This book was one of those ‘should-reads’ I’ve had sitting on my shelf for a few years – a significant, widely-known piece of literature that I somehow missed in the course of all my high school and college English classes.  And so I set aside Anne of Green Gables (yes, I picked these old classics up during a nostalgic impulse), assumed my most literary attitude, and gave 1984 a go.  The fact that I was reading out of some kind of self-imposed obligation, rather than desire, made me fear that I might not enjoy the book all that much.  But it was actually quite fascinating.  A little slow at times, and certainly darker than what I usually read, but I found the characters and the underlying commentary on socialism/communism/totalitarianism and the role of government really, really interesting.  The book, which was published in 1949, takes place in the then-future year of 1984, a time when the government (the ‘Party’) knows all and rules all, via constant surveillance of all its members, incessant broadcasting of Party propaganda, and relentless fear mongering used to justify never-ending wars.  People are constantly warned that ‘Big Brother is Watching You.’  Creepy.  But – wait…  Fast-forward to 2010, and do we not now live in a nation where a large percentage of the population carries GPS-linked phones and laptops?  Add to that the constant onslaught of advertising and filtered news that we face every day in the form of radio, TV, the Internet, and poster-plastered buses, and the premise of 1984 is not so unimaginable.  I’m certainly not leading a revolution, and I’m thankful for the freedoms that I often take for granted, but the parallels here between the fiction and reality are certainly interesting.  Food for thought…

One Comment

  1. omnimetaversal says:

    What a coincidence, I just mentioned 1984 in my 3/9 entry. I really don’t think George Orwell (which I believe was just his pen name) was any sort of prognosticator any more than he was a patternist. He just made logical deductions about the rate of change that the world was experiencing and incorporated it into the form of a novel set in the not too distant future. We’re still experiencing exponential growth and new paradigms in politics and spirituality, etc. so who knows exactly where all of this is headed.