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View Full Version : Is the future finally here...opinions?



Cathy C
06-17-2011, 12:52 AM
I got into an interesting discussion this week with a teenage girl in her junior year of H.S. She was asking my opinion about a book on her required summer reading list. A few of her friends had read the book and it terrified them. She was worried she would get nightmares like they had and wanted the low-down on whether the book would really bother her.

I asked the title.

It was 1984.

:eek:

At first, I considered laughing but then it occurred to me. It's actually happened. 20+ years late, but it's here. There really are televisions on every street corner, and ones you hold in your hands to carry with you so you're never disconnected from the trivia. People really are obsessed with trivia and don't care about real news.

We joke about "Big Brother", even turning it into a reality series. But isn't it actually here?

What are your thoughts? It was an interesting discussion to have with someone her age. (and yes, she will definitely read the book. :) )

MJNL
06-17-2011, 01:01 AM
Hmm, interesting. I read it in high school too (not that many years ago...), but it didn't freak me out. That's kind of a strange reaction, I think. I just remember being annoyed by the ending.

Then again, Fahrenheit 451 really made me think about the future being "here." I read it in HS, too. Similarly, it was the prediction of wall-sized TVs that really made me think, wow, it's happened. But again, I wasn't freaked out.

I think big-brother societies have been around for quite some time, we just don't live in one (in the US). But that's how I would classify North Korea. Everyone watching everyone else to see who will show a hint of resistance.

I think if current attitudes about freedom persist in the US for any amount of time, chances are we'll never fall into the same kind of trap as a whole. There are enough people here who are vocal about their rights, and their right to have an opinion on their rights.

I think we're all so scared of Big Brother that we'll answer the door if the knocks, but to hell if we'll let him in.

But I suppose someone else will argue that Big Brother masquerades as protection, and that he's already in our living rooms eating our popcorn and hogging the remote. After all, I'd classify the red-scare of the cold war as Big-Brother behavior, which is ironic, since part of it's purpose was to prevent such a society.

thothguard51
06-17-2011, 01:02 AM
There is always a new future - tomorrow...

Guardian
06-17-2011, 01:02 AM
Maybe I should read that book and get back to you.

Bartholomew
06-17-2011, 01:08 AM
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f332/blackout_entertainment/OrwellFlag.jpg

whacko
06-17-2011, 01:37 AM
Hey Cathy,

It's a good question, even without the connotations of Blair's vision.

But future is such a flexible term. The adults of tommorow will not notice the progressions from the past. Same as us, taking the technological advances of our parents for granted.

The future is here today because there's no longer any sense of wonder.

My granny grew up in a era of steam trains and ended up in a world of jet planes, computers, atomic bombs and Man on the Moon.

I grew up at the tail end of the Space Race. But I know that I look at the moon in a different way to my daughter. Hell, she even laughed at me when I had a manly tear in my eye as we watched Concorde's last flight.

But I remembered watching Concorde's first flight.

And that's what the children growing up today don't have. There's no sense of the future because all the big moments happened in the past.

We're now the been there, done it generation. And sure I might be drunk, rambling and not getting to the point.

But there doesn't seem to be any magic in the future, no sense of wonder. No Concorde or Us on the moon moment.

Mainly because we didn't go to the moon.:evil

And I've not even started on 1984 yet!

Regards

Whacko

MJNL
06-17-2011, 01:52 AM
Well, I wouldn't say there's no wonder in the future. But, then again, I'm a science fiction writer.

After all, we've been to the moon, but have we been to another planet yet? No! And it's an amazing thing to look forward to... There are still big events yet to come.

I'd say we're one step away from stagnation if we're actually the "been there done that" generation. But I don't think that's the case.

Goldenleaves
06-17-2011, 01:59 AM
*folds arms huffily, refusing to believe it's the future until provided with proper 'beam me up, Scotty' transport*

So, there!

Eddyz Aquila
06-17-2011, 02:32 AM
1984 was an excellent book. Doubleplusgood, I must add.

muravyets
06-17-2011, 03:11 AM
1984 is already real. Fahrenheit 451 is already real. Interestingly and depressingly, they both look like Robocop.

Satsya
06-17-2011, 03:30 AM
In a place like North Korea, 1984 is horribly real.

In the United States and other first world countries--nah. We are kept track of by companies and the government to some extent, it's true. However the amount we are exposed is still largely our choice. People choose to carry smartphones everywhere. They choose to be "plugged in" or not.

Having that choice makes all the difference in the world.

The question now is, will the average person continue to value privacy? Because information is valuable to companies, and they will continue to push for more of our lives to be public. It is important for consumers to push back, and show that the inherent individual right to privacy (when not harming others, etc) must be respected.

Personally, I think people still care enough about their rights, as well as what is really going on in the world, to not fall into the 1984 trap. Stupid news is popular, it's true, but most folks want to be informed on real news, too. If given the opportunity, I believe most people would become more educated on politics, science, economics, etc.

Flur
06-17-2011, 03:33 AM
Yes, Orwell's vision of the future is at hand, but what's more troubling is that most people don't recognize it. ;p

Kenra Daniels
06-17-2011, 05:14 AM
I think we're delusional if we think 1984 isn't here. Sure, some of the invasions of privacy are voluntary, like carrying smartphones or having OnStar in your car. When the government or a company can train a satellite camera on your backyard where you're sunbathing nude, that's not exactly voluntary.

As others have said, in some nations, the Thought Police are in your face public knowledge. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe that our government and the major corporations have much more access to our information than we realize. They may not choose to flex that muscle yet, but eventually, they will.

jaksen
06-17-2011, 05:26 AM
As long as we have forums like this one, there ain't never gonna be a '1984' ...

Satsya
06-17-2011, 05:32 AM
I think we're delusional if we think 1984 isn't here.


With all respect, I highly doubt I’m that delusional ;). A brief look at the breadth of topics being debated, nationally and internationally, shows that we are not in 1984.

The potential for a 1984 situation in first-world countries is there, of course. It was there when Orwell wrote his novel, and it was there in the year 1984, and it will continue to be there.

However it is not happening yet. And so long as people continue to fight for their rights to privacy and the various freedoms, it will not be allowed to happen.

Look at what is going on in the Middle East—they are fighting right now, to basically take their countries away from their version of Big Brother. It is an ongoing battle, everywhere. And though it is not completely won, and probably never will be, it certainly is not lost.

muravyets
06-17-2011, 06:13 AM
I'd say that it's not here in a literal realization of everything in the book. But it is here and all too real in the free-flowing and obvious bullshit that passes for propaganda these days. Listen to just about anything coming out of Congress and/or the media. One day "cap and trade" is our savior, the next it's the work of Satan. The mortgage meltdown was caused by poor people. Medicare is an oppressive example of government over-reach and a delicate flower of freedom that must be protected from the government, at the same time. It's becoming indistinguishable from Eastasia/Oceania.

Look at social attitudes. Purity rings -- what, red sashes are too garish these days? People reject and revile thinking and free inquiry in favor of partisan indoctrination. We can send our kids to Party Camps (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/tea-party-summer-camp-held-in-florida/2011/06/15/AGOjOEWH_blog.html), while so-called filter bubbles (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/books/review/book-review-the-filter-bubble-by-eli-pariser.html) automatically tailor the internet just to what some machine thinks we want to hear, defining reality by user preference.

And all of it in a self-propelling loop with widespread general complacency of a people content to allow themselves to be ripped off and abused in any number of ways so long as they are given lots of privileges and shiny toys to keep them entertained.

The thing to remember is that books like 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 and movies like Robocop are not predicting the future. They are commenting on the present. The books were warnings of what the authors saw (correctly, it turns out) as the obvious outcome of the trends in society at the time they wrote their books. To me, there is no question that the conditions in their books are real now, and there isn't any surprise in it, either. They were mostly real when they were written, too.

MJNL
06-17-2011, 06:27 AM
I'd say that it's not here in a literal realization of everything in the book. But it is here and all too real in the free-flowing and obvious bullshit that passes for propaganda these days. Listen to just about anything coming out of Congress and/or the media.

Except that we all still have the right to speak out against what congress has to say, and what the media has to say, etc.

I'd say once freedom of speech goes, then we can claim to be in a 1984 scenario.

But then again, that's my point all over. If we were in 1984, we wouldn't be allowed to say so without fear of people knocking on our doors to haul us off...


The thing to remember is that books like 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 and movies like Robocop are not predicting the future. They are commenting on the present.


This is so very true. Social commentary for sure.

muravyets
06-17-2011, 08:26 AM
Heh, that's why I said they aren't here in a literal realization of everything in the book. :tongue

But in the sense of a funhouse mirror vision of ourselves right now, yeah, despite differences in specific details such as secret police, etc., I say and believe they are the here and now.

But man, I really wish I could look at those works and think of them as quaintly dated.

mscelina
06-17-2011, 08:39 AM
That's just it, though. They'll never be dated. Books like 1984 are not a hint of what to come, they're a reminder of what's already here. Orwell couldn't have visualized a society to come unless that society already existed in embryo. That's why 1984 is so topical no matter what the date is--much the same way Swift's Gulliver's Travels are once you get past the differences in the English language.

blacbird
06-17-2011, 09:08 AM
Well, it was, when I woke up this morning, that is. But it just kind of sailed right on past, and then it was today, and the future was tomorrow, and now today is almost yesterday, and the future will be the today about to happen, and after that, this morning's future will be yesterday, and the future tomorrow will be today, and . . . . .

crap.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-17-2011, 11:29 AM
Since we're not living in a totalitarian dystopian society that outlaws books other than propaganda pamphlets and where you have to toe the party line or you'll be tortured until your soul is burned out, I'd say we're not living in 1984. Those who think so, should read the book.

shaldna
06-17-2011, 03:58 PM
I'm kind of amused by some of the comments of denial here. We all live in a Big Brother world now. Somewhere there is always someone watching. Someone knows every tv channel we watch, what we spend our cash on, they can trace what streets we walk down through cctv, they monitor our bank accounts and our phone lines. It's real.

Admittedly we aren't subject to a limitation on free thoughts and will, but it's only a matter of time really. Look at what happens to people who are radical - people who openly oppose war, political decisions etc - look at how many people ended up being held without charges because they spoke out about the war.

For the most part, so long as everyone is nicely middling, then no one will really care too much about what we think or say. It's the radicals and the extremists that are being targeted. It's a case of 'think what you like, so long as it's not too different from everyone else'

seun
06-17-2011, 04:05 PM
The proles are with us. They're called chavs.

muravyets
06-17-2011, 04:09 PM
That's just it, though. They'll never be dated. Books like 1984 are not a hint of what to come, they're a reminder of what's already here. Orwell couldn't have visualized a society to come unless that society already existed in embryo. That's why 1984 is so topical no matter what the date is--much the same way Swift's Gulliver's Travels are once you get past the differences in the English language.
Exactly. These stories are about attitudes and how people think and relate to society and each other. In terms of what the messages of the books are, they are real in the here and now. I think it's possible for them not to be relevant (or become less relevant), assuming some very fundamental social changes, but from their dates of publication up to now, they most certainly are realistic descriptions of the world we live in.

scarletpeaches
06-17-2011, 04:09 PM
The only reason 1984 is so scary is because it's real and it's here. If it weren't, the book would be amusing, ridiculous, satirical. It isn't, because we recognise how realistic it is.

Terie
06-17-2011, 04:12 PM
When she finishes 1984, suggest she try John Twelve Hawks' The Traveler (first in a trilogy) for an updated spin on similar themes.

Flur
06-17-2011, 07:21 PM
I'm kind of amused by some of the comments of denial here. We all live in a Big Brother world now. Somewhere there is always someone watching. Someone knows every tv channel we watch, what we spend our cash on, they can trace what streets we walk down through cctv, they monitor our bank accounts and our phone lines. It's real.

Admittedly we aren't subject to a limitation on free thoughts and will, but it's only a matter of time really. Look at what happens to people who are radical - people who openly oppose war, political decisions etc - look at how many people ended up being held without charges because they spoke out about the war.

For the most part, so long as everyone is nicely middling, then no one will really care too much about what we think or say. It's the radicals and the extremists that are being targeted. It's a case of 'think what you like, so long as it's not too different from everyone else'

Exactly!

CaroGirl
06-17-2011, 07:33 PM
There's a lot more to the terror of 1984 than being observed by cameras on every corner. That might be here, but there's no Big Brother. That kind of domestic terrorism does not exist. There's no government mind control. People have more freedom of speech and freedom of expression, in most of the world, than ever in history.

While it's certainly interesting that Orwell predicted the "Big Brother"-esque surveillance technology, the rest of the world of Oceania remains pure fiction.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-17-2011, 08:51 PM
I'm kind of amused by some of the comments of denial here. We all live in a Big Brother world now. Somewhere there is always someone watching. Someone knows every tv channel we watch, what we spend our cash on, they can trace what streets we walk down through cctv, they monitor our bank accounts and our phone lines. It's real.

That's not even close to being in the world of 1984. For that world, see the StaSi ruled DDR, the old USSR, and North Korea, where just the slightest disagreement with the government can get your ass in jail or killed. Where you have to be careful what you say to your neighbor. Or around your own children, who might rat you out in their Youth League.

The worst you experience is GoogleAds and maybe an employer who might not hire you because you post embarrassing pictures or statements on your Facebook page.

Not to mention that you can retain a modicum of privacy by not paying for everything with your creditcard and putting your whole private life online. Yes, there are security cameras everywhere, but up till now they haven't been used to arrest you for dissent, have they?

So please, don't even begin to compare the current security conscious society with a 1984 totalitarian dystopian society. Or you really didn't get the part about the ThoughtPolice and the three Ministries.

Fiona
06-17-2011, 09:35 PM
Of course the novel 1984 isn't 100% reflective of our society/experience, but there are still many factors in that story that we can relate to in todays world.

To purchase anything online requires registering a debit or credit card. The government can - and at times, do - check on what we are loaning out at the library. We are on a CCTV camera, on most streets, in most public places. Many people have had their accounts (private email, facebook etc) hacked into, with information being accessed by unknown individuals. People have felt that they were treated unfairly, or lost their jobs, when speaking out about corruption in their companies/governments. Without straying into conspiracy-theory territory here, I still see why it is possible to at least compare 1984 with this modern world.

I think it's a wonderful book, I love it a lot. It didn't scare me, but it did really get into my head... very haunting.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-17-2011, 09:36 PM
The only reason 1984 is so scary is because it's real and it's here. If it weren't, the book would be amusing, ridiculous, satirical. It isn't, because we recognise how realistic it is.

No, it's scary because the potential is here. And it has been/is real for totalitarian societies, such as the USSR, DDR, China, North Korea. It could very well become real eventually, but not worldwide as in the novel. Elements of 1984, such as the dumbing down of people and the heightened surveillance does appear, but not to the extent as in the novel.

And our ability to discuss this without government censorship shows how far away we are from the total control of the media in 1984.

Fiona
06-17-2011, 09:41 PM
I actually think the internet - and the access most households/individuals have to it - is the key to stopping such a thing becoming a whole, total reality. Too much information, readily accessible. People can see, watch, study, share and question things in a way people before us where unable to. Total and utter communication, world-wide. And once it's out there, it can never be taken back.

Flur
06-17-2011, 09:42 PM
Here's the main difference (and a dangerous one).. The Big Brother of 1984 did not allow their citizens to question authority. The Big Brother of today has ensured that it doesn't even occur to most people to question authority by keeping the masses entertained with sports, reality tv, entertainment news, social media, and so on. Civil liberties violations occur every single day across the country. If you need examples of this, google police brutality (or just check out hundreds of videos regarding the matter on YouTube), the unconstitutional TSA, the Patriot Act, warrantless wire-tapping, pre-crime technology, unmanned drone surveillance, CCTVs, and hundreds of minor laws in every state outlawing everything from farming on your own land to raw milk to making it a crime to videotape police and public buildings, requiring a license to protest or demonstrate, cps removing children from a home based solely on parents political beliefs, on and on.

Our freedom is being etched away at every single day, it's just not broadcast on the evening news, so most people fail to notice.

Who speaks of liberty while the human mind is in chains? ~Francis Wright, 1828

Phaeal
06-17-2011, 09:45 PM
People in Libya, Syria, Iran, China, to name just a few, might feel rather uncomfortably closer to 1984 than the luckier states. However, the technology for absolute oppression is available, and Big Brother (who has always been with us) would love to put it to use (as ever.)

The heart of the horror in 1984 is not that someone is watching you, it's that someone wants to tell you how to think and is willing to "alter" reality in order to achieve this goal. The mark of the beast is this philosophy: I am right, and to hell with facts -- what are facts, anyway? Why, they're what I want them to be.

Flur
06-17-2011, 09:47 PM
People in Libya, Syria, Iran, China, to name just a few, might feel rather uncomfortably closer to 1984 than the luckier states. However, the technology for absolute oppression is available, and Big Brother (who has always been with us) would love to put it to use (as ever.)

The heart of the horror in 1984 is not that someone is watching you, it's that someone wants to tell you how to think and is willing to alter reality in order to achieve this goal. The mark of the beast is this philosophy: I am right, and to hell with facts -- what are facts, anyway? Why, they're what I want them to be.


Well said. I couldn't agree more.

Flur
06-17-2011, 10:09 PM
Just a note.. I don't believe we're at that point yet. But all of the necessary tools and laws are in place. If the right set of circumstances unfolded, or the wrong person stepped into power, they have everything they would need at their disposal.

shaldna
06-18-2011, 12:39 AM
That's not even close to being in the world of 1984. For that world, see the StaSi ruled DDR, the old USSR, and North Korea, where just the slightest disagreement with the government can get your ass in jail or killed. Where you have to be careful what you say to your neighbor. Or around your own children, who might rat you out in their Youth League.

The worst you experience is GoogleAds and maybe an employer who might not hire you because you post embarrassing pictures or statements on your Facebook page.

Not to mention that you can retain a modicum of privacy by not paying for everything with your creditcard and putting your whole private life online. Yes, there are security cameras everywhere, but up till now they haven't been used to arrest you for dissent, have they?

So please, don't even begin to compare the current security conscious society with a 1984 totalitarian dystopian society. Or you really didn't get the part about the ThoughtPolice and the three Ministries.

I work in government, and I can tell you that you are quite wrong here.

YES you can be arrested for things you are caught doing on CCTV. People have been.

YES you can be arrested for things that you say or text on your phone. People have been.

YES people are watching you 247, whether you want to believe it or not.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-18-2011, 12:47 AM
I work in government, and I can tell you that you are quite wrong here.

YES you can be arrested for things you are caught doing on CCTV. People have been.

YES you can be arrested for things that you say or text on your phone. People have been.

YES people are watching you 247, whether you want to believe it or not.

That's just in Belfast, darling... ;)

No, don't take me for a dunce. Of course they're upgrading that surveillance shite every month. Facial recognition software and you know that every time you put your finger in your nose you get watched by fifteen cameras. However, it's not a totalitarian state. At least not here, it's not.

Alitriona
06-18-2011, 01:25 AM
That's just in Belfast, darling... ;)



So that would under UK law. Happens in ROI too.

blacbird
06-18-2011, 01:51 AM
I wonder if a greater threat to our privacy isn't the pervasive and ever-expanding social networking, to which most younger people gleefully surrender in a completely voluntary manner. Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire wunderkind of Facebook, seemed first blissfully unaware of, and then arrogantly dismissive of, complaints about privacy issues. It seems like seduction (Huxley's Brave New World) is today more powerful than external coercion of the 1984 stripe.

AlwaysJuly
06-18-2011, 02:55 AM
I have grave concerns about the direction the U.S. had headed in, in many respects, but no, I don't think the future is here. The idea of "Big Brother is watching" requires there to be a real, cohesive group of people acting as Big Brother. All I see, in this country at least, is a bunch of well-meaning politicians clawing at each other's throats and accidentally jacking up the country along the way.

And occasionally Tweeting their genitals, of course.

Satsya
06-18-2011, 03:34 AM
I work in government, and I can tell you that you are quite wrong here.

That's fairly broad. And if you're in a sensitive position, should you really be sharing with us?



YES you can be arrested for things you are caught doing on CCTV. People have been.

Yeah, my Mom would love for those TVs to be so stringent here. Then maybe they would've caught the guy that bumped into her car in the parking lot.



YES you can be arrested for things that you say or text on your phone. People have been.

I can't say I'm unhappy, if someone can't get away with a text of: "I'm carrying a shipment of bombs to the Preschool, and I'm going to blow them up". So far as I know, though, in most cases the texts/spoken words get brought to the police, and then used as any other evidence would be. The possible offender still gets a fair trial.



YES people are watching you 247, whether you want to believe it or not.

I'm in a room with the blinds up. Which direction should I wave to?

I'm sorry for the sarcasm. I just feel we're quickly entering "the moon is really made of cheese after all" territory. Yes, we are being recorded much of the time, now. It's a basic part of the technological revolution.



Who speaks of liberty while the human mind is in chains? ~Francis Wright, 1828 Flur said this earlier. But look at how old the quote is. The problems in today's world--they're nothing new. A large part of humanity has always been easily distracted from real issues. People were goofing off and writing fluffy poetry about flowers in China thousands of years ago, and wasting time at the Colosseum at the height of power in Rome. But there have always been others paying attention to the real news--then and now.

North Korea is a 1984 scenario. China is borderline. The United States and United Kingdom are not.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-18-2011, 09:49 AM
North Korea is a 1984 scenario. China is borderline. The United States and United Kingdom are not.
Neither is much of Central and South America, Canada, Scandinavia, Western Europe, a big part of the Balkans, most countries in Africa, India, Japan, Australia, New Zealand,...

Wojciehowicz
06-18-2011, 10:50 AM
The answer is no, it is not here, because Orwell's story wasn't meant to be a literal future, but a commentary on human governance, politics, psychology, etc. I suggest re-reading it and paying attention to O'Brien's torturing of Winston as well as the notes provided by Orwell. I think if anything, the most important parts of it were the explanation of doublethink, which humans have a rather strong facility for, and of the party seeking power itself and not for a reason. These facets of human behavior are at the core of a lot of human social foibles. More simply, they are the ability to believe independently of rational review, and the tendency to seek a thing without any real cause or reason for the thing but merely obsession with the thing itself.

If you look at it that way, this has always been that world.

EDIT: I should add that a third important aspect was Newspeak. When terms of interpersonal and social communication are controlled whether officially or more usually through sheer force of numbers, then the communication itself is controlled and its possibilities circumscribed. Look at modern media. Many conceptions are forcefully and repetitively defined in one specific way and any disagreement is framed dichotomously. Their conception is the only right one, any disagreement is evil. It need not be said, it is by default an effective aspect of communication. Some call it stealing the definitions of the debate. It is also something that humans do and this is that world in that respect as well.

Goldenleaves
06-18-2011, 03:54 PM
We're free to criticise, true, but if you should;

- choose to be less than politically correct

- dispute the all powerful health and safety fashions

- refuse to unquestioningly believe in the mighty god science

you do run the risk of metaphorical flaming torches and pitchforks.

Just saying :e2file:

AmsterdamAssassin
06-18-2011, 04:43 PM
run the risk of metaphorical flaming torches and pitchforks.

Which is still something totally different from being taken and tortured to toe the party line or be obliterated. They used that to 'good' effect in the USSR, where a dissident would just disappear. Which is much worse than just being executed -- you were obliterated from history, didn't exist, never existed.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-18-2011, 04:47 PM
Although the doublethink is still far away, I do see the Newspeak in the fact that our language is eroded day-by-day and media is dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. Formerly ambiguous words are restricted to single meanings, so people don't get 'confused', and while many people know how to read, the ability to interpret complex texts seems to be beyond the average reader. I also see a tendency among writers to overexplain in order to be easily understood, instead of challenging readers to think and interpret texts for themselves.

Goldenleaves
06-18-2011, 06:00 PM
Which is still something totally different from being taken and tortured to toe the party line or be obliterated. They used that to 'good' effect in the USSR, where a dissident would just disappear. Which is much worse than just being executed -- you were obliterated from history, didn't exist, never existed.

Very true. It was nothing new either, it's happened all over the world throughout history. In fact I believe the places that this sort of thing rarely or never happens are less numerous than the places it still does happen in one way or another.

And changes happen very quickly, so I believe we need to be very careful with our fabulous liberty.

Goldenleaves
06-18-2011, 06:09 PM
Although the doublethink is still far away, I do see the Newspeak in the fact that our language is eroded day-by-day and media is dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. Formerly ambiguous words are restricted to single meanings, so people don't get 'confused', and while many people know how to read, the ability to interpret complex texts seems to be beyond the average reader. I also see a tendency among writers to overexplain in order to be easily understood, instead of challenging readers to think and interpret texts for themselves.

Dumbed down - oh don't even get me started on that. I am so burned up by the constant dumbing down, so *curse curse cursey curse curse* patronising. And the people doing the dumbing down even get their stupid dumb facts wrong! :rant:

They've been treating people like morons for so long now, many otherwise intelligent people have to be taught how to think for themselves (if you want a decent conversation with them).

I was teaching Sunday school, the teenager class, for a while and got to unbrainwash a few.

Before it was noticed.

muravyets
06-18-2011, 06:33 PM
Here's the main difference (and a dangerous one).. The Big Brother of 1984 did not allow their citizens to question authority. The Big Brother of today has ensured that it doesn't even occur to most people to question authority by keeping the masses entertained with sports, reality tv, entertainment news, social media, and so on. ...
This is why, to me, it's appropriate to include Fahrenheit 451 in this discussion.

And the fact that it's not all being done by a/the government, per se, but to a great extent by private corporate enterprise, the big employers and market controllers, upon whom we are so dependent for food, lodging, income, information, etc., is why I included the movie Robocop, as well. To me these variations on the theme of a world in which our fates are in the hands of strangers who are not our friends all have relevance. We can learn from all of them.

muravyets
06-18-2011, 06:40 PM
People in Libya, Syria, Iran, China, to name just a few, might feel rather uncomfortably closer to 1984 than the luckier states. However, the technology for absolute oppression is available, and Big Brother (who has always been with us) would love to put it to use (as ever.)

The heart of the horror in 1984 is not that someone is watching you, it's that someone wants to tell you how to think and is willing to "alter" reality in order to achieve this goal. The mark of the beast is this philosophy: I am right, and to hell with facts -- what are facts, anyway? Why, they're what I want them to be.
Agreed. But finding the source of that rot, or how far it has spread, is not always easy in reality. I'm reminded of the recent idiocy in which, after Sarah Palin made some hilariously incorrect remarks about the famous ride of Paul Revere, some of her fans attempted to "update" the Paul Revere Wikipedia article to match what she had said (http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/06/06/palins_paul_revere_comments_draw_interest_online/).

To me this is an example of the "reality is what we say it is" attitude leeching all the way down to individuals. When even private individuals, hearing just what they want to hear from a source they like better than others, try to rewrite history to match their personal propaganda preference, I think we are in a very bad way, socially.

Goldenleaves
06-18-2011, 10:31 PM
To me it's scary. And the most frightening thing of all is that people are swallowing it as somehow good for them. Like eating arsenic and calling it vitamin powder.