George Orwell and the Necessity of Honesty
Vladimir Lenin, the first leader of the Soviet Union, once stated “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.
” In times of inclusive deception, it is only innate for humanity to be blinded by the truth in a vast sea of lies to the point in which the act of telling the truth becomes revolutionary. In George Orwell’s 1984, society is led by the fabrication of the truth in an attempt to create a perfect world. But this attempt merely creates a society built upon lies and corruption.Through this novel, George Orwell comments on the necessity for humans to tell the truth and confront lies, deceit, and prevarication because humanity will face detrimental consequences if they do not. Orwell stresses the importance of humanity to tell the truth by addressing the consequences of dishonesty inflicted on the human race. In the novel 1984, the Party’s slogan, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past,” reveals the government’s pursuit to control all aspects of peoples’ lives.
By altering history, the Party has absolute power of the present, limiting the psychological independence of its subjects by controlling their interpretations of the past. Individuals are forbidden to keep any account of their past, such as photographs and documents, and all recordings, great or small fade “away into a shadow-world in which, finally, even the date of the year is uncertain. ” Therefore, the members of the society are willing to believe in any “truth” the Party feeds them.Due to the reliance of authority, humanity would become highly infantile and foolish. Just as infants depend on their parents’ guidance, all of human kind would act as little children, relying on authority to direct them to the truth. People would virtually have no memory of the past, so they would have no experience of emotions and would not know what emotions truly are. As a result, Orwell suggests that people would not grow as human beings because they would be willing to believe in anything authority tells them, without doubting the fallacy of it.
In turn, humans would not be able to distinguish right from wrong. Orwell comments on the necessity for humans to confront lies, deceit, and prevarication because humans will face insanity if they do not. In the novel, when Winston is confined in the Ministry of Love, O’Brien holds up four fingers and commands Winston to say he is holding up five fingers, despite the falsehood of that statement. Yet, Winston continually says “four” and is physically tortured as a result. Until he can no longer endure the pain, Winston finally clamors, “Five. Five. Five.
But O’Brien accuses Winston of lying and inflicts more excruciating pain on him. Once again, O’Brien asks, “How many fingers am I holding up, Winston? ” Winston then cries, “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know…Four, five, six—in all honesty I don’t know! ” This reveals that human confrontation with lies, deceit, and prevarication leads to absolute insanity. Orwell comments on the practice of doublethink as very immoral and psychologically damaging to the human mind. This in turn will affect the happiness of humans, leaving them without hope and a reason to live.Thus, the main point of humankind would be serve the government and please authority.
The search for even the simplest truth among the greatest lies can be treacherous because it easy for humans to be blinded by the truth. Through the novel 1984, Orwell voices his abhorrence on the human attempt in creating a perfect world, and he greatly accentuates the human need for humans to tell the truth and confront lies, deceit, and prevarication. Eventually, if humankind does not do exactly this, the future of society will lead to an ultimate demise.