By Anne A. Wilson
Last week, it was an Amazon #1 Bestseller. I hadn’t read the book since high school, where I just happened to graduate in . . . ? Yep, 1984.
I remembered this as a science fiction and fantasy read. A dystopian universe.
I just re-read 1984.
A literary masterwork, it lays out the recipe for a totalitarian regime.
In the publishing business, teaser quotes are frequently used when marketing and selling one’s book. So, here you go. A few gems from 1984.
The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.
“You are a slow learner, Winston.”
“How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.”
“Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”
History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.
All rulers in all ages have tried to impose a false view of the world upon their followers, but they could not afford to encourage any illusion that tended to impair military efficiency. So long as defeat meant the loss of independence, or some other result generally held to be undesirable, the precautions against defeat had to be serious.
If he were allowed contact with foreigners he would discover that they are creatures similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about them is lies. The sealed world in which he lives would be broken, and the fear, hatred, and self-righteousness on which his morale depends might evaporate.
Even the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious, and even intelligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic triumph. In other words it is necessary that he should have the mentality appropriate to a state of war. It does not matter whether the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist.
Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.
In high school, the book was required reading.
Today—especially today—the book is required reading.
Anne A. Wilson is the author of Hover and Clear to Lift. She was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a degree in ocean engineering. She served nine years active duty as a navy helicopter pilot, including three years flying search and rescue, where she specialized in high-altitude technical mountain rescue. Following her military service, she worked for four years in the semiconductor industry. Currently, she and her husband own a triathlon coaching company, Camelback Coaching. Anne lives in Fountain Hills, AZ, with her husband and two sons. To learn more, visit www.anneawilson.com.
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