1984 (novel)

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The novel entitled 1984 was a study of the techniques of totalitarianism in the guise of a science fiction novel. George Orwell also wrote a more academic book, Homage to Catalonia, that discussed themes that were illustrated in the novel.

In this novel, three totalitarian states are locked in an eternal struggle for dominance. Should any one of them become too dominant, the other two will form an alliance to counter its power. At the same time, the danger posed by enemy states justifies totalitarian control of all people by one's own state. From another point of view, the world is divided into two camps, the totalitarian masters and the ordinary people. By dividing themselves into three supposedly opposed groups the totalitarian masters can keep the vast majority of people under their control while seeming to be protecting them.

The author does not make it clear whether the ruling classes of these three super-states believe their own propaganda about the hatefulness of the opposition, or whether their inculcation of hate in the minds of the citizenry is merely instrumental to maintaining their own power. It is also not clear what factors the author conceives to motivate his ruling classes--whether there is an Adlerian lust for power, a Freudian dominance of sexual drives, or whether some other, unnamed, factors may be motivating the efforts to dominate others made by these rulers.

One function of government is to ferret out any ordinary citizens who begin to see beyond the fascade that legitimizes government control, and to "disappear" those maladapted individuals. So important is thought control to the rulers that they have systematically engineered the language so that subtle and state-subversive thoughts are difficult to conceive. They have also arrogated to themselves complete power to ration the extent to which ordinary citizens could gain erotic and sexual satisfaction, affection, etc. Clearly the people "need" the government to provide them with the fundamental satisfactions of life, and the opposed governments need each other to maintain their positions of power vis-a-vis the masses.

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