1984, the latest book of George Orwell published in 1950, is a complete example of manipulations on a small and on a large scale.
It is the first book that I read in English, in high school, and that I willingly reread. It is affected by the climate of the Second World War and is gloomy and distressing. It leaves no way out.
I recommend it to people, who want to learn more about the techniques used by those who want to manipulate us, and to people who already know them and want to refresh them. I do not recommend it to people who have recently realized to be at the mercy of manipulators, since it describes very well and amplifies the feelings and the emotions of those, who are under continuous control, and would only increase the suffering and the devastation.
For people, who have already read it and want to brush up their memory and for those who do not yet know it, below I will show some techniques, tactics and strategies used in the story.
To people, who prefer to read some examples about current and real events, I would suggest the post “Neolinguistica applicata” (applied neolinguistics) recently published in the blog of Ermete Ferraro.
So, the Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war. The Ministry of Truth manages news, entertainment, education and the fine arts. The Ministry of Love deals with espionage and torture.
The monitoring telescreens are everywhere, also inside private houses, they continually broadcast and always record, except in the dark (they had not yet invented infrared cameras, such as those that we have now, there were no drones, GPS, and not even the Internet).
Patriotism is strengthened creating enemies, also invented, to hate. Economic and social improvements are continuously propagandized in spite of the shortage of available goods and of the existing hardship. Thinking and intelligent people are “vaporized”.
Lies pass into history and become truth. The reality is controlled: “Who controls the past controls the future, who controls the present controls the past” .Knowledge must disappear. The literature of the past must be destroyed.
“War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength”. The creation of a new language (newspeak) serves first to change the meaning of the words ( “freedom is slavery” but also “slavery is freedom”), with the ultimate goal of completely deleting their concept (“freedom will be abolished”). No one will remembered anymore that it existed and what it was.
The proles (the proletariat) must only work and breed, must not have political ideas and must not get involved in politics. But they must be strongly patriotic to well accept sacrifices, hardships and longer and exhausting working hours. They must be controlled and must be kept busy with daily chores, gossip, films, beer, football, gambling, quarrels with neighbors, and must dream with lotteries.
The past and the external world exist only in the mind and the mind itself can be controlled. As an acquired habit, people do not show their feelings through the expression of their face. The work of the protagonist is to falsify articles, reports and documents for the Ministry of Truth. Books and history are rewritten, dates are altered and roads change names.
Fear and hatred are the only authorized and dominant emotions. People must always be kept on tenterhooks, they must not trust anyone and are deprived of their inner happiness. You do not know the addresses of the individuals, who, therefore, can be created from nothing or make disappear into thin air. Pure feelings do not matter.
The main character himself is so conditioned and accustomed that he accepts to combat hatred, lies and violence using hatred, lies and violence himself.
A hierarchical society is only possible if it is based on poverty and ignorance. Power can not remain in the hands of a small caste of privileged people if wealth is equitably distributed and if everyone can work for a few hours, can have enough to eat, can live in decent houses, and can afford to buy a car or even an airplane. It is a politic choice to keep people on the edge of poverty, because a general condition of scarcity increases the importance of small privileges and amplifies differences between social classes.
The word Science ceases to exist in order to arrest the progress. Independent thought must be extinct. The education of the proles must decrease in order to increase their ignorance. Laws must be deleted.
Doublethink is the core of this collective manipulation. When everything exists and the opposite of everything too, lies do not exist anymore and you can justify anything. Contradictions can coexist.
The main character will no longer be able to experience feelings such as love, friendship, joy of life, laughter, curiosity, courage, and integrity. He will be completely emptied and then filled with hate, fear, rage, and self-abasement.
The core reason of these manipulations is the desire to exert power over the body and the mind of other human beings, who must lose their personal identity. Power is not only obedience, it is inflicting pain and humiliation, is to tear human minds to pieces and to shape them again, it is generating fear, treachery and torment, it is trampling and being trampled upon, it is to be merciless.
In conclusion, 1984 exactly describes what happens to people, who allow themselves to be manipulated, and this is exactly the condition in which they are. Some people do not realize it, because of habit or for family, social and cultural conditioning. Some people realize it, but they can not or do not know how to react and continue to be hurt and to ill-treat themselves. Some people can not stand it anymore and, before being completely annihilated, find a way to get out. I talk about the infamous Room 101 in my book “Holistic solutions to emotional manipulation”. Anyway, reading books on manipulation is not enough and does not serve to get rid of it. The solution is only holistic.
A curiosity: George Orwell does not exist, it is a pseudonym. The real name of the English writer, who was born in Bengal, (1903 – 1950) is Eric Arthur Blair.
Finally, believe it or not, I found a beautiful phrase in this text: “If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love”.
Paola Morgese, PMP
Civil Hydraulic Engineer
M.S. Sanitary and Environmental Engineering
Ermete Ferraro, Neolinguistica applicata, articolo del blog, 2016
Paola Morgese, Soluzioni olistiche alle manipolazioni affettive, CreateSpace, 2015
George Orwell, Nineteen eighty-four, Editrice Ferraro, Napoli, 1979
Translation of the Italian blog post: Paola Morgese, 1984, il libro simbolo delle manipolazioni