Close window
Random George Orwell QuoteRecent NewsSearch this Site
Submit Search
George Orwell's WorksAbout George OrwellOpinions about George Orwell Discussion about George Orwell
Opinions : Essays : Nineteen Eighty-Four and Personal Freedom
About this Site

Opinions : Essays : Nineteen Eighty-Four and Personal Freedom

from Yee Teck (

I am sorry if nothing of what's below makes any sense to you, but it is just some of my thoughts on the novel.

I have read the novel about ten times at least. It has vaiously been called a warning on totalitarianism, a prophecy or simply a description of totalitarianism. I believe it is alot deeper that. It's the pychology of totalitarianism. He stresses that force alone cannot keep any party in power indefinitely. It is when the psychology of society is altered that true totalitarianism can occur. The character of Winston is a deliberate contrast of virtually every other individual mind in Oceania (or Eastasia or Eurasia).

At one point during his torture, he realized that the party was not going to kill him, because if they did, freedom would have triumphed, because Winston Smith would have died a free man with his beliefs intact.

There was the part when Winston was insisting to O'Brien that Big Brother could not control the environment and so on. But O'Brien's reply was that even the environment is a product of the mind. How can a thunderstorm exist if the consciousness of individual persons has no concept of the existence of rain? This concept of the individual's consciousnes being altered, practically destroyed, is to me the primary message of Orwell. This is his warning.

In fact, I believe that to Orwell, freedom is very much more to do with the individual, and not simply a case of repressive governments. In another book of his ('Keep the Aspidistra Flying'), a peripheral character who when arrested, was telling the main character that if one was free up there (ie the brain), one would be alright. I'm afraid I cannot remember the exact words, but that was clearly the message of that few lines in the novel.

This may sound silly to you, but I believe this has real implications in todays world. At a time when many people in developed western countries spend so much time cursing certain East Asian countries about repressive regimes, I think it is time for them to reconsider their own consciousness. So many argue all the time about freeing Tibet, or releasing political prisoners. But I feel the need to ask them whetehr they have actually SERIOUSLY thought about the concepts of freedom or human rights. I don't believe any of them (there will be some) have anything beyond a shallow and vague understanding of these concepts. They are their own prisoners. Their consciousness in this respect, is to me something like the consciousness of outer party members during the Two-Minutes hate. Their minds have been shaped largely by the unfortunately media-dominated world we live in today. As much as there are political prisoners, it is much worse to me to be a prisoner of my own unconscious consciousness. Put it this way, to me, recently released Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng was more free during his part 18 years in prison than many people today in open consumer-oriented and lies-ridden societies today.

This site is protected by COPYLEFT. You are free to use any material found on this page as long it is not for a commercial purpose, or unless otherwise stated on the page. However copying this page as a whole is NOT permitted.

Development & Design by K1 Internet Publishing