George Orwell’s “1984” is a dystopian novel published in 1949. The novel is set in the distant future of 1984, portraying a time where the majority of humanity had been consumed by perpetual war and subjected to constant surveillance and manipulation. George Orwell predicts massive technological advancements in this dystopia, but instead of utilizing this new technology for bettering society, people in 1984 are hindered and consumed by technology being forced under constant control. Reading the text it is clear that our society today has some contrasting points surrounding the issue of technology. The main similarities seen is the constant presence of technology in our everyday lives. The average person checks her or her smartphone an average of one hundred and ten times daily and around fifty percent of teens admit they are addicted to there phones. This contrasts to 1984 as the main character Winston is always concealing his true self from the telescreens.
What is addiction, and how does this relate to 1984?
The phrase, addiction, is defined as “the inability to abstain” We are addicted to technology. Constantly being a few simple few clicks away from accessing the nearest “meme page ” or social update. Our phones are the first thing we look at in the morning and the last thing before sleep, We have a problem. By being so dependent on our technology we are objecting ourselves to constant surveillance and monitoring through platforms and apps. The number of these apps that you allow to know your location is massive and we live our everyday lives barely conscious of this. George Orwell knew the potential for the technology years before the first mobile phone was even invented, one of the major underlying themes of the novel is the fear and speculation of technology. We should be afraid of technology, but the normalization and convenience has us sucked in. We are like animals in the zoo constantly being watched and aware of our captivity. but depend on the society that entraps us.
Overstimulated and underdeveloped. a British study found that one in three children did not know that the main ingredient used to make french fries is potatoes. when asked to identify a potato some 36 percent of eight to fourteen-year-olds could not. The same study found that 37 percent did not know that cheese was made from milk. Statistics like these are important to correlate key ideas from George Orwell’s “1984” as in the text the totalitarian government uses technology such as telescreens to convey propaganda and brainwash the youth situated in the society. The youth of our generation are overstimulated and underdeveloped, Instead of raising a bland spy like generation of children our society has raised an insecure low self-esteem technology dependent, assembly of millennials. Many millennials admit that they struggle to form deep and meaningful relationships and many relationships are very superficial. Science tells us that people who spend more time on facebook suffer higher rates of depression than those who spend less time on facebook. When depressed and stressed we turn to technology, instead of people this is because we are isolated and have minimal social skills. Winston lives in the same isolating society as many of us, he is confused as he can not confide in other humans not allowed to form any relevant relationships.
Although 1984 was not intended to be an instruction manual, government officials in August 2016 passed a new bill to allow government agencies to spy on civilians. John key quotes
“If you wanted to allow GCSB to spy against a New Zealander, at the moment they can’t do that,
Under the new law, they would be able to, under very narrow conditions, but they’d need what’s called a triple-lock warrant, so they need a warrant not only from the Commissioner and from the Minister but with review from the Inspector-General.” To summarize this, the New Zealand government may if they wish to access all of the information you have ever done on the internet. “it was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in public or within the range of a telescreen” if the government is now allowed to spy on New Zealand how long will it be until spying is considered normal?
In conclusion, we have established that there are some serious links between the novel 1984 and present-day civilization. The constant presence of technology in both societies creates discussion on whether 1984 has influenced our way of life today and if some ideas crafted in the novel have negativity effected current day society.