1984

By George Orwell

Written in 1949 Orwell pens a warning about the dangers of Communism he witnessed in Spain and Russia. The government uses various tactics to control all aspects of human life and demonstrates that totalitarianism ultimately destroys individuality.

Themes:

  1. Psychological Manipulation
  2. Physical Control
  3. Information and History Manipulation
  4. Technology
  5. Language as Mind Control
  6. Loyalty
  7. Resistance and Revolution
  8. Independence and Identity

war is peace
freedom is slavery
ignorance is strength

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn’t really mean it. But that isn’t true. At the time when it happens you do mean it. You think there’s no other way of saving yourself and you’re quite ready to save yourself that way. You want it to happen to the other person. You don’t give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself.

“‘Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.’”

A Testament of Devotion

Thomas R. Kelly packs much truth into the few pages of this book. I have included a few quotes:

A practicing Christian must above all be one who practices the perpetual return of the soul into the inner sanctuary, who brings the world into its Light and rejudges it, who brings the Light into the world with all its turmoil and its fitfulness and recreates it (after the pattern seen on the Mount). To the reverent exploration of this practice we now address ourselves.

Holy Obedience

Religion as a dull habit is not that for which Christ lived and died.

Yet as Moses knew, no man can look on God and live-live as his old self. Death comes, blessed death, death of one’s alienating will. And one know what Paul meant when he wrote, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God” (Gal. 2:20).

But one know ever after that the Eternal Lover of the world, the Hound of Heaven, is utterly, utterly real, and that life must henceforth be forever determined by that Real.

There, beyond, in Him is the true Center, and we are reduced, as it were, to nothing, for He is all.

And he only is near to God who is exceedingly humble.

For humility and holiness are twins in the astonishing birth of obedience in the heart of men. So God draws unworthy us, in loving tenderness, up into fellowship with His glorious self.

The Eternal Now and Social Concern

Religion is not our concern; it is God’s concern. The sooner we stop thinking we are the energetic operators of religion and discover that God is at work, as the Aggressor, the Invader, the Initiator, so much the sooner do we discover that our task is to all men to be still and know, listen, harken in quiet invitation to the subtle prompting s of the Divine.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock,” but too many well-intentioned people are so preoccupied with the clatter of effort to do something for God that they don’t hear Him asking that He might do something through them.

But the Loving Presence does not burden us equally with all things, by considerately puts upon each of us just a few central tasks, as emphatic responsibilities, For each of us these special undertakings are our share in the joyous burdens of love.

The Simplification of Life

Complexity of our program cannot be blamed upon complexity of our environment, much as we should like to think so. Nor will simplification of life follow simplification of environment.

Our real problem, in failing to center down, is not a lack of time; it is, I fear, in too many of us, lack of joyful, enthusiastic delight in Him, lack of deep, deep-drawing love directed toward Him at every hour of the day and night.