1984 was not an instruction manual

This article originally appeared:


8th January 2014

By Ethan Indigo Smith

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act -- George Orwell

1984 by George Orwell is one of the most influential books of our time. It resonates today as much as it did fifty years ago. It changed the course of history by spawning new language and meaning relating to the structure, actions and mechanisms of our society. And that legacy seems perfectly fitting, for in the story of 1984, the world is faced with so much restriction that even the expressiveness of the official language is deliberately restricted by institutions in attempts to eliminate personal thought.

1984 provides a stark view of a burgeoning culture of totalitarianism that is as important as a work of fiction as it is as a reflection of modern fact. In 1984, each aspect of the Five Freedoms of The First Amendment were infringed and removed. Freedom of speech was so restricted that not only was there one source of news -- operated by the official governing body -- there was also a whole arm of government dedicated to slowly and steadily eliminating language deemed detrimental to the state.

Undoubtedly language, in spoken and written forms, assists our ability to communicate with and also elevate each other. The key to learning practically everything is in language. And to author George Orwell's credit, 1984 spawned many well-recognized phrases relevant to our society to today -- and for which there were previously no words or phrases. Terms like memory holebig brotherdouble-think, oligarchical collectivismproles and many other phrases. 

1984 begins with a very important sentence.

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. ~ 1984