A True Grip on Reality

Through the eyes of George Orwell in "1984"

Thematic Statement

Reality can be such a vast spectrum in our world, with many different forms, so how do we know which eyeglass to look through? George Orwell expressed this of philosophical viewpoints and reality. That reality is held in each person, in each event, image, or memory in truth to its fullest extent. However, the danger of reality is that it can be contorted and twisted through control. You can clearly see this in his book "1984". Through the character Winston, he shows that he knows that reality is held in the human mind and how we remember things, that is how people sense it. He also shows this because of how The Party tries and controls people's reality. By changing the past people only remember what the past tells them, even if it is a lie they are not fully conscious of that. Therefore, their reality is what is fed to them because their whole view of life and their memories are all being made up and changed on the spot. Orwell clearly shows his belief in how mans own mind controls reality, how a thought or an idea, truth or not, in our mind is our own reality. There is no one true reality, although we share many alike, everyone's reality can be different, but we all know the truth. He shows this when Winston's neighbor, Parsons, was caught chanting "Down with Big Brother" in his sleep. We see now that the power of man and his mind is almost incomprehensible.

"The sacred principle of Ingsoc: Newspeak, doublethink, the mutabilty of the past. He felt as though he were wandering in the forests of the sea bottom, lost in a monstrous world where he himself was the monster. He was alone. The past was dead, the future was unimaginable. What certainty had he that a single human creature now living was on his side? And what way of knowing that the dominion of the Party would not endure forever? (1.2.34)

Here Winston is trying to sort out the reality of his own life. He wonders if he is the only who remembers and realizes that The Party is a lie, that there once was a better life. That if what he remembers is actually true.

"Then where does the past exist, if at all?"....."In records. It is written down."....."In records. And-?"....."In the mind. In human memories."....."In memory. Very well, then. We, the Party, control all records, and we control all memories. Then we control the past, do we not?"....."But how can you stop people from remembering things?" cried Winston again momentarily forgetting the dial. "It is involuntary. It is outside oneself. How can you control memory?" (3.2.42-49)

Here Winston shows the reality that the party knows and fears. That the past exists in mans memory, and saying that we can not help what we remember and what we know is true. However, with control, comes the forfeit of memory and how it then can become external, completely changing our reality.

Controlled Reality

A picture of London in 1984 with the Party's slogan on the ministry. This is many peoples reality because they cannot see or think for themselves, this is all they now and the only idea that they do actually consciously know.