Book Review - 1984

April 08 2016

Yikes. That’s the only word I can think of to describe this book. George Orwell’s 1984 is truly terrifying. And yet I couldn’t put it down - I can’t remember exactly, but I devoured this in maybe 4-5 days. It is completely relevant today and not dated at all. I don’t even know how to feel, after finishing the book.

I don’t think 1984 needs any introduction. It’s a classic, and it’s something I’ve wanted to read for a long time (one small quirk - I was actually born in 1984).

I was floored by the concepts in here. The idea of Newspeak, of a completely new language, championed by the government to limit expression, is terrifying. The scary part is that in our modern world, we are kind of doing this to ourselves. We use fewer and fewer words, and our patience is so thin that we jump from topic to topic on Twitter, all in less than 140 characters.

The idea that people will completely forget what part of the world they live in, and what other parts of the world exist? That’s terrifying too! We already have people that don’t believe the moon landing was real. It’s not a stretch to think that at some point, people will either want to deliberately disbelieve anything that is not immediately in front of them, or there will be controlling forces that deliberately obfuscate access to this information. We always thought the Internet would make something like this impossible. But actually, it makes it even easier - there is so much information now, that people choose to believe what they want to believe. And it will always be possible to manipulate people into wanting something they don’t truly want.

Finally, the ending of the book, with Winston being tortured with the use of rats. There is just no optimism, no silver lining to this. It is grueling to read. It is dismal to think about. But I guess that’s the point. Yikes.

Topics: Book Reviews

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