Cover of book 1984 by George Orwell

Author: George Orwell

“1984” by George Orwell is a dystopian novel that paints a chilling portrait of a totalitarian society under constant surveillance. The story is set in a future where the Party, led by the omnipresent Big Brother, exerts absolute control over every aspect of life. The protagonist, Winston Smith, works for the Ministry of Truth, where he alters historical records to fit the Party’s narrative. The novel explores themes of oppression, propaganda, and the erasure of individuality.

What touched me was striking similarity between Orwell’s depiction and contemporary real-world practices, that can be observed in the Chinese government’s approach to surveillance and censorship. Much like the Party in “1984,” the Chinese government employs extensive monitoring and control over its citizens, restricting freedom of expression and access to information. Orwell’s concept of “thoughtcrime,” where even thinking against the Party is punishable, parallels the Chinese government’s crackdown on dissent and enforcement of ideological conformity.

Moreover, Orwell’s novel, though fictional, is eerily relevant in the context of modern technology and data privacy. In today’s world, people often trade their personal data to tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. These companies, much like Big Brother, collect and analyze vast amounts of information about individuals, often without their explicit consent or awareness. This data is used to influence behavior, target advertising, and even sway political opinions, raising concerns about privacy and autonomy.

It reminds me the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where Facebook allowed the political consulting firm to harvest data from millions of users without their knowledge. This data was then used to create psychological profiles and target individuals with tailored political advertisements, potentially influencing voting behavior in elections. This incident underscores the novel’s warning about the dangers of surveillance and the manipulation of information.

“1984” serves as a powerful warning about the dangers of unchecked power and the loss of personal freedom. It reminds us of the potential consequences of allowing governments or corporations to wield excessive control over our lives. While the story is a work of fiction, its themes resonate deeply in the context of current global issues, making it a timeless and thought-provoking read.