1. What is different about the philosophy of the party in 1984, to other dystopian societies, such as USSR and the Nazis
Orwell showed similarities between 1984’s party, Ingsoc, the Nazi party, and Stalinist Russia, all totalitarian regimes. He did this by portraying the leadership ideals, the propaganda techniques, the fierce secret police, and the basic idea of creating a pure party used by all of these regimes. Big Brother was a mirror image of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin in many aspects. All three rulers ruled with an iron fist, this means that they ruled with basically no tolerance of opposition and by dictatorship ideals. Orwell showed this through Big Brother’s ideas, and beliefs. Throughout Stalin’s rule, he enforced several “Five-year plans”, which called for increases in industrial production, and collectivization of agriculture. These plans led to the emergence of an all-powerful nation, The Soviet Union. In 1984, Big Brother used similar three-year plans, “The telescreen was still babbling away about pig iron and the overfulfillment of the Ninth Three-year plan,” (Orwell, pg.6) to bolster Ingsoc’s productivity and success. Much like Stalin, Big Brother’s plans were a success in creating a powerful state. Adolf Hitler on the other hand, concerned himself more with spreading a feeling of pride amongst his party.
The Party is different from Nazism and Russian Communism because they don’t allow there to be saints. In the latter two societies, when someone was killed, they were seen as martyrs. However, the Party first converts all criminals to love the party by subjecting them to their greatest fears. Only after the criminals love Big Brother and the Party are they killed. Basically, they can’t be killed as martyrs because they have switched sides, from fighting the Party to supporting it. Another difference is that the party wanted power for the sake of having power whereas the Nazis or USSR wanted more control and taking over land, money, resources etc
2. Explain what power is and why the party wants it
The party wants power because with the accumulation of power comes the complete control and manipulation of its population. The party seeks power for the sole reason of obtaining power. A government who’s people live in fear of it is in total control and can create and remove laws without the countering opinions of the general public. O’brian tells whinstone that “Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites.
The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”
3. Explain Doublethink
Doublethink is the power to hold two completely contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accept both of them. Whinston Smith describes double think as…
“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself – that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed.
Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.” “The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.”
4. How does the party Control matter
The party controlled language to control people.
By cutting out words to take English back to its bare minimum, they controlled how people thought. If you control the information you can control what people learn, what they know, what they think and how they act. The language of the state in 1984 is Newspeak, and it has been deliberately cut down in order to reinforce the power of the party. For example, they have removed all the alternative words for things so that there is only one word you can use for each situation. This makes creative thinking impossible, as people can’t imagine any alternative, so they are less likely to rebel. If you control people’s language you can directly control their thoughts, and so keep them enslaved to the state, because if you take away the language with which people construct rebellious thoughts, you can wipe out those thoughts altogether.
There is a department where the history is constantly changed and altered to the party’s liking. Just as the quote goes “He who control the present controls the past. He who control the past control the future”. History is constantly manipulated so that people would not have true memories and hence, they won’t have a true identity.
‘We control matter because we control the mind. Reality is inside the skull. You will learn by degrees, Winston. There is nothing that we could not do. Invisibility, levitation — anything. I could float off this floor like a soap bubble if I wish to. I do not wish to, because the Party does not wish it. You must get rid of those nineteenth-century ideas about the laws of Nature. We make the laws of Nature.’ Absolute power, money isnt power like it is in the present day world. the currency thrown around the party isnt coin but rhetoric. The guy who room 101’s winston is a master of rhetoric. Brainwashing winston with reason and classical conditioning is for him. Being rich for a party member means being Socratesesque in the dialectic. The party controls matter with Telescreens, Thought Police, Room 101, Youth agents, Propaganda, Big Brother, Newspeak