The story is about a man, Winston Smith, who lives in 1984 in the country Airstrip one in the continent Oceania. The continent is ruled by the Party and the face of the Party is ‘Big Brother’.
I want to tell you something about the lack of privacy and the effect of no individualism. Airstrip one is controlled by televisionscreens all over the country. In bars, houses, public areas, everywhere. These screens show the face of ‘Big Brother’ with the subscription ‘Big Brother is watching you’. They are meant to keep the people under control. The rules that the ministry of love has made, have to be followed. One of these rules is for example the chocolate ration and they can be checked by the televisionscreens. Another way to control the people is ‘The Thought Police’. This is a group of people who are looking for other people who are committing ‘thoughtcrimes’, which is an illegal kind of thought. The people who are working for the ‘Thought Police’ can be your neighbour, friend or even your husband or wife!
You are getting observed by your own children as well, in George Orwell’s 1984. The Party tries to make children devoted Party followers through ‘The Junior Spies’. The children learn what ‘Thoughtcrime’ is and keep an eye on their parents at the same time.
At the Ministry of Truth Winston changes history in newspapers and all kinds of paperwork. This is done because the Party wants the past to look good. Winston knows this is wrong, but he first doesn’t want to share his thoughts because he’s scared of the thoughtpolice, so he buys a diary to write in and express his anger against Big Brother. Eventually Winston thought he found someone to share his thoughts with, Mr. Charrington, the owner of the shop where he bought the diary, but in the end he’s the man who betrays him.
Winston hates the Party and at one moment O’Brien, a man Winston respects and of whom he supposes is against the Party as well, asks him to join The Brotherhood, a resistance group against Big Brother. O’Brien also hands Winston a book of Goldstein, the leader of the resistance, and when he read that at his appartment, which he rented from Mr. Charrington, he got caught by the Thought-police. At that moment he knew that he couldn’t trust anyone, because Mr. Charrington told him there were no televisionscreens in the appartment, but there was one behind a painting all the time. The book was a way to catch Winston with Thoughtcrime and worst of all, the book wasn’t even written by Goldstein but by O’Brien.
What I told you in this report, is that you can’t trust anyone and that observations can be done by everyone or everything in the society in George Orwell’s 1984. I don’t want to make up some stupid conspiracy theory, but how do we know whe aren’t being watched all the time? And are our computers not some kind of developed televisionscreens through what we are being observated?
Daan Blankenstijn, V5E