The key idea O’Brien advanced in the ‘curing’ session is that there is the Party, and nothing else. The Party is immortal. Anything that wasn’t of the Party was not important at best, didn’t exist at worst. Individuals who were decided by the Party as problematic became ‘unpersons.’ Winston was well acquainted with what an unperson was, for in Minitrue, part of his job was removing unpersons from the records – an unperson was someone who was removed from existence, physically, mentally and historically. Unpersons end by ‘never’ existing. As part of the Party being everything, only what the Party advanced was real. Newspeak was modified to continue the removal on unwords that not just the words were removed, but the ideas those words represented were removed from existence, or corrupted to reflect what fits Newspeak, e.g. liberal in the early 1900s referred to a preference for small government, but as the Party wanted to use the term it now refers to someone a preference for government influence in daily life.
Winston wrote in his journal, that ‘there is truth, and there is untruth’ and ‘freedom to say two plus two is four’ [to speak an objective truth]. An objective truth is outside the Party’s omniscience and omnipotence, so with an objective truth being advanced outside the Party being something that didn’t exist, one who advanced it was guilty of having a ‘defective memory.’ A major focus of the torture was to get Winston into delirium, so he would see the four fingers held up by O’Brien, and see as O’Brien advised “Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once.” In dreamed delirium, Winston was having an amicable talk with O’Brien who said “The law of gravity is nonsense. No such law exists. If I think I float, and you think I float, then it happens.” O’Brien summarized in a torture session “Whatever the Party holds to be truth is truth.”
We citizens are both Smith and Parsons; the one who questions and the one who accepts. How does each one of us act? However, we, like them are individuals and as individuals are overall, irrelevant to the Party. Winston thought that with Parsons’ blind faith in the Party, that he’d be forever safe. When the Party needed to make an example that the individual would be sacrificed for the collective, Parsons was offered up to sate the State; he begged to be placed in a labor camp where he could still be useful. Parsons’ obedience was through-and-through, believing himself guilty of the crimes he was charged for the Party couldn’t be wrong and charge an innocent. Winston knew he’d be caught eventually, and argued against his captors, even through his torment. When arguing the difference in existence between men like himself contrasted with Big Brother, O’Brien simply replied [on Big Brother] ‘of course he exists,’ [about Winston] “You do not exist.”
Where does this bring us?
We find ourselves in the process of O’Brien’s breaking of Winston; as we assert our individualism, Obama mocks it. After an indefinite amount of time of starvation and torture, our ragged national body, like Winston’s physical body is brought before a mirror as our tormenter chides us ‘look at you’ and to emphasize their potency, pulls out one of our teeth. When we decry that ‘you did this to me,’ Barak O’Brien simply states “No. You did this to yourself.” Our weak economy, dollar, housing market, continued loss of jobs, are all ‘our’ fault – not the Party’s. It doesn’t matter that the laws and regulations the Party (again Rs & Ds) created were the causes of the weaknesses, that there is a difference between forced starvation and a diet; the Party cannot be wrong.
All the various faces of the Party, and Barak O’Brien move to quash those who are not towing the party line (towing the party line isn’t enough, see Parsons). The various laws, old and coming do not punish violations of rights, but seek to curtail behaviors that in essence seek to make ownlife more enjoyable; salt, alcohol and other forms of pleasure. Through SOPA, NDAA (and if the NDAA isn’t successful, there is the Enemy Expatriation Act whereby citizenship may be revoked), our own homes being considered as part of the battlefield, numerous laws restricting and intruding into our free behavior, we are becoming more enmeshed in the world of the Party, and we may ‘unexist’ when we’ve been deemed problematic. There is an ever-expanding list of ways that we may be considered problematic. Simply arguing against the power-grab of the State may get us listed as malcontents, and persons of interest. The TSA’s and drug-raid expansions, with the other laws shows that the Party can get us at any time, any place.
Think that only ‘the bad guys’ will be the ones who get prosecuted? That only the ones who are the lawbreakers are the ones getting what they deserve? What are the laws expanding into?—salt intake, dress-codes, speech. Each law is expanding more and more to embrace more and more behavior. Coupled with the numerous ways that the police may disregard individual rights (wiretaps, searches, detainment, tracking… all without warrants and due process), the precedent has been set that the Party may get into our lives in numerous ways, according to its whim. With expanding laws that first appear to be ‘for our own good’ the laws become tools of the Thought Police curtailing ownlife, while advancing life for the Party: Party social engineering. The die has been case, as one who hadn’t picked up a gun, fired a shot, only spoke against the Party didn’t even get due process, and was assassinated; don’t let the appearance of Anwar’s guilt be the guiding factor in how we act. Recognize, legally, he was someone who didn’t have charges against him, but he was still killed. Precedents come back and are applied to us; due process has been removed, and will be removed again.
Finally, there is the assumption that Winston had for the reason for his curing by torture, for why people had to be broken in Miniluv: that it was for their own good, and the greater good for all. This is where O’Brien seemed to get flustered, and increased the severity of the torture. O’Brien quickly corrected Winston. Power is its own reward; its own end. There was no love for the proles, or even the Outer Party from the Inner Party. There was just control: dominance. As O’Brien continued when mocking Winston’s hope for Man who would overcome Big Brother, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” That is the true nature of the Party. The laws they make do not make us safer, or improve our lives outside of herded sheep to be shorn or slaughtered; the Party wants self-abasement from the people. Even if there was an Inner Party member who did think that we could be guided for our own benefit, it isn’t the nature of the position sought by those in the Inner Party, and they’d be drowned out by those who want to stomp on our face for even the Inner Party members, as individuals may unexist for contesting the Party. Should, however, an actual “saint” emerge in the Party, will it matter? Slavery is slavery, regardless of the goals of who holds the whips.
It isn’t too late. We still have time, but it is dwindling. The Inner party is not wholly joined, though their goals are coming nearer together. The combination of the drive of the Party (Rs and Ds), along with technology is bringing the event horizon that much closer. Based off of the audio systems in England, there are areas in the US where pre-crime light systems to highlight those who are suspected of possibly getting ready to commit a crime, scanners read license plates to ‘justify’ pulling someone over even if the driver isn’t doing anything illegal but is on a suspect list, and local police forces are now getting drones that were created for military use.
We need to stop the Party from continuing as it wants, before we have a two-way screen in our rooms with a woman telling us that we aren’t trying hard enough in our morning exercise; before her bosses decide that we need to unexist.
Don’t let the would-be Inner Party members control our present.