How would you compare the society in Orwell's 1984 with present day society?

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There are certainly aspects of Orwell's 1984 society present in the context of the U.S. For instance, there are roughly 30 million surveillance cameras capturing about 4 billion hours of footage a week in the United States alone. We are at a point of being surveilled and watched in...

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There are certainly aspects of Orwell's 1984 society present in the context of the U.S. For instance, there are roughly 30 million surveillance cameras capturing about 4 billion hours of footage a week in the United States alone. We are at a point of being surveilled and watched in a scale that has never before been experienced before in human history. Additionally, the United States imprisons more people per population than any other country in the world. This combination of mass surveillance and mass incarceration certainly has alarming implications for individual and communal freedom. In the era of Trump, while it is not illegal to think negative thoughts about him or the state, Trump has taken to calling any media outlets that criticize him "fake news". This can be compared to the ways in which in 1984 history and information is distorted and branded as fake to suit the state's tactics of control. Our country is also becoming more and more hyper-nationalist. This nationalism is required of citizens in 1984. While being outwardly patriotic isn't a legal requirement in our society, one still is legally required to be loyal to one's country of birth. An act that is disloyal to one's country of birth can be considered treason and severely punished. Many people in our society uplift this expectation of loyalty and greatly criticize anyone who displays unpatriotic behavior. For instance, high school and college students who have been kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutally and killings against black people in the U.S. have been met with fierce criticism, because many people are unfortunately more concerned with loyalty to a state than human rights. This loyalty, this nationalism, however, has been conditioned from birth into the minds of citizens. This conditioning is similar to that of the society of Orwell's 1984.

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1984 predicted some elements of modern-day society with frightening accuracy.

For example, the whole concept of Big Brother exists in today's security systems that watch and record people in public places at all times. Though CCTV and other systems like it are intended to protect the public's safety and to deter criminals, the experience of constantly being watched at all times is similar to how Big Brother is described in the novel.

Another example lies in Winston's work putting facts down the Memory Hole; his efforts to revise history are oddly similar to the current phenomenon of "fake news." It doesn't seem to matter if an event actually happened or if certain words were actually spoken; if the speaker is powerful enough, he or she can say make it all disappear by calling into question the authenticity of the news source, accusing the news source of spreading "fake news."

One last example are the telescreens installed and used by the Party to keep an eye on everyone. These screens remind lots of readers of modern-day tablets and mobile phones that enable users to see each other and converse. They also remind readers of conspiracy theories around the camera on certain models of laptops and other devices; are you unaware of someone else watching you type, or is it just a camera?

 

 

 

 

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