Monday 27 October 2008

Member Care and Member Terror

Orwell in October--Part 3

The struggle of man against power
is the struggle of memory against forgetting.
Milan Kudera, quoted in the Economist, 18 Oct. 2008, p. 92
“[1984] is a 1949 English novel about life under a futuristic totalitarian regime in the year 1984. It tells the story of Winston Smith, a functionary at the Ministry of Truth, whose work consists of editing historical accounts to fit the government's policies. The book has major significance for its vision of an all-knowing government which uses pervasive and constant surveillance of the populace, insidious and blatant propaganda, and brutal control over its citizens. The book had a substantial impact both in literature and on the perception of public surveillance, inspiring such terms as 'Big Brother' and 'Orwellian'.”

Big Brother can be understood as being a continuum of control.
On one end of the continuum lies subtle manipulation.
On the other end is found blatant extermination.
It can be a person, party, process, or principle.
It controls through fear and falsehood.
It distorts, deceives, and destroys.
It terrorizes to maintain power.
It is Member Terror.
1984 paraphrased quotes
(from the 2003 edition including both Animal Farm and 1984)
The person who controls the past also controls the future.
The person who controls the present also control s the past.
p. 119

The past was not simply altered, rather it had been obliterated.
p. 120

Commonly, if the Party was displeased with you, you simply disappeared and no one ever heard from you again.
p. 129

Orthodoxy means that you do not think and that you do not need to think.
Orthodoxy involves being unconsciousness.
p. 136

Why should you feel that something was very inappropriate unless you had some kind of distant memory that reality was actually different in the past?
p. 143

Until people become aware/awake, they will not protest their condition, and until they have protested their condition, they will never be truly aware/awake.
p. 153

No one ever escaped from the Thought Police. The victims were like corpses that would be soon returned to their graves.
p. 158

Freedom means that you can freely say that two plus two make four. If this is allowed, then the rest follows.
p. 163

The hope for society lay with the proles [common people, the proletariat]. It seemed reasonable, until you observed the rank and file walking past you in the street. Your hope was based more on faith than reality.
p. 167

We will force who you really are out of you, and then we will replace the emptiness with ourselves.
p. 332

You cannot do anything against the lunatic who is smarter than you, especially the lunatic who listens to your logical concerns fairly, and yet still acts like a lunatic.
p. 338

No, Winston, you yourself are only to blame for your dire and thoroughly dehumanized condition. This is the consequence of your having opposed the Party.
p. 347
Reflection and Discussion
1. People play dirty.
And people in mission and member care can play dirty too.
How do you stop it?
2. How have people changed history or intentionally forgotten the past--lied to you and others?
Have you done the same?
3. Listen to this song.
Consider the last line of the lyrics (below).
Relate it to your life, your work, the world.

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
The Who, Won’t Get Fooled Again, 1971
Enjoy this unusual, shorter, acoustic version by Pete Townsend.
For a substantially rockier, longer, and spacier version,
including the mother of all cathartic rock screams (7:50), go to:

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