By Mika Kasuga
I was a little bemused when I saw that the NSA scandal caused sales of 1984, George Orwell’s masterpiece, to rise more than 3,000 percent. Although it warms my heart to see exponential book sales – for a title that isn’t Fifty Shades, too – the world that Orwell imagined has not come to pass.
In 1984, the figure of Big Brother watches over the citizens of Oceania, enforcing total obedience to the following maxims:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
Antonyms can be synonyms, if Big Brother makes it so: by reconciling opposites, the official language of Big Brother, called Newspeak, aims to diminish the range of thought and make insubordination impossible. Whether Oceania is at war, against whom, and why is irrelevant. Orwell’s dystopic vision is rooted in opposition, in the assumption that only an outside threat can…
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