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Transcript of 1984
History is undoubtedly one of the most important treasures of human kind. History is a resource that is drawn upon in order to judge situations and form decisions based on similar events from the past. Humans not only use history from the past, but make history in the present, which then effects the future. In the novel "1984" by George Orwell, history plays a major role in the control of the country Oceania by a political party known as "The Party". One of the famous quotes of manipulation provided by the party is:
Who controls the past, controls the future.
Who controls the present, controls the past.
One of the issues raised in 1984 is the idea that history is changeable, that truth is what the Party says it should be, and that the truths found in history are the bases of the principles of the future. Some Fascist German leaders of the time bragged that if you tell a lie loud enough and often enough, people will accept it as truth. The Stalinists perfected this method of operation by re-writing people and events in and out of history or distorting historical facts to suit the Party's purposes.
In the book 1984, the ruling class has to control the interpretation of the past. If the past is written to show anything but the consolidation of power on the part of the ruling class, the likelihood of a rebellion will be present. As part of the totalizing role of government that Orwell creates, nothing is left to chance. This would involve the control of the past.
History is one of the most important aspects of life. Without history to look back on, the present has no significant meaning. If there was no knowledge of slavery and segregation, people would not be able to fully appreciate the freedom we have been given since. If you could not remember how someone had hurt you in the past, you would not see the significance of someone else standing by you. History is the only concrete knowledge that a person can possess since once something has happened, it cannot be changed or taken back, but when someone makes a plan for the future, it can easily be changed by infinitive variables. The present cannot properly function without the past and people themselves would be completely different should they not have the knowledge of their past experiences to guide them.
* The party needs to look like it never makes mistakes
* The party needs to be sure people do do not remember how things used to be.
History his very important to a societies future. If we did not have history to look back on we would not and could not look toward the future with certainty. To know are history is the difference between being prepared for are future and being worried about it.
In 1984, history is not set in stone. History books and articles are in a constant state of change, being made to accommodate what the Party wants. The people of Oceania never notice the change of history, even when it comes to changing wars. This ignorance of the manipulation of the truth is a representation of the Party's power and influence over people, and how blind their faith is. The party uses history to make people believe that they are better off than they ever have been before. The lack of true knowledge prevents everyone from seeing the faults in the society. Without ever learning of how other societies have changed and grown, the people under the Party's influence will never learn how to stand up for themselves.
In the Novel
In 1984 those who control the present control the past; they are literally able to "invent" the past because there is no objective record of anything that happened. History is just a tool for propaganda. If they want to look better than their predictions, or if they failed to live up to their prediction, they simply edit the "records" of the past to go along with that of the present. Unfortunately,this also gives them the ability to control the future.
Teaching the students the history they want them to know
Relates To The Novel
People have recognized the importance of history and it is regarded as a major point of study because there is an almost endless amount of knowledge to gain from the subject. History is used as a way of predicting what we need to do today to keep society sustainable such as how the population will rise to predict how many houses will be built, or how much food will be needed in stores. Through studying the trend of popular illnesses, doctors can determine when vaccines will be needed, how long they last, and countless other variables that keep people healthy. Law enforcers use history to ensure that criminals are punished and that innocent people are protected. Even students and young children look back on their past to learn what is acceptable and how people around them will react to certain situations and questions.
Past, present, and future are all parts of history. Whether its been made, or in the making, all are important aspects of freedom. We learn from our past to model our actions in the present and future, until the day when our future is mankind's past, then it is up to our descendants to do the same.
This quote is an example of "doublethink". In the novel, "doublethink" is a concept designed by the party in order to manipulate the general population into complete mental submission. Thus allowing for the party to make their followers believe anything they want with true certainty that it is the absolute infallible truth.
What do YOU think?
What similarities do you see between our modern society's history and Oceania's?
How are we delivered information of history and past events, and how do we know that it is not altered?
If information was withheld from you or modified in what you read and hear, that you would know and question it?
In conclusion, it is vital that we are provided with our past to maintain our freedom and prevent manipulation. In doing this, our future and our present will give them the past they need to make their own decisions, whether its war or peace, its still freedom.
Why do you think our past, present, and future are so important?
Winston uses the past to mentally predict lots of what happens in the novel from everyday things, to big revelations.
How best to act in different situations
When he will have a very heavy work load and when he will be able to have free time
Who will be vaporized and who will not be
O'Brien belonging to the Brotherhood
No matter what he was doing, Winston used his memory and past experiences to dictate his future and what would be best for him. Through this analysis, Winston is able to protect himself from detection.
Will be easier to control when they are adults
Big Brother can manipulate them
Big Brother and Government also control proles
By letting them be free, they are actually making them forget history (like man at bar)
As the older proles die off and younger ones become adults they will forget about the true history
Newspeak is another way government uses history to control future
Looking through history governments have been over thrown by groups of people who could think for themselves, be creative and communicate with each other
Making Newspeak official language by 2050
Taking away peoples ability think or feel
Big Brother making himself look like a savior
By going back in history
Saving them from the capitalists
Big Brother can never be wrong
Gets people like Winston to change his predictions so he is never wrong
He is infallible
He is portrayed like a god by the people of Oceania
Wanted to rebel but did not know how to
At the end Big Brother and government thought ahead and knew about Winston the whole time
"Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it."
People who do not have their past experiences to look back on often falter and eventually end up being vaporized. Syme did not have accurate memories and therefore for him to look into the past and learn from mistakes would not have been possible. He never realized and learned that some of the things he talked about would have been better left unsaid, such as when he discussed why the language is being reduced in the lunchroom. Julia never realized that she herself was being manipulated into believing everything that the Party told her, such as the status of the war and small facts like who built airplanes. When Winston points out that some of the things Julia 'knows' are not true, she does not see why that is significant. Her inability to remember things that she has even lived through shows how Julia is being manipulated and is not truly rebelling, she has no desire to learn the truth or find a way to change her life aside from small bouts of rebellion.
The concept of 2 + 2 = 5 is one that frequently reoccurs throughout the novel. Winston often references it in such a way that shows, the day he believes it will be the day the Party has overcome him. While he is being tortured in the Ministry of Love, Winston is forced to believe that this equation is true and begins to lose his control over his memory in of the past as well. As that change occurs Winston begins to lose his sense of self, changing his entire life. Winston no longer as the same goals or desires, he even experiences an alteration to his personality. Before being taken the Ministry of Love, Winston wanted to get away from the Party and help the Brotherhood in rebelling as well as spend time with Julia, whereas when he comes back his only desire is to go to the Chestnut Tree Cafe to drink and read the news articles about chess, he is no longer driven and becomes stale.