Escape from Freedom vs. 1984

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The Party seeks to control everything: past, present, and future, “who controls the past, controls the future, who controls the present controls the past” (page 37). This slogan, which is one the Party swears by, is an effort towards attaining the goal of controlling the memory of the individuals of Oceania. Without memory, the people cannot know the past and the Party can control history. By controlling the past, the Party also controls the present because the citizens of Oceania will accept everything the Party says. In order to control the collective memory of the residents, the Party forbids its members to keep written records of their lives, and mandates that any photographs or documents be destroyed through "memory holes" (page 34) placed throughout Oceania.

The fact that each individual has his or her own past makes them, them in the present. Without this past and memory of anything of their own past lives, it makes them like everyone else. Everyone has the same history, and everyone has the same present. The Party thus eliminates the idea of an individual mind. The citizens of Oceania have a collective mind, with no individual thoughts.

Fromm explains in Escape From Freedom, “Man’s nature, his passions, and anxieties are a cultural product; as a matter of fact man himself is the most important creation and achievement of the continuous human effort, the record of which we call history.” (page 11) History is needed for individuals to be whom they were born as. It is part of human nature to be this way. With the elimination of history all of man’s effort does not exist.

In 1984, the Party and Big Brother had total control over the citizens of Oceania. The people worship Big Brother, and trust anything the Party says or does. Through manipulation and control, the Party gets into the minds of the people of Oceania. “Whatever the Party holds to be the truth is the truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the...
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