In the book 1984 by George Orwell, one of the party slogans is,  "Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." What idea of the novel is directly illustrated by the slogan? 

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It's not enough that the Party controls the lives of its citizens; it has to control what they think. And one way in which the Party does this is by rewriting the past. In Oceania, history is what the Party says it is. Winston Smith's job in the Ministry of Truth involves doctoring historical photos and texts to fit in with the Party's propaganda narrative. This is just a small, but significant part of the regime's ceaseless efforts to legitimize its continuing rule. On a daily basis, the Party hammers home the message that life's so much better now than it used to be and that there can be no going back.

In controlling the past in this way, the Party also controls the future, or to be more precise, the future expectations of Oceania's citizens. For most people in Oceania, the rule of the Party is all they know. Among other things, this means that they lack the imagination to envisage a future without the Party in control, without Big Brother's stern portrait staring down at them from everywhere. All aspects of a citizen's being—their past, present, and future—are thus controlled by the Party, the better to consolidate its iron grip on power.

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The phrase  "Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past," in 1984 by George Orwell exemplifies the author's understanding of totalitarianism as based on controlling how and of what people can think just as much as limiting their freedom of action. If people are constantly fed misinformation, and have no idea of other ways of living, they have no models on which to base or concrete goals for a rebellion against a totalitarian political system. 

In 1984, Winston, the protagonist, is engaged in rewriting history. So that people will not protest a reduction in food rations, his organization rewrites all available texts to make it appear that food rations were lower in the past than they actually were, making the current reduction appear to be an increase. Similarly, to preserve the party's aura of omniscience, if a spokesperson's predictions do not prove true, they are rewritten.

The idea is based on the actual practice of the Soviet Union in Orwell's period and North Korea in the present in which history books were rewritten to justify the acts of current regimes. 

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