Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Response to 1984 - Chris Cheeseman

"The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the middle is to change places with the High.The aim of the Low, when they have an aim---for it is an abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be moer than intermittently conscious of anything outside their daily lives --- is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal."

--Page 179

As far as the meaning of this passage, it is fairly straight forward. I think what makes the passage important is that while it seems so obvious, it is often overlooked. This description is quite accurate and is applicable to society today. It's somewhat depressing to think of it that way but it does seem to be true. People of little wealth are constantly calling for change that would give them a better state of living while people of much wealth oppose it.

We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. 

--Page 235

O'brien is denouncing revolutions and political power changes throughout history stating that they made their biggest mistake in thinking that a quest for equality would result in it. Power is everything and those who seek it will never truly wish for equality. Not only is he denouncing those in history who have attempted to institute change but he is also declaring it pointless. I don't know if it was the aim of the author but in my opinion what he says is destroying any thought of revolution or change in Winston's mind by stating that that revolution or the overthrow of the party would just result in different form of the High.

I think that given George Orwell's background and the similarity of aspects in the book and our society today, the book can be seen as a warning. I'm not an all out conspiracy theorist and I don't believe that it will happen to this extent but it is true that we have less and less freedom as time goes on. Typically we ask for it based on fear, whether it be from mass shootings or acts of terror, etc. I think that what we can take away from the book is that we need to stick up for our rights much more than we do today. We blindly trust politicians to take care of everything behind closed doors and our participation tends to just be voting for someone who we don't even know much about. We are the backbone of this country and our voice is the most effective tool for changing our society. The problem is that we don't exercise that voice and we need to start now.

Some things that I learned from the book were that history is important. It is necessary to keep records and express ourselves through writing. In the very beginning of the book Winston's whole view changed and he was freed from the mental jail of the party because he expressed his thoughts and was then able to reflect on them. Also, we need to stick up for ourselves as Americans. We allow the government to go to far and act like the proles in the novel by not making demands.

We lose more and more rights to privacy every day. Police no longer need a warrant for search and seizure as long as a dog barks at your car or house. Your internet and cell phone records can be accessed in the name of the Patriot Act with absolutely no evidence. We live in an electronic world and the rights to privacy when it comes to electronics are basically gone today and what little we have left are fading away quickly. The government has the right to kill you, an american citizen, as long as they can call you a threat. You have no right to judicial process if they decide to label you a terrorist. This whole theme of no privacy is shown clearly in 1984 by the use of the telescreens and microphones scattered throughout the world and while our world is not exactly the same we clearly are close to it. There are cameras everywhere and the gov't would have no issues accessing them. We can avoid this or reverse the process by standing up for ourselves. Though opposition wall st. was not exactly a success and very disorganized, something of similar fashion with clear aims and goals would go a long way in recalling some of these loopholes the gov't has for snooping into our lives.

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