Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Reading & Understanding ‘1984’ for Today’s Times

Fiction & Truth

One of the ways you can arrive at truth is to read good fiction, often called literary fiction or literary novels, many of which are listed on my site; Nineteen Eighty-Four, published in June 1949 by George Orwell [1903–1950] is one such novel. Although 70 years old, I recommend that you read it in its entirety and also read an excellent article (“Doublethink Is Stronger Than Orwell Imagined;” July 2019), by George Packer, in The Atlantic, who writes:
What does the novel mean for us? Not Room 101 in the Ministry of Love, where Winston is interrogated and tortured until he loses everything he holds dear. We don’t live under anything like a totalitarian system. “By definition, a country in which you are free to read Nineteen Eighty-Four is not the country described in Nineteen Eighty-Four,” Lynskey acknowledges. Instead, we pass our days under the nonstop surveillance of a telescreen that we bought at the Apple Store, carry with us everywhere, and tell everything to, without any coercion by the state. The Ministry of Truth is Facebook, Google, and cable news. We have met Big Brother and he is us.
I could not agree more. This is one of the overarching themes of my blog the many years I have been thinking such thoughts and writing them down for public view, all with the hope of engendering similar questioning thoughts. Sadly, I have not had many people who would agree with its sentiments, people of the left and the right taken in by totalitarian thinking, mostly unaware that they have been. It takes great intellectual effort and the reading of many classic books, as well as discussion and analysis, to see the world and its peoples the way it truly is and not as the lies of doublethink and newspeak say it is.

The answer will be found at your local public library, one of the greatest sources of knowledge and truth. That is where the books are, in the stacks of libraries. Go there and read. Keep on reading. Freedom and individual thought starts and ends in the mind, and it is both risky and foolish to give it up so easily, particularly to corporate entities who sell your thoughts (call it data)—notably your likes and personal tastes—for money to advertisers.

Greed and corruption have no limits, it seems. But some thoughts ought to be private; not everything should be shared. That being the case, it is true that it takes great effort to remain independent and have your own thoughts, and it is true that your efforts will not necessarily be rewarded in a monetary sense. Yet, it has at least one noted and important benefit—you will know yourself, you will know that you have been true to said self, and you will know the road to freedom.

Equally important, you will have a standard of truth, always important in navigating a world of confusion and chaos, which did not start with the current U.S. president, who is only more bold and assertive about spreading fabrications, falsehoods and disinformation—often as a means of self-promotion and self-aggrandizement. Truth and truth claims are always necessary to investigate and measure with the weight of facts, always the basis of truth. This is always important; and this becomes more important later on in life.

You can read the complete article at [The Atlantic] .

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