Wednesday, 16 March 2016

1984 revisited: collective post-modernism (updated March 2016)

See 1984, George Orwell website
George Orwell finished his novel 1984 in 1948. It is a remarkably perceptive book about a fictional world  dominated by people whose idea of a good time is to cruelly exert power over others for the sheer pleasure of doing so and who do not believe in an ultimate truth or objective moral values

Instead they create their own model of reality in a kind of ‘collective solipsism’ (a phrase used by O’Brien, the Party leader) and force this on the Party members by controlling every aspect of their lives and thought processes from cradle to grave. Solipsism is defined in my Penguin English dictionary as the 'theory that the only possible knowledge is that of oneself.' 

The collective solipsism of 1984 is the extension of this to a whole society.

 All those in the Party are forced, by indoctrination and torture, not just to pretend belief, but to really believe, for instance,  that

black is white
ignorance is strength
war is peace
love is hate

The Party members thereby learn to ‘doublethink’:  to hold two contradictory beliefs at the same time. This reminds me of Steven Hawking’s ‘model dependent realism’ and post-modernism (as defined in philosophy rather than art; dictionaries often don't reflect this) in general, since these philosophies deny the existence of an objective reality. Fortunately they are not collective in nature and are not imposed on us by a totalitarian regime but in my view they could have dangerous consequences in the long term even if only held individually.

Orwell appears to have based his society on the communist and fascist godless, anti-Christ dictatorships of the first half of the 20th century. The rulers in these regimes, in Orwell's view, saw themselves as the source of power and power was all that mattered. The real God does not exist for the Party founders of 1984, so the Party is God and the Party stands for power over people. Hence ‘God is power’ is perhaps the most telling slogan of the novel.

People loving power over others feature in my novel, 2077:Knights of Peace. I call them ‘dominophiles’. However, they are not as ruthlessly evil as the founders of the Party in 1984. Their danger to the world lies mainly in their capacity to bring out the badness in others and stir up trouble in zones of ‘sociodynamic’ instability, which unchecked would cause violent conflict such as ethnic cleansing.

A dominophile with the right aims, e.g. wiping out some disease,  might do some good in the world; but I would not like to work under one.

What concerns me about western democracies today is that they are overly secular and attempt to hold up Christian moral values - love your neighbour and your enemy; also love the Lord your God, which is almost totally expunged from public life - without any acknowledgement of their sacred source. Political correctness and endless talk about human rights and labelling of people as 'racist' or 'homophobe' or 'sexist' when they make  simple statements of fact are, I believe, symptons of this denial. The spiritual equality of all human beings is a natural consequence of Christianity and without constantly reminding ourselves of this shrill denouncements of 
those who speak truths such as that 

some people are more intelligent than others

some people are more talented than others

people brought up in different environments or cultures are different 

people of different races are physically different

 women are on average physically weaker than men

lead to a tyrannical suppression of truth which can only lead to trouble from those who are guided and inspired by evil (e.g. ISIS).
I believe there is a God who incarnated himself into humanity. If this is true, and the evidence is huge, then pretending that it is not is a complete denial of reality, a mass insanity which can only have dire consequences, starting with the rise of demigods offering prosperity, social justice and security to the masses. I don't know what Donald Trump really stands for but we need to be careful about expunging the divine source of reality from government, schools, hospitals, private companies and all public institutions, lest we open the door to evil to rush into the spiritual vacuum. 

God is real and sustains every atom, thought and being in existence. He cannot be locked in a church. 

See also Gems from the Hiding Place

1984 revisited: here today? Some observations