I had the pleasure of discussing George Orwell’s book, “1984” with my Meet Up Group over the weekend. Written in 1949, it still, to this very day, lends insight to modern day events. It was an eye opener to realize that the phrase “Big Brother Is Watching” and “New Speak” originated from this book. It made me realize that a futuristic society run by a totalitarian government could be just around the corner.
The setting is in 1984. A dystopian city in London, called Oceania, is under the rule of the Party. The Party rules its citizens though brutal force and fear. The protagonist in the book, Winston Smith, lives a squalid life under the constant monitoring of the Thought Police. Infractions would be dealt with by severe beatings. Any citizen with a high IQ or a willingness to resist the Party, could just vanish at any time. History would be changed, rewritten to favor the Party, by Winston and others in the Ministry of Truth.
In the Ministry of Truth, a division of the government, historical events were changed so much that the lie became the truth. Slogans: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength became part of the “New Speak.” Two-way televisions ensured Party members remained loyal and did not challenge the Party by thought crime. Civilians were to marry only for procreation. Sex for pleasure would be a sex crime, punishable by beatings and spending time in room 101, which was worse than death.
Today, we don’t have televisions that watch us or speak directly to us. We do, however, have the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and a few other virtual assistants in one or more rooms of our homes now. These devices are always listening, ready to accept our verbal commands. (or maybe taking notes for Big Brother?)
How about that Easy-Pass for your auto? It helps guide you through toll booths fast and efficient. But it could be a tool to track where and when you go. I saw recently a monitoring device for elderly parents to ensure they take their medication on time, how often they open the bathroom, bedroom, and outside doors……..https://www.theseniorlist.com/2015/04/product-review-lively-safety-watch/
Lets not forgot the mobile phone that we all carry. It’s really a mobile computer that tracks where we go and has the ability to turn on the built in microphone and camera by (You Know Who)
So, we do have the technology now, with a little tweaking, to allow the monitoring and surveillance of a population from a totalitarian government, bent on maintaining and exercising control over the people.
Let’s make America great again…..