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Imagine living in a world like 1984 where the government controls everything; it seems too harsh to be true but we already are. The very definition of dystopian is an imagined place where everything is bad, but the earth has become too much like 1984 to call it dystopian because it has become reality. The book, 1984, by George Orwell is an exaggerated version of earth and when compared to the present it is too similar for comfort: history being erased, rationing of food and energy, socialism and communism dominant.
History is important, and changing it could alter some things that occur in the present. Winston thinks that lies can become truths if enough people believe them. Winston says, “and if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed-if all records told the same tale-then the lie passed into history and became truth” (Orwell 34). People’s thoughts can change because of history. Winston says, “day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct” (Orwell 40). It’s scary to think that something so long ago can affect something now. And it’s because people make decisions based on previous events.
Large changes aren’t always sudden. Even when changing something like history itself, people may not notice it. Alexander Ljungqvist says, “across seven I/B/E/S downloads, obtained between 2000 and 2007, we find that between 6,580 (1.6%) and 97,582 (21.7%) of matched observations are different from one download to the next”. This helps prove that changes can go unnoticed. It may not seem that big when one or two words change, but when multiple people change one or two things, the document could end differently. The researcher also says, “these changes are nonrandom, clustering by analyst reputation, broker size and status, and recommendation boldness”. It doesn’t always come across people’s minds that what they’re reading about a historical figure is wrong because of someone else’s desires today. It is wrong to alter things for selfish reasons, but it happens in the real world, not just fictional stories.
Rationing in 1984 was normal. People knew what it meant and how it felt. People had to deal with it because they didn’t have a choice: “bad news coming, thought Winston. And sure enough, following on a gory description of the annihilation of a Eurasian army, with stupendous figures of killed and prisoners came the announcement that, as from next week, the chocolate ration would be reduced from thirty grams to twenty” (Orwell 26). It might seem crazy that the real world could end up in a situation like this. It’s not impossible. It is easy to fall into if people don’t start thinking about how much they take for granted.
Not everybody thinks about the resources they use. Food, water and electricity are some of the basics and some people carelessly uses it without thinking about it. Thomas Saaty and Luis Vargas says, “a short time ago it was unthinkable and deemed an academic exercise to speak of rationing. People thought that there could be no crippling energy crisis because our energy czars and planners would presumably take our needs into their projections”. Rationing resources is a real world problem. Maybe not everyone really has to worry about it. However, there are places that watch how much they use. According to Thomas Saaty and Luis Vargas, “the companies were also prepared to slice industrial electric usage to between 50 percent and “maintenance level,” forcing the shutdown of many factories”.
Socialism is defined as a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should own or regulate by the community together. This kind of community is easily shown is 1984 through the language and Big Brother’s upcoming. Winston says, “the sacred principles of Ingsoc: Newspeak, doublethink, the mutability 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” (Orwell 26). Socialism today in the real world shows itself in different ways. They aren’t as large scale as a new language or the leader of a country. When a bakery pays all the employees the same amount, or the workers vote for decisions, it is socialism. Socialism can be on a larger scale as well such as in Cuba where the economy is state run.
The definition of communism is a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs. This kind of community is easily shown in 1984 through the jobs of the people. O’Brien says, “Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever’. Communism exists in the real world too. It is not in the United States. But countries like Cambodia, Hungary and Ethiopia were all at one point communistic. Communism is a form of government. So there aren’t any small scale examples.
Even with all of these similarities there are many more differences. The similarities also aren’t as extreme. Although we have altered history, it is not on as large of a scale. The rationing of food and energy is not as needed. The socialism and communism isn’t as controlling. We can fall in love. We can have fun. And we are free to do, say and be whatever we want.
It may seem impossible that such things occur in society today, but the truth is that these things happen everyday. 1984 is an exaggerated version of earth where history being erased, rationing of food and energy and socialism and communism dominance occurs, and it is part of the present.
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