Hi I'm John Green Welcome to Season Four of "Crash Course". Today we are moving you to one of my favorite / most hated dystopias, George Orwell's 1984 novel. I feel as if that eye is looking at me. The book begins like this: "It was a cold April day with a clear sky, And the clock was referring to one in the afternoon, When Winston Smith, with his chin folded down against his chest in the face of a cold wind, Slips quickly through the glass doors of the building of victory, and he did not turn away Its rapid movement without entering a vortex of wind laden with dust particles. Of course it is not just a spiral of dust following Winston. Like everyone in the novel, He is not really alone.
In Orwell's 1984 Dystopia, published 1949, The world is dirty and arduous The clock is warning for one in the afternoon The people are constantly watched from the authority. But do you know what? Orwell failed to predict the future. Our hours still stop at twelve o'clock. Also, in 1984 novel, people routinely disappear And erased from the public records all evidence of their existence, This does not happen often in our time.
Until now. The novel represents a rejection of certain forms of government. But it also indicates the importance of freedom of opinion and expression, And in today's episode, We will look at the historical context In which the novel was written And its use is an oppressive language. I would like to think if it was Orwell Discusses within the logic of the novel, That the written word can be mundane Change the society that produced it. I mean that on two levels at least: Could 1984's novel change the real world we live in? Are the characters within the world of the novel? Dominated by the language used by them and their government? Spoiler warning: All of us to perdition.
I'm just kidding. I mean, I hope I'm joking. As usual, the truth is complicated. [Intro music] The protagonist of George Orwell's novel, Blow Winston Smith, He shares his name with Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 Then again from 1951 until 1955. By replacing Churchill, it is the famous name of a high aristocrat Points to churches and hills, Popularly known, Smith is a blacksmith, Orwell puts the fate of England in the hands of a factor, Although this man twists words and not metal, being a writer. As for whether or not Orwell's hero, Winston, wins As Winston Churchill did during World War II …
of course not! Some dystopias end by overthrowing the oppressive rule, But Orwell's dystopia usually ends By the victory of the bad guys and / or pigs. (A reference to Orwell's "Animal Farm") The novel 1984 is truly a dystopia: A despicable society where "all things are without colors" Posters "of a man with thick black mustache Stares hard from every angle It has the famous phrase "Big Brother is watching you".
In this world, government pursues what is known as "double thinking", A principle that connects ideas and their opposite. Yen sees slogans such as: "War is peace", "Freedom is slavery", Ignorance is power. The problem is not telling citizens the opposite of what is true. The real problem is that their experiences have become so limited So much so, that they lost the perspective and the language to distinguish between the different principles. But let's take a moment and talk about George Orwell. Here's a "double idea": George Oriol is not George Orwell. His real name is Eric Arthur Blair He was born in 1903 in Bengal, near the Nepalese border, to English people. His father worked to control the quality of opium That was used to make morphine, codeine and heroin, The British monopolized the opium trade for years And they exported it to China For financial gain and subjugation of Chinese citizens. Although the Chinese government tried for 150 years The British pushed to break up the opium trade between India and China, What led to wars, the Chinese did not succeed until 1910.
This was one of the largest international drug distribution networks in history. And it was legal. Ah colonialism: the original dystopia. Perhaps the original dystopia was hunting and gathering. At least for those who hate the caveman diet (paleo). How I love the processed carbs! What were we talking about? Ah right! Eric Arthur Blair, who will soon be George Orwell. As a child, Blair moved to England He was sent to Eton, a prestigious boarding school. In 1922, he joined the imperial police in Burma. In his book Why I Write, Orwell makes clear his rejection of colonialism after serving Five years in an "inappropriate occupation" with the imperial police, And how he suffered from poverty after returning to England.
Certain of the evils of colonialism, And "fully aware of the existence of the working classes", Blair was on his way to forming what he called "the political orientation". He changed his name to George Orwell in 1933 When the book "Homeless in Paris and London" was published. But he has not yet determined his political "affiliation". In 1936 it was announced that "Against totalitarianism and with democratic socialism, as I understand it." Socialist democracy uses democratic means To create political and economic foundations that support socialist goals. For example, a social safety net (SSN) or universal health care. It can be seen as a rejection of absolute capitalism. Orwell saw the “true nature of capitalist society” odious, so he wrote: "I have seen British imperialism at work in Burma, I saw something of the effects of poverty and unemployment in Britain …
One has to be a socialist activist, And not just sympathetic to socialism, Lest ever fall into the hands of our energetic enemies. " At the same time Orwell was anti-Stalin And the pressures of totalitarian communism. For example, in 1936, when he went to Spain To fight the fascist leader Francisco Franco, Join the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM). He did not join the main Communist party.
In his book "Nostalgia for Catalonia" he explains: The Communists did not stand on the far left but on the far right. In fact, this should not be surprising. Because of the communist party tactics elsewhere. " These tactics, as was happening in the Soviet Union, It included the explicit use of propaganda, Suppression of personal freedoms, State-backed killing. But the point that I want to make here is that it is not accurate Contemporary left or right "takeover" Orwell. His most famous novels are anti-communism as well as against capitalism. Often these accounts seek to show how Many government structures can be subject to tyranny, It also depicts this slow and subtle decline towards inclusion. But it is precisely in 1984 that Orwell studies the difficulty of retention With personal freedoms in a repressive society.
In the book, the land is divided into three regions Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia These areas are in a state of continuous war. Winston lives in London. The main city in "Air Sector No. 1", It is a province of Oceania. He is legally married to a cruel woman, Brainwashed, miserable her name is Catherine. Being unable to conceive children, They live separately and are prohibited from remarrying. One of Winston's main pleasures is scratching a sore over his right ankle. And drank doses of "The Gin of Victory." It was an oiled drink that made him feel as if he had been hit On the back of his head with a rubber club, And write in a small and thick notebook It has a red background and a marble cover.
As you can see, his pleasures are scarce. Which life is one of its most important pleasures, Literally, itchy sore, not a wonderful life. It might be a wonderful life for a dog, but not for a person. Winston's pleasures and fears are radically transformed When he begins an intimate relationship with a young woman Lively and beautiful, her name is Julia. Despite being ten or fifteen years younger than Winston Julia boldly declares her love for Winston. What makes Winston suspicious: “I am 39 years old. I have a wife that I can't get rid of. I have varicose veins. I have five false teeth. " All this may lead the reader to doubt as well. When Julia replies, "I don't care at all." Orwell appears to admit, but not apologize, to this lust The masculinity of a middle-aged man.
But as you know, it's also a love story that serves the plot of the story. Winston and Julia meet in secret for months. And they rent rooms from an antique dealer called Mr. Charenton is in a London slum. They admit to O'Brien their anti-ruling party and beliefs, He is a member of the inner party who appears sympathetic to their cause. They also start reading a book allegedly written by He is the leader of the underground resistance, Emmanuel Goldstein. They know that they will be discovered and tortured And most likely executed. Some of their victories come through small moments of consciousness. Human closeness and personal freedom. These moments are tiny. Lewinston, some of them include: Owning a pen with a beak "only because of the feeling of paper Creamy and beautiful deserve to be written on.
" We are not talking about freedom of expression, Rather, we are talking about submitting to "the softening air in the month of April." And stroll through the "London Labyrinth". Winston also buys a sandpaper that contains coral. All of this leads to an important point: Despite the repressive nature of INGSOC That is, the ideology of the ruling party that dominates Oceania, Moments of personal freedom like this are commonplace.
There's even a word for it in "Newspeak." The new language being developed by the government: Onlife, as it was called, means individuality and strangeness. But of course, the dividing line between the "ONLIFE" experience. And the involvement in political subversion is very narrow. When Winston succumbs to his animal instinct And his desire to have sex with Julia: Their embrace was a battle, and their ecstasy was a victory. It was a slap in the face to the party. It was an act of political defiance. " There is no ambiguity there. That your life (j) be yours (j), And your choices (j) are yours (j), It is a political matter. Also, having your own ideas is political. The party does not suppress the rebellion only through surveillance and arrest, Torture and execution, those ancient and delicious foundations From the book "Totalitarianism for the Stupid".
In 1984, the government suppressed individualism by also restricting language. After the first four pages, freezing appears After "Newspic" is first mentioned in the book: This Ijama interrupts the flow of fictional narration, And break any bond the reader might have made, Or, to be honest, he didn't make it up, with Winston. And tempt the reader with an appendix, narrated by Adib He lives long after Winston. The appendix explains how NewsPic is made. To meet the ideological needs of the ruling party And that its vocabulary is designed to make speech Be as independent of consciousness as possible, Especially if it concerns topics that are not ideologically neutral.
This means that "Newspeak" aims at impossibility of expression, Or even thinking about any revolutionary issues. Let's go to the thought bubble: Newspic contains three main categories of vocabulary: Category A contains brief terminology for everyday jobs Like eating, working, and sleeping. These words do not have multiple meanings. Examples used include the words hit, run, hound, Tree, sugar, house, and field. The B vocabulary contains compound words that mix a noun and a verb To express a limited number of political or ideological concepts. Like "goodthink" – "good thinking" means conforming to party tenet. And the opposite is "Crimethink" – "criminal thinking". The vocabulary of category "T" is scientific and technical, Contains specific terminology for workers in a specific field.
Thus, no individual will be able to gather knowledge from multiple domains. People will be able to do their work, But we are unable to understand the context In which this action occurs. This is one example of how the government was created By restricting what people can say, Meditate to limit what they can think of. An interesting feature of the appendix is It explains how Winston copied NewsPic It was still temporary and contained many From the extra words and old formulas that have been deleted at a later time. This foretells that the language will become increasingly repressive, It is, of course, bad news for Winston and his peers. But there is some good news for the rest of humanity. Because it is possible to note that the attachment Written in standard English. Many readers, such as Thomas Pinchon and Margaret Atwood, They took this as an indication that free thought and its expression They will prevail in the end. And that the language will again be rich, elegant and free. Thanks Thought Bubble. So how do we get back to a free language? I am a writer and this forces me to believe in the power of language.
Next week, we will cover more details On the complex relationship between ideas and language, But I think it is worth mentioning now That while we are not thinking exclusively using words, Language helps give shape And the articulation of our complex ideas. This is part of what books try to do. But it's also something we all do throughout the day. Because we think in language. It is one of the primary routes through which we travel Our feelings and experiences to others, But it is also one of the primary ways to communicate within ourselves. And I think in 1984 Orwell argued that the restriction of language is Ultimately, it is a form of restriction of thought itself. It is encouraging that Newspeak may fail in the end, But this prompts me to ask: What are the thoughts that I cannot think of because of the language that I have inherited? Next time we will address a question that must be on your mind (j), Because you (j) watched this video On something much like a monitor, Perhaps while you (j) are in a publicly funded school Where the government may have partially decided what to teach: What can 1984 teach us about our current political context? And our relationship with what many call a "surveillance society"? And in a world where many of us give a great deal of ourselves to the public sphere, Is there value in private life? Spoiler warning: I think so.
But we'll talk more about that next week. thanks for watching. I'll see you then..