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It Was a Frightening World Long Before 1984

It Was a Frightening World Long Before 1984

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Published by Frank Gallagher
Orwell a transmitter like Confucius
Orwell a transmitter like Confucius

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Published by: Frank Gallagher on Jul 23, 2013
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07/06/2014

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In his essay
(1946), Orwell wrote about the importance of honestand clear language and said that
vague writing can be used as a powerful toolof political manipulation.
In
 Nineteen Eighty-Four 
he described how the state controlledthought by controlling language, making certain ideas literally unthinkable. The adjective
It was a frightening world long before 1984
Orwellian
refers to the
frightening world
of 
 Nineteen Eighty-Four 
,in which the state controls thought and misinformation is widespread. Several words and phrases from
 Nineteen Eighty-Four 
have entered popular language.  Newspeak is a simplified and obfuscatory language designed to make independent thought impossible.Doublethink means holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously.
are those who suppress all dissenting opinion.
is homogenised, manufacturedsuperficial literature, film and music, used to control and indoctrinate the populace through docility.
is a supreme dictator who watches everyone.From Orwell's novel
 Animal Farm
comes the sentence,
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal thanothers"
,describing
theoretical equality
in a grossly unequal society.Orwell may have been the first to use the term
, in his essay, "You and the Atom Bomb", published in
Tribune
, 19 October 1945. He wrote: "We may be heading not for general breakdown butfor an epoch as horribly stable as the slave empires of antiquity.James Burnham's theory has been much discussed, but few people have yet considered its ideological implications;— this is, the kind of world-view, the kind of beliefs, and the social structure that would probably prevail in a State whichwas at once unconquerable and in a permanent state of 'cold war' with its neighbours."
 
Eric Arthur Blair
(25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950),
  better known by his pen name 
GeorgeOrwell
, was an English author and journalist.His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice,an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language, and
a belief in
Considered perhaps the twentieth century's best chronicler of English culture,
Orwell wrote fiction, polemicaljournalism,literary criticismand poetry. He is best known for the dystopian novel
(published in 1949) and thesatirical novella 
(1945)—they have together sold more copies than any two books by any other twentieth-century author.
His 1938 book  
, an account of his experiences as a volunteer on the Republicanside during the Spanish Civil War ,together with numerousessayson politics, literature, language, and culture, are widely acclaimed.Orwell's influence on contemporary culture, popular and political, continues decades after his death. Several of his neologisms,along with the term "Orwellian"—now a byword for any oppressive or  manipulative social phenomenon opposed to a free society—have entered thevernacular .Orwell was a communicant member of theChurch of England, he attended holy communion regularly,
 andallusions to Anglicanlife are made in his book 
 A Clergyman's Daughter 
.At the same time he found
the church to be a "selfish...church of the landedgentry"
 with its establishment "out of touch"with the majority of its communicants and
altogether a pernicious influence on public life.
 Yet, he was married according to the rites of the Church of England in both his first marriage at thechurch at Wallington, and in his second marriage on his deathbed in University College Hospital, andhe left instructions that he was to receive an Anglican funeral.
 In their 1972 study,
The UnknownOrwell 
, the writers Peter Stansky and William Abrahams note that at Eton Blair displayed a "scepticalattitude" to Christian belief, and that: "Shaw's preface to his recently published 
 
in which an account of thegospelsis set forth, very different in tone from what one would be likely tohear from an Anglican clergyman" was "much more to Blair's own taste."
The ambiguity in his belief in religion echoed the dichotomies between his public and private lives:Stephen Ingle wrote that it was as if the writer George Orwell "vaunted" his atheism while Eric Blair the individual retained "a deeply ingrained religiosity". Ingle later noted that Orwell did not accept theexistence of an afterlife, believing in the finality of death while living and advocating a moral code based on Judeo-Christian beliefs.
In 1928, Orwell began his career as a professional writer in Paris. His first article,
Censorship in England 
, was an attempt to account for the 'extraordinary and illogical' suppression of plays and novelson the grounds of public decency, then practised in Britain. His own explanation was that the rise of the 'puritan middle class', who had stricter morals than the aristocracy, tightened the rules of censorshipin the 19th century. Orwell's first article to be published in his home country,
 A Farthing Newspaper 
,was a critique of the new French daily, the
 Ami de Peuple
. This paper was sold much more cheaplythan most others, and was intended for ordinary people to read. However, Orwell pointed out that its proprietor  François Coty also owned the rightwing dailies
and
, which the
 Ami de Peuple
was supposedly competing against. Orwell suggested that cheap newspapers were no more thana vehicle for advertising and anti-leftist propaganda, and predicted that like India, France might soonsee'free newspapers'which would drive many legitimate dailies out of business.
Onanarchism, Orwell wrote in
The Road to Wigan Pier 
: "I worked out an anarchistic theory that allgovernment is evil, that the punishment always does more harm than the crime and the people can betrusted to behave decently if you will only let them alone." He continued, however and argued that "itis always necessary to protect peaceful people from violence. In any state of society where crime can be profitable you have got to have a harsh criminal law and administer it ruthlessly."In his reply (dated 15 November 1943) to an invitation from the Duchess of Athollto speak for the British League for European Freedom, he stated that he didn't agree with their objectives. He admittedthat what they said was "more truthful than the lying propaganda found in most of the press" but addedthat he could not "associate himself with an essentially Conservative body" that claimed to "defenddemocracy in Europe" but had "nothing to say about British imperialism". His closing paragraphstated: "I belong to the Left and must work inside it, much as I hate Russian totalitarianism and its poisonous influence in this country."
Orwell joined the staff of 
Tribune
as literary editor, and from then until his death, was a left-wing(though hardly orthodox) Labour-supporting democratic socialist.
On 1 September 1944, about theWarsaw's insurrection, Orwell expressed in
Tribune
his hostility against the influence of the alliancewith the USSR over the allies: "Do remember that dishonesty and cowardice always have to be paidfor. Do not imagine that for years on end you can make yourself the boot-licking propagandist of thesovietic regime, or any other regine, and then suddenly return to honesty and reason. Once a whore,always a whore." According to Newsinger, although Orwell "was always critical of the 1945–51Labour government's moderation, his support for it began to pull him to the right politically. This didnot lead him to embrace conservatism, imperialism or reaction, but to defend, albeit critically, Labour reformism."
Between 1945 and 1947, withA. J. Ayer andBertrand Russell,he contributed a series

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