Explain the role of technology, through methods of surveillance, and how it contributes to the party’s overall level of control.
In 1984 by George Orwell, the Party, the ruling political group of Oceania, displays their authority over its people through thee use of technology. The world, in 1984 is split into three different super states all living in a constant state of war, where no side will ever win, allowing each side to focus on their own isolated societies. The Party is an oppressive force that follows the ideology, Ingsoc, an extreme form of socialism. The objective of the Party is to be able to create a utopian society where everything including the mind is controlled. To reach this goal the Party utilizes telescreens, which has the dual ability to play Party propaganda and to view and hear the events occurring in a room. George Orwell uses telescreens as a symbol to demonstrate the means by which the Party has direct and constant control of its people, indoctrinating them into a uniform society at the cost of individuality and human values.Order now
The abolition of privacy, which, consequently leads to the duality of two different attitudes, is brought about by the constant surveillance of telescreens. To “let your thoughts wander” was “terribly dangerous”, because “the smallest thing could give you away”, and having “an improper expression on your face… was itself a punishable crime”(Orwell 62). Through the constant monitoring of the telescreen, people try to subvert it by creating a front by which the body, or external appearance, conceals the true attitudes and thoughts of the minds of those people. A prime example of this duality is with Julia’s Scarlet Anti-Sex Waist Sash. While it depicts her devotion to party doctrine and party cause by adhering to chastity, she actually violates her chastity pledge many times. Originally, Winston believes she was a Party agent because the sash represented her support for the party, but after meeting her, it actually magnifies his love for her because it symbolized an even greater rebellion against the party.
With the duality of two different attitudes, the aspect of double-think begins to arise as a major consequence of the Party’s psychological manipulation. By allowing contradictory ideas to be kept in the mind and to be able to accept both of them at the same time, the Party is able to break down individual thought, by imposing a new idea over the old contradictory one, without causing much retaliation. For example, when Winston is recalling a photo of Jones, Aaronson, and Goldstein, it was hard to believe how they were actually members of the original revolution for the Party’s takeover, yet they were now deemed as heretics to their very own Party they founded.
Winston describes the process of doublethink as to use “logic against logic” and “ to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis”(Orwell 35), causing him to accept both ideas and to be ignorant of the truth, because, the act rationalizing it requires more work, than just accepting both of them at the same time. However, the thought police eventually captures those who are do not comply to party ideals such as doublethink, and are ultimately able to ‘cure’ them and conform back into society. Winton’s varicose ulcer represents his suppressed individualism, because every time he does something out of the ordinary it would worsen, showing his clear separation against the uniformity of the party, but in the end, it the party cures it, revealing his permanent loss of individualism. The effects of surveillance is epitomized by the ultimate fate of Winston’s surrender of his individuality, his rationality his emotions and ultimately his self. .
Although technology is usually affiliated with positive connotations due to its connection to progress, Orwell demonstrates how, if used for the wrong purposes, it can have detrimental effects. In 1984, Technology is not used for the sake of progress, but rather for cynical Party purposes. Through the loss of privacy and indoctrination of uniformity in the Oceania, The party shows a profound rendering and denial of the human mind and spirit.