in 1948 George Orwell sat down and penned the last book he would ever write. Titled Nineteen Eighty-Four it spelt out a terrifying future, when after a nuclear war had devastated the planet a new ruling class emerged which sought to control the population. Orwell’s post apocalyptic dystopian vision of the future won national acclaim and over the years has become synonymous with surveillance and totalitarian control. (netcharles.com n.d.)
In this post I wanted to explore some of the aspects of the similarities between Orwell’s fiction and todays reality.
In 1984 Orwell predicted that the world would be governed by an elite 2%. This group would have direct control over law, enforcement and justice. Today we have a similar situation with a top 1% transnational class that control the bulk of the world’s wealth and with it exerts vast influence over global affairs.
There is a great deal of difference between the political structure in 1984 as it was a totalitarian regime which set out to suppress all individuality. It achieved this through constant monitoring of the population, any sign of deviance was met with severe punishment, often death. Although dictatorships exist in parts of the world today the majority of countries operate some form of democracy. This permits a great deal of freedom and positively encourages individuality, however is it this freedom that lulls us into a false sense of security. We are under constant surveillance from government organisations and security services, corporate groups are tracking our every move and through our interaction with social media we put our lives on display for all to see. Our constant need to maintain our relationship with digital technology sees us accept numerous privacy invasions and this leaves us open to manipulation. This subtle control is being employed through advertising, news and social media as we are constantly fed specific information which directs our opinions and our reluctance to remain objective and have a critical view can quickly see us falling under these influences.
It is this willingness to be controlled in exchange for continued access to the internet and digital devices that has really surprised me during this project. If this intrusion was forced and this management of our lives was dictated to us I am sure there would be a huge outcry, yet when executed this way we continue to accept it.
Studying 1984 really helped me to contextualise my project and helped me form ideas. By using George Orwell’s vision and comparing to modern intrusions I was able to garner a greater understanding of our apathy towards the violations of our privacy and recognise the threat that the digital age is to maintaining any personal confidentiality.