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Doublethink 1984

By AnthonyG2 May 29, 2013 665 Words
“War is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.” This is the renowned slogan for the Party which is restated throughout the novel 1984. This phrase is extremely contradictory and makes no logical sense, which is the concept of Doublethink. The Party uses Doublethink to control the citizens of Oceania. In the novel Winston Smith described Doublethink: "To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink”. Doublethink works by giving the citizens of Oceania a false sense of safety, through repetition of contradictory ideas, such as Freedom Is Slavery”. Through this technique, the Party can make the citizens believe that the way they are oppressed and treated by the party is actually freedom. Doublethink gives the party the capability to do anything they want while still having the loyalty of their citizens. “War is Peace”. Although war and peace are opposite concepts, the Party equates them to make the citizens belief that Oceania and the Party are in a peaceful state. The Party used this contradiction to convince every citizen that Eurasia and Eastasia could be both the ally and the enemy. The Party is always forcing Oceania into a war while making the citizens of Oceania believe that there is peace. Thus, the citizens are able to both hate and love Eurasia and Eastasia, which is a contradictory concept. Additionally, the Party uses “Freedom is Slavery” to suppress and observe every move and thought of the citizens of Oceania through use of the police and the telescreen. Yet, the citizens do not resist the constant surveillance because the majority believes that it is in fact freedom. This is a great example of doublethink working for the Party, because it is the two most contradicting ideas. Finally, the last slogan: “Ignorance is Strength”, although not as contradictory on its face as the other two slogans, is still used as a tool of control by the Party. By making the citizens of Oceania truly believe that ignorance is strength it makes it possible for the party to take away all books and other learning materials. This is key to a totalitarian government, like the Party, rule, it allows it to control everything the citizens know. Moreover, if it were not for this part of the slogan the Party could never use doublethink because the citizens would be able to educate themselves correctly, and they would then learn that war is not truly peace, and freedom is not slavery. This, in turn, would greatly diminish the Party’s control of the citizens’ thoughts and the loyalty the citizens have towards the Party because the citizens would learn the government has been lying to them and that they are being treated unfairly.

In order for a totalitarian government to rule over its people ideally it needs to be able to control them, and implant the ideas they want into the people’s minds. The Party accomplished this through the ingenious use of doublethink. If it were not for the Party’s use of doublethink, they would not be able to control Oceania as they do. Doublethink was an incredible idea keyed by George Orwell in his book 1984 and can still be found through politics today.

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