University, entitled 'Was the Hitler Youth an example of a lost generation', my conclusion was mixed. I pointed to those who still express an empathy with Nazi ideals (and they were fuzzy) and others who turned their backs on such concepts and built the 'new', more peaceful and prosperous democratic 'West' Germany.

WatsonGlenn
April 8th, 2004, 08:07 AM
This reminded me of the young children of Florence Italy who seved as a sort of morality patrol under Savanarolla during the Renaisance. These children would turn in their parents if they were caught acting in an immoral manner.

Its also interesting how today many young children threaten their parents with calling the police or DHR if they are spanked. And some parent are really cowed by this threat. Children really can be cruel little bastards sometimes.

FruitandNut
April 8th, 2004, 08:56 AM
The child's reference to vapourization could be symbolic of Party attitudes. That those who do not conform have no value and might as well not exist. Politically they are nothing, zero, zilch, roughly and mataphorically equating with being vapourized. The child at this point appears as a robot, but many people who have gone through this kind of experience can begin to question.

A 'current' governor of a political prison in North Korea has described his own misgivings about the poison gas experiments that take place there - they include experiments with whole families, under the guise of collective guilt. Although still a party man, 'we' can see the cracks in his political reasoning beginning to form.

WatsonGlenn
April 8th, 2004, 10:20 AM
The child's reference to vapourization could be symbolic of Party attitudes. That those who do not conform have no value and might as well not exist.


Thats is certainly true but I was struck by the blatent cruelty of the child. The Lord of the Flies syndrome was in full effect. The adults are present in 1984 but they had no power and so the children were allowed to run free and let their base nature flurish unrestrained. Unfortunately too many children are growing up like that today.

Giving children that much power is a recipe for disaster and I think is another reason why such an Orwellian system could not survive for more than a couple of generations.

Can anyone imagine the child with a gun growing up to be a productive member of society? I can't. Imagine a whole generation like him with the resposabilty of running a country. The could'nt. Not enough of them would have the discipline to study in areas like math or science. Nor would they have the character to truly understand the liberal arts.

They would all be like little Hitlers. Like Hitler they might have the talent for art or science but they lack the discipline to truly study and work at it.

Meng Bomin
April 8th, 2004, 12:16 PM
I wonder when they start treating chilren as adults. The ones that hang onto childhood longer may have a shock once they reach that age. That may cause instability in the system.

FruitandNut
April 8th, 2004, 03:16 PM
Ah, but who really has the power, the child or the adults manipulating the mind of the child? The child may be seen just as much a victim. How much freedom of will does the child possess in such circumstances? It could even be a simple case of do as we say, or the rest of your family suffers. After all everywhere is monitored, even the toilets it seems.

I thought of 'bring in' the 'Lord of the Flies', myself, but parental control was not directly present in that case. It was more akin to, 'while the cat's away, the mice will play'.

Big Brother, the omnicient system, appears to have the ultimate control, the children may think that they rule, but put a foot wrong and they will be called to book.

KneeLess
April 8th, 2004, 04:39 PM
I wonder when they start treating chilren as adults. The ones that hang onto childhood longer may have a shock once they reach that age. That may cause instability in the system.
I believe that the Spies is just a youth group, and after that group, they would enter another, "growing up" to the next group, the Youth League. In that league they would be trained to be working adults, all the time remaining faithful to big brother.

Big Brother, the omnicient system, appears to have the ultimate control, the children may think that they rule, but put a foot wrong and they will be called to book.
But the thing is, can they put in a wrong foot in at all? Like we discussed in the Chapter 1 thread, these kids grow up from birth knowing that Big Brother is more important than family. Even the thought of questioning your alliegance to Big Brother is never even mentioned, you just don't. The fact I'm wondering is, with child brainwashing, when can the child break out, if at all?

Can anyone imagine the child with a gun growing up to be a productive member of society? I can't. Imagine a whole generation like him with the resposabilty of running a country. The could'nt. Not enough of them would have the discipline to study in areas like math or science. Nor would they have the character to truly understand the liberal arts.
Very true. But I believe in these groups, the Spies and the Youth League, that they would see by a series of tests who is smart (maybe even, dispose of the truely intelligent), who has artisic talent, and sort them into possible jobs. Artists would draw Big Brother murals and propeganda posters, while the intelligent would devise new methods of destruction, etc.

But hey, the children are our future.

Meng Bomin
April 8th, 2004, 08:07 PM
Ah, but who really has the power, the child or the adults manipulating the mind of the child? The child may be seen just as much a victim. How much freedom of will does the child possess in such circumstances? It could even be a simple case of do as we say, or the rest of your family suffers. After all everywhere is monitored, even the toilets it seems.Yes, some adults are the manipulators, but others are the manipulated.


I believe that the Spies is just a youth group, and after that group, they would enter another, "growing up" to the next group, the Youth League. In that league they would be trained to be working adults, all the time remaining faithful to big brother.
That would make sense. Also, they could dispose of those who were having a hard time adapting.

FruitandNut
April 9th, 2004, 01:19 AM
At least some of the children may have come to realise they were living a lie. Winston and Julia were not unique, no system is totally water tight. Given time the leaky seams burst. Often a 'weakness' is the demise of the 'charismatic' leader if he/she is replaced by someone with less 'appeal'. Often subtle jokes and ironies are picked up as the children grow older. Gross excessess can have others recoil or question what is 'right'.

Orwell's main political concern was in seeing a totalitarian regime initiate a domino effect.
Because this has not taken place, such regimes will always come under great pressure from 'the outside world'. They have to indulge in some kind of trading and political contact. Information and rumour has a habit of spreading, even to children. The alternative is to go to war, but that does not delay the questioning and doubt forever.

WatsonGlenn
April 9th, 2004, 06:34 AM
Very true. But I believe in these groups, the Spies and the Youth League, that they would see by a series of tests who is smart (maybe even, dispose of the truly intelligent), who has artistic talent, and sort them into possible jobs. Artists would draw Big Brother murals and propaganda posters, while the intelligent would devise new methods of destruction, etc.

I like the idea that BB would 'disappear' the truly intelligent just like Stalin got rid of all the best generals and politicians during the Great Purge. I don't think such a regime would really need great artists. They would be too dangerous. Have you ever seen the quality of art in the Soviet Union. The propaganda posters are wooden and emotionless, little better than average comic book art. The statues are large and anatomically correct but lacking in any grace. Its art by committee, art for the state. There is no individuality in it, how could there be?

The early Soviet Union would put farmers in charge of factories and engineers behind the plow in an absurd attempt at promoting equality. This practice was later abandoned and the USSR did produce some technically great scientists in an attempt to compete with the West but none were truly original.

That seems to be the situation with Oceana. It is one of at least three states in the world but there is not sense that the other states are truly different. The USSR fell because it could no compete with the West. Oceana does not face that problem. I don't want to ruin the story for anyone but it already seems that the only real threat to Oceana is internal.

xennaq
April 9th, 2004, 10:05 AM
In a sense aren't we all brainwashed. Most of us believe America's the 'best", and free speech and other stuff like that. I'm not saying theses things are bad but when is it brainwashinmg and when is it just being brought up a certain way?

KevinBrowning
April 9th, 2004, 01:22 PM
In a sense aren't we all brainwashed. Most of us believe America's the 'best", and free speech and other stuff like that. I'm not saying theses things are bad but when is it brainwashinmg and when is it just being brought up a certain way?
I think it is brainwashing when you are forced to have only one, accepted opinion, when any questioning or disagreement is crushed. In the United States, children are taught to think for themselves in most schools, to look at the facts and make their own decision. In places like Iraq, children were taught to love Saddam, still are taught to love Islam, to be rabidly loyal to either Shia or Sunni teachings, and hateful and fearful of infidels. There is no attitude of open-mindedness or tolerance. Not everyone in America is tolerant, certainly, but we do not brainwash our youth.

Iluvatar
April 9th, 2004, 01:37 PM
I think it is brainwashing when you are forced to have only one, accepted opinion, when any questioning or disagreement is crushed. In the United States, children are taught to think for themselves in most schools, to look at the facts and make their own decision. In places like Iraq, children were taught to love Saddam, still are taught to love Islam, to be rabidly loyal to either Shia or Sunni teachings, and hateful and fearful of infidels. There is no attitude of open-mindedness or tolerance. Not everyone in America is tolerant, certainly, but we do not brainwash our youth.
In the US, children are taught to believe that democracy is by far the best governmental system, and that communists and dictatorships are evil by nature. Socialism has become synonimous with oppression and totaltarianism.

I don't nessisarily dissagree with these ideas, but if I did, I would be labeled a communist and ignored. Children are brought up to believe this, and through what i consider a form of brainwashing.

WatsonGlenn
April 10th, 2004, 05:55 AM
I disagree with this whole idea about brainwashing the kids. I don't see any real brainwashing going on. The kids are simply being allowed to live without restraint. They are given a goal that is fun i.e. telling on others, and they are given a target to hate, the Eurasians and internal traitors.

There is some brainwashing going on with the adults. The act of brainwashing includes;


Isolation, periodic denial of food or water, cold and exposure, extreme stress associated with uncertainty of life or death, a continual barrage of indoctrination

Some of these factors are already clearly present in 1984 and others will arise in later chapters but I still think people often confuse simple propanganda with brainwashing, which to me is a much more one one one intensive process than what we have seen so far in chapters 1 and 2.

FruitandNut
April 10th, 2004, 01:28 PM
Any brainwashing done in the west, to its 'citizens', if indeed it may be called that, is more subtle and gentle. We are taught an accepted and 'approved' version of our history initially, Bills of Rights, pomp and ceremonial, the Scouts and Guides, the Armed Forces, media hype and jingoism; plus an almost innate longing to be a part of something good and worthwhile, all serve to influence positively our view of our country.

Most Americans think their country to be the best. Most Brits feel that we are more fortunate in many respects than Americans, but not in all areas. We also thank God that Uncle Sam came out of the Cold War as the only super power, rather than the Soviet Union. We may feel you flex your muscles too much at times, but it is usually preferable to interference USSR style.

Most experts in the area of coersion, misinformation and so called 'brainwashing' feel that it needs a constant input (like a booster injection), and surveillence to be anything like effective. In large countries in particular, this cannot be completely achievable. There are always some brains that are capable of independent thought even in the most trying and demanding of circumstances.

KneeLess
April 10th, 2004, 11:07 PM
I disagree with this whole idea about brainwashing the kids. I don't see any real brainwashing going on. The kids are simply being allowed to live without restraint. They are given a goal that is fun i.e. telling on others, and they are given a target to hate, the Eurasians and internal traitors.

Well, that is very true, but I don't think that hate, actual loathing of someone or something is innate to a child's natural being. It is something that is taught. And Watson, we don't have any idea what really goes on at Spies meetings, so who's to say that maybe 75% of the time they watch a simple movie. But in that movie, they show Eurasians beating a Oceanian, and the narrator says, "This is a day in the life of an Eurasian, who loathe humanity and everything that goes along with it. All they want is destruction, chaos. *movie flashes to a Oceanian soldier marching proudly* But Oceanians are a step above that. Support Oceania in the war agaisnt the Eurasian oppressors." Now surely all of Eurasia can't, not even the majority can hate humanity, and want destruction. We don't even know what type of government they have. We actually saw this happening at the Three-Minute Hate. The Three-Minute Hate is brainwashing, hands down. Who's to say that in the Spies they don't do the same? It would seem silly to me not to.

Any brainwashing done in the west, to its 'citizens', if indeed it may be called that, is more subtle and gentle. We are taught an accepted and 'approved' version of our history initially, Bills of Rights, pomp and ceremonial, the Scouts and Guides, the Armed Forces, media hype and jingoism; plus an almost innate longing to be a part of something good and worthwhile, all serve to influence positively our view of our country.
The actual level of brainwashing at which you speak of is so low, it's almost non-existant. Many people here are firmly against armed forces, many people hate the media, etc. We like to keep things in perspective. ;) And many people call the UK part of the West too.

FruitandNut
April 11th, 2004, 03:21 AM
KneeLess: I agree with a lot you say. (I haven't excluded UK from the rest of the west, we too are bombarded with slanted and biased information). I am challenging that such a totalitarian system can remain unchallenged in anyway. Hatred is a powerful feeling that is often self consuming. The enemy needs to be seen as 'alien' or 'sub-human' in order to treat them in an inhuman manner. One of the main reasons for Nazi death camps was that fewer of their troops were exposed to constant killing of old people, women and children. Even some of the most hardened party followers would 'break' after days of constant killing.

WatsonGlenn
April 11th, 2004, 05:59 PM
I don't think that hate, actual loathing of someone or something is innate to a child's natural being.

I disagree. Children are cruel selfish creatures that must be cvilized and taught that other people have feeling that should be respected. If they are not taught this then watch out.


The Three-Minute Hate is brainwashing, hands down. Who's to say that in the Spies they don't do the same? It would seem silly to me not to.

I guess your right.

FruitandNut
April 11th, 2004, 09:45 PM
WatsonGlenn: Ref. posting 11. I do so agree with the absurdity of some of the early Communist experiments in the Soviet Union. Experiences in China were much the same, including an attempt at no rank in an army of several millions. And the intelligentia being forced to do meanial tasks in the fields during the 'Cultural Revolution'. Intelligence was seen as suspect, and prone to challenging the system. Hitler was also suspicious of liberal values being imported through education. Similar attitudes were expressed in Cambodia during the time of the Kymer Rouge and the 'Killing Fields.' I also agree, and have also previously expressed, the intellectual reservation that such regimes can continue to avoid internal questioning and eventual serious challenge (politically and economically).

Merlin
May 5th, 2004, 01:41 PM
I disagree. Children are cruel selfish creatures that must be cvilized and taught that other people have feeling that should be respected. If they are not taught this then watch out.



I guess your right.
:mad: I diagree,My personal beleif is that a child "receives" a lot of ideas from whoever is the most influential person in their life,relation,teacher,freind,etc.Or the mainstream ideas in wherever their most fimilliar place is home,ophranage,shcool,etc.This however by no means states that children are incapable of originall ideas.

Iluvatar
May 5th, 2004, 02:56 PM
Merlin: While you are allowed to post in the book club, members are encouraged to join it first.

Merlin
May 5th, 2004, 06:19 PM
I apologize I was unawrare of the etiquette for this forum

Iluvatar
May 5th, 2004, 06:20 PM
s'ok.

WatsonGlenn
May 5th, 2004, 07:00 PM
I was thinking about this topic of kids in '1984' today in class while the students were working through this worksheet. I though you might want to take a look.

http://www.knology.net/~watson/worksheets/classroom.html

KevinBrowning
May 6th, 2004, 03:05 PM
Very interesting. I cannot imagine growing up in Germany during that time, learning to love such an evil man.