1984, Science-Fiction or Reality
“On each landing, opposite the lift shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran';(Orwell 3). The novel 1984 follows Winston Smith, a worker at the Ministry of Truth, who lives in a world where the government watches every move you make and attempts to control all your thoughts. Winston’s job is to change the past so his government can hold a tighter grip over the present and eventually the future. The government even has the ability to make its citizens believe that 2+2=5. Though all this may seem purely science fiction, 1984 subtly parallels our reality in many ways.
In 1984 the government was able to watch every move their citizens made by the use of telescreens, helicopters and spies. “In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a blue bottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the police patrol snooping into people’s windows';(Orwell 4). However unlikely it may seem, our government has the capability to watch us just as “the party'; watches the citizens of Oceania.
As we speak, hundreds of satellites orbit our planet, each capable of watching everything we do outside. This technological advancement highly mimics that of the telescreens in 1984. If our government wished, it could use helicopters to peer into our windows just as “the party'; did in the novel. “‘I didn’t want to say anything in the lane,’ she went on, ‘in case there’s a mike hidden there’';(Orwell 125). The mikes that can hear your conversation are much like the cellular phones in our society. Cell phones have become common place but perhaps that was not by chance. A cell phones works by sending signals through the air, which could very easily be picked up by an outside source. If they so choose, the government could listen to every conversation made on a cell phone. Technology, rather than helping to retain our privacy, actually takes it away.
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...as tempted to take it into one of the water-closets and read it at once. But that would be shocking folly, as he well knew. There was no place where you could be more certain that the telescreens were watching continuously';(Orwell 112). In the novel, the spies were the Thought Police. In our society, the same people exist, except we call them the FBI, the CIA or even boss.
1984 was not written as a prophecy of the future, but rather a warning of what was to come if man did not change. Man has, apparently, not changed because our reality parallels that of the novel. “‘Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past’';(Orwell 260). As technology advances, it becomes easier and easier to control the thoughts and actions of others and, therefore, the present. If George Orwell was correct, then he who controls the present controls the past and he who controls the past controls the future. We must never let that much power fall into the hands of a single man or group. We must always be able to do what we want to do and think independently and we should always be free to know that 2+2=4.
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