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1984

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decades after it ceased to be relevent is rather lost on me.

 

Declan - I am surprised at you. That book is even more relevant now than ever. One of the main concepts of the book, apart from parodying the Soviet methods, was to show how people are kept in check, made to do things normally unacceptable, made to accept things to their detriment - by setting up an imaginary enemy - or demonising another culture....

 

Just to keep the people in check and compliant, and to ensure their own lengthy stay in power and privilege.

 

If you saw the documentary series a few weeks ago, I think it was called "The Power of Nightmares" you will see the parallels -

 

The American right wing have to have an enemy - and if there isn't one they will make it up. Mr. Bush was returned because they stoked up the fear of attack and demonised the Muslim world.

 

Most of the American population were too cowed and uninformed to risk someone in charge who may be more friendly with the 'enemy'.

 

All of which isn't really happening. It is nice pat theory for 16 year-old psuedo intellectuals and conspiracy theorists to spin but does anyone buy that. It certainly doesn't make 1984 relevant today to anyone who doesn't have an historical interest in the period of the Cold War.

 

There is more debate of issues like this now than there was in 1949, and there is more dissent towards Government policy now. Fascism and Stalinism do not have hold in any of the world's major nations. The conditions have totally changed from when Orwell wrote his warning of a potential future that is further away from being a reality now than it has ever been.

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The whole point about the relevance of 1984 after the end of the direct threats to western democracy is that an assymetric threat of terrorism (i.e they can't beat us by conventional means, so they need to resort to blowing up civilians and soft targets) is primarily being used to justify technological encroachment by the State into private lives.

 

Alternatively you could say that modern policiticians are being slightly more sophisticated than their predecessors by focusing fears on an assymetric threat, rather than directly on say, Islam, which some argue is the case.

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I think the book's as relevant today as it ever has been, if not more so.

 

It's not just about the cold war - it's applicable to any state trying to manipulate it's population through media, propoganda, and technology. The same as animal farm isn't just about the Russian revolution - it's about the the greed and hypocricy that comes from power. Any historian's going to read a history book. Orwell just puts an interesting slant on things. A new perspective making the events relevant to non-historians.

 

As Ian Rush points out, the state is beginning to use technological advances to encroach on our personal lives. National ID cards, CCTV in city centres, people's locations traced by their mobile phone signal etc. - all new things that at the height of the cold war would have been pure fantasy. The enemy has switched from communism to terrorism, just like big brother switched it from Eurasia to Eastasia. Russia is no longer our enemy, but our ally. How do I know this? I've never been to Russia or the middle East. The box in the corner of my room told me so.

Edited by monkey_magic

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I think any number of similar books would always remain relevant.

 

We by Zamyatin was witten 20-30 years before 1984 and you could quite easily argue that's still relevant.

 

Authorities controlling the masses is a pretty timeless topic.

 

Regardless of the dogma lectured or technology used, the overriding concept of authority control remains topical and will do in another 50 years.

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decades after it ceased to be relevent is rather lost on me.

 

i

 

All of which isn't really happening. It is nice pat theory for 16 year-old psuedo intellectuals and conspiracy theorists to spin but does anyone buy that. It certainly doesn't make 1984 relevant today to anyone who doesn't have an historical interest in the period of the Cold War.

 

 

 

Declan - the four hour long documentaries which made up The Power of Nightmares, were well researched programmes, with people at the centre of things quoting what actually went on - and shown on primetime BBC programmes. Not the work of 16 year old pseudo intellectuals or conspiracy theorists.

 

But that was just an example. Orwell wrote this book BEFORE the Cold War had kicked in properly - but when it did China and Russia did exactly the same thing as he described - they told their people that the USA was an evil capitalist empire, and used a crooked evil figure of 'Uncle Sam' as the enemy icon.

 

Just as the west did for countries opposing us. I grew up scared of being atomically bombed at any moment, and Russians to us were The Devil.

 

In fact, they had no intention of doing so, or the will. Just as North Korea, Syria and Iran, if they get nuclear weapons will not do so.

 

But they have to make us believe that it is POSSIBLE. Any only THEY can save us.

 

And it is for our own good to lose some of our individual freedoms.....

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