George Orwell's 1984: Why It Still Matters - Bbc News

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. 19:4 is a book about a rebellion that fails. And the rebel knows it's going to fail it's the most famous dystopian novel, but it's also a thriller and a love story. And in times a horror story as a well knew he didn't have the imagination of a great novelist. He was not very good at sort of conjuring things up the texture of airstrip.

One was inspired by London after the war when they were still lets damaged the texture of the Ministry of Truth. Was based on his time working for the BBC, the destabilizing of the idea of truth had come to him when he fought in the Spanish Civil War and saw the news reports in many of the pay particular Stalinist papers, just bore no resemblance to I could see pink sock was basically a satirical exaggeration of totalitarianism of things that were well had learned about Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia. So it is oppressive on multiple levels. If the thought police they're, basically, arrest people for things. That they haven't even done yet, you have surveillance through the two-way telescreen.

And then you have the most pernicious form of all, which is double think which basically teaches people to believe two contradictory things and to have lost faith in objective truth in news, speak the whole notion of goodness and badness will be covered by six words, there's a new form of language called the new speak, which is designed to limit the range of thought to rewrite history. And to rewrite reality, we're. Not only inventing words were destroying every day. He was identifying these pernicious habits in we taught, and which could lead democracies down a very dark path, there's, no word for freedom. How do you describe freedom surveillance is now at a level, which is unimaginable in all worlds time, the image of the two way to a screen is so powerful and seem so prescient and well, didn't understand the technology he didn't own a television set like most people in Britain at that time.

But he knew that the. Desire to surveil people, which he was so powerful to whatever new technology came along. He was going to be used in that way. But when the BBC did the first televised version of 1984 in the 1950s, it caused outrage, and they viewers were horrified and scared. The director afterwards, slit one of these people still weren't used to having televisions.

And the idea of the Big Brother staring down the legs out of the television was really unnerving in the drama, which features the telescreen it's estranged. That that's what I'm doing now, and it's perfect normal. And hopefully nobody is going to be terrified by me within a few years of the book coming out in the 1950s.

People were talking about the doublethink and the thought police and big brother and obviously over time, that means that you get these very bizarre, and we're sort of travesties of the meaning, you know, the Big Brother TV series or the BBC TV series room 101 when you do see, these words, go back to the text again. What did you really? Mean, by for police it's, not something which suggests political correctness it's, a pit there were some political greatness. There is so much in the book that different aspects of it come to the surface at different periods in history. So when it came out and throughout the 1950s, it was seen as a study of totalitarianism and as a critique of Stalinism, which is true. But then as the Soviet Union began to weaken in the late 70s.

And in the 80s, people became far more interested in the technology, which is. Not actually a huge part of the book, but they became fascinated that it was a warning against computer databases and closed circuit TV cameras and what's happened recently people are going to it for what it says about truth and flagrant lies and the nature of exerting power by distorting reality. And for a book to have this sort of multiple meanings that it seems relevant at very different times in history for different reasons is remarkable, and perhaps or something that you would have expected.