who are we fighting against?
In the book, Oceania is always at war. Although the opponent changes from Eurasia to Eastasia (or does it?), there is always an enemy to be angry at. It would be nice to think that this only happens in a constructed reality of the novel, but let’s be real. Sometimes it feels like there really has to be a war (or several) going on in order for the world to function properly. The war between USA and the East seems to have gone on forever, whereas in reality it hasn’t been all that many years – which really makes me sympathise with those who never realised the enemy had changed from one ‘-asia’ to another. Similarly the situation in Russia seems to date back to the Bolsheviks and reducing Ukraine to just the enemy of this week. Although it feels like we can distance ourselves from fights going on in other countries, the situations make the general air more threathening and dark. The possibility of a fight or a struggle to come loomes over us like a thunder cloud that cannot decide if it should rain or not.
So what do you do about it? Using the logic of the novel, we can clearly see that Putin’s intentions in Ukraine have as much to do with protecting someone as does building atomic bombs. Still, as a civilian with little to none experience in politics it is hard to figure out what we should do about the situation if anything. What can one person really do? The helplessness is palpable and it makes me angry. Winston did get something right; the future lies with the proletariat. Maybe there is something we could do.
who is the thought police of your life?
It is a creepy feeling, thinking about someone reading your thoughts. It would be a nice talent to have, to use against other people. But for someone to have access into the terribly dishevelled spagetti that is my brain, that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. In today’s world, however, privacy is not so easy to attain. In order for me to connect with my friends, throught for example Facebook and Whatsapp, I have to relinquish my personal info in order to use their programmes. Also, when I recently wanted to upgrade Whatsapp, I realised that I was basically giving the app access to my texts and other information on my phone. Another example of protecting one’s privacy is covering one’s webcam with a piece of tape. Unsure whether to laugh or be scared of the notion of someone being interested in looking through the little camera pointing at me as I write, I tell myself that if someone really wants to hack my computer they won’t find anything particulalry juicy or exciting and so I have not yet taped over my webcam.
Aside from the outside sources of social media, there is another, more powerful force that may be threathning each one of us. I’m sure everyone has had those days when you flip through a magazine and instantly feel bad about yourself or you hear about someone else landing a job you were hoping to get and suddenly black thoughts fill your mind reminding you of your shortcomings and failures. Also, sometimes I am walking on a street and I feel like everyone is staring at me, when in reality, they probably did not even see me from their own paranoia. I want to laugh at myself for getting so worked up over something completely imaginary, yet there is something in the back of my mind that keeps butting in. Or maybe I just need to adjust my medication.
past makes the present?
Past makes the present, right? It is common knowledge that past experiences shape our present and our future. On the larger scale, financial trouble make the food prices go up and wages go down. On a more personal level, one’s education, where we grew up and the people we associate with make a difference in our lives. The past shapes us into the people we will become, at least if one can learn form the past and take notice of what is going on around them. However, in the novel, Winston’s purpose is to change and even obliterate the past, make it something untraceable and murky. This practise is so carefully constructed that it makes me question whether the texts I have studied in history class actually are true. During IB I was taught to examine the source of the information I am given, to weigh the information a document gave in the light of its producer. Similarly when I hear a rumour I want to know who said it and whether they were drunk or not.
There are always things one would like to change in one’s past. Maybe that one night that really should not have happened, or those few months you spent in that small and smelly apartment. But to change the past would mean changing who you are, because really how else do we know who we are if not from the situations we have faced and how we dealt with them. In reality, changing the past is not as easy as Winston makes it seem, so I think we shoud just kiss and make up with what has happened to us and move on. In the end, the past only has so much to do with the present and the future is just around the corner, waiting to be discovered.
– Jatta –