The Dangers of a Totalitarian Society in "1984"

Categories: Dystopia

The aspects of Freedom vs. Security portrayed in the novel 1984 bring up many questions on what true Freedom is, can "Big Brother" stop watching us, can we trade Freedom for Security and vice-versa. War is Peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. These are the beliefs that the citizens of Oceania, in the novel 1984, written by George Orwell. In this novel, Oceania, one of the three remaining world super powers, is a totalitarian, a society headed by 'Big Brother' and his regime, known as the ministries of Truth, Love, and Peace.

A totalitarian government is defined as a government characterized by a political authority which exercises absolute and centralized control, and in which the state regulates every realm of life. This is the type of world that the citizens of Oceania must live in, ruled by fear and under force every day. Throughout the novel we learn about the struggle and hatred that Winston has toward "Big Brother and his regime".

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As we come to learn that the regime has control over everything in Oceania including the people's history and language. Which brings up the topic of Freedom vs Security and how what is said in 1984 can apply to what goes on in our real world, especially our government.

1984, a Mirror of Today's Governments and their Methods of Mass Control Tanks to technology and, mostly, its applications in the field of communication, governments and business corporations from all around the world have now more power than ever to track and influence what we buy, what we listen to, what we read, what we watch and, ultimately, what we believe.

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Recent terrorist threats and armed conflicts that have taken place around the globe have prompted a general feeling of vulnerability among the international community. Now most citizens are not likely to complain, or even ask questions, when they are deprived of their individual freedoms and privacy, they assume that this reduction of individual freedoms is meant to increase the security of the population, but that couldn't be further from the truth. These sets of measures are part of a plan to satisfy the aim of those in power. They want to achieve total control of the masses and, for that purpose; they threaten the equality under the law, the individual freedom of choice, and the dignity of every individual. As David Brin (Self-proclaimed businessman) mentions "The self-preventing prophecy; or how a dose of nightmare can help tame tomorrow's peril", George Orwell, in 1984, describes a form of government which is akin to the tyrannies of today, a nation in which the masses are ill-educated and free speech is punishable.

The elites do this to preserve their short-term status, dooming society to disaster in the long term. 1984 is a book that in many ways represented the fears of the time, in which the "threats" of socialism were omnipresent on the headlines of western media. But, where Orwell thought to be portraying the dangers of communism, he ended up describing today's neoliberalism, a perfect portrait of a government that has used war as a tool to justify cutting the freedoms of the people; that has used speech codes to limit our range of thought and to kill human individuality; that uses media to create consensus and rewrite history; and that has used technology to demonize its opposition. Orwell did a great job in representing the tendencies and motivations of an oligarchic form of government, and the terrible, hopeless result of such government: humanity denied its freedom to think, to be individual, and to disagree. Humanity denied its freedom to be human. Even today we deal with the parallelisms between Orwell's 1984 and today's forms of government. Focusing on the consequences such form of government has in the society of the book and the impact it has on the characters and people of Oceania and addressing the variety of conflicts that Winston faces throughout the story in his struggle against Big Brother.

There're great similarities between George Orwell's 1984 and today's governments. Especially in the way our freedoms are reduced for the sake of, what the system likes to call, "global security". 1984 was written in 1949, but today it still remains one of the most powerful warnings ever issued against the dangers of a totalitarian society. Orwell illustrated the peril he'd witnessed in totalitarian regimes, such as those in Spain, Germany and the Soviet Union, in which absolutist leaders had taken control over the population and made use of advanced technology to perpetuate their totalitarianism. In the down of the nuclear age, the idea of a post-apocalyptic society, where everyone is monitored 24 hours a day by means of the telescreen, seemed somewhat possible, and that troubled Orwell. The title, 1984, emphasized the idea that a real post-apocalyptic era could come sooner than most people would've expected, the future society portrayed in the novel was set just 35 years after the book was written.

Updated: Nov 01, 2022
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The Dangers of a Totalitarian Society in "1984". (2019, Dec 18). Retrieved from

The Dangers of a Totalitarian Society in "1984" essay
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