How accurate was Orwell in his vision of the future?How accurate was Orwell in his vision of the future? in what ways does our contemporary society compare to his idea of society in 1984? Are there...

How accurate was Orwell in his vision of the future?

How accurate was Orwell in his vision of the future? in what ways does our contemporary society compare to his idea of society in 1984? Are there any examples in which he is correct? Do you see a potential for aspects of Orwells "vision" to come true?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Orwell clearly was prophetic with his writing of 1984. All the surveillance cameras, especially those on every corner of New York City, point to a world where Big Brother watches. The Patriot Act of 2001 took away certain individual rights in the name of "protection." For instance, the FBI merely needs to suspect someone and it can go into that person's internet files and other personal information systems.

Political correctness has made many a person wary of what he/she says in public or within hearing range of others. When some people do exercise their freedom of speech, they are vilified if it does not match "conventional wisdom."  The media, especially NBC and CNN, clearly omit certain things and then only report parts of news stories, which puts a slant upon these things. Many subliminal suggestions are made in advertising, etc., as well.

Douglas Horley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As chilling as the society is that Orwell paints, it is evident that much of what he described had its genesis in the societies of Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany. The idea of citizens simply 'disappearing' and then never being mentioned again was a hallmark of the terror caused by Stalin's secret police, whilst indoctrinated children spying on adults was encouraged and rewarded in Nazi Germany. Perhaps the 'hate' sessions in 1984 has chilling simililiarities to modern society. Osama bin-Laden's image constantly being flashed on our TV or computer screens provided a neat focus for us to vent feelings of anger and hatred (in much the same way as the image of Goldstein). 

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One way we might see Orwell's vision in action is the politicization of what used to be non-political issues and also a tendency toward re-definition in "public speech" wherein we see carefully crafted language used to both communicate and not communicate certain ideas simultaneously.

This is not to say that we live in a disutopian society, governed completely by repressive totalitarian regimes. We do not.

The issue of language appropriation (via politically charged and politically motivated discourse) however seems real to me on a certain level.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think Orwell's vision has come true at all.  The idea that our cell phones (or even store surveillance cameras) are a way for us to spy on one another is not credible in my opinion.  Orwell's vision was of an oppressive government that robbed people of their humanity and their ability to choose for themselves.  We could hardly be farther from that today.  In our society, we are innundated with choices and are free to express ourselves however we want.  1984 is a relic from a time when totalitarianism seemed like the wave of the future.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
One thing that's different is that even though there are government cameras everywhere, private cameras are even more ubiquitous. Businesses and private homes have cameras, and almost everyone carries a camera constantly in the form of a cell phone. We really are spying on each other.