Religion in *1984*?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by David T, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. samcster94 Well-Known Member

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    Just an FYI:North Korea, the real world's analog to 1984, does have a religion, only said religion is Juche(a racist personality cult around the dictator).
     
  2. Mark E. Well-Known Member

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    That is a very good point. Since Big Brother controls all media, including radio and tele, we may assume Winston can not legally use or possess a radio that can receive worldwide broadcasts. The foreign radio of the real world has been totally silenced in 1984, by controlling receivers.
     
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  3. theg*ddam*hoi2fan Beware of the Leopard

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    Indeed. And likely many of the people who end up disappeared were those who had radios or whatever that could detect outside news.

    Also it occurs to me Oceania does have a religion - Big Brother...
     
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  4. CivEng Well-Known Member

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    I never understood the asymmetry among the 3 empires. Oceania is always at war with one empire and ally with the other. If this is true, what makes Oceania special that it is never at war with Eurasia and Eastasia at the same time?
     
  5. Analytical Engine Monarchist Collectivist Federalist

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    One theory is that all three empires collude with each other to keep the war going, in order to maintain their totalitarian ideals. Back home, I suspect Eastasia and Eurasia use the same policies.

    Of course, that assumes that there even is a war in the first place...
     
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  6. Mark E. Well-Known Member

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    Orwell died not long after finishing 1984. I wonder if he didn't have sequels in mind (1985, 1994) set elsewhere (New York, Rome) that illustrated his world of the time from different viewpoints.
     
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  7. Baron Bizarre Is probably thinking about his next meal...

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    Interesting. Having read up on Orwell a little this afternoon, I wonder if he was mocking the classism of the bourgeois "socialists" he himself detested.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
  8. H.Flashman(VC) Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion, Orwell was a person who many times shows moments of absolute independent thinking, but at other times is also influenced by his own society. He thinks in classes in a typical English way. I find it much saying that there's so little interaction between Winston and the proles. Another interesting English thing i noticed in his writing (his letters and reviews etc.), is his mistrust of Catholicism. It looks sometimes if he sees all catholics as ultramontans, pawns of the pope. To link this to the O.P. question, i think catholicism would be forbidden in airstrip one, no foreign control over the minds.
     
  9. Tripledot Well-Known Member

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    Juche is not a religion and it's quite ridiculous to seriously suggest that it is one.
     
  10. Danthefan28 Well-Known Member

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    Eastasia does seem a lot like a Theocracy.
     
  11. TheScottishMongol Miss Demizona 2018

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    If you read between the lines, the "Death Cult" of Eastasia is a misinterpretation of their doctrine "Destruction of the Self", much in the same way the people of Eurasia or Oceania are expected to sacrifice themselves utterly for the good of the state. Eastasia is just another totalitarian oligarchy, functionally I wouldn't be surprised if their government structures, tactics for maintaining control, and ideologies are indistinguishable (indeed I feel the book supports this).

    That said, I think religion is formally outlawed in all three superstates, it creates a loyalty beyond that of the state and the party. Granted there are doubtless personality cults, but those aren't really formal religious traditions and "superstitious" beliefs such as belief in the afterlife are probably persecuted.

    There may very well be some underground religions, Orwell didn't seem to think much of the Proles and as mentioned elsewhere in this thread he probably viewed them as inherently irreligious, but it may be likely that a few folk religions survive in areas where the party doesn't care that much, and even then nothing too overt, just some candles and icons that can be kept in a box and some muttered prayers. This is to say nothing of whatever religions are maintained in the areas contested by the three parties, which to wit would be largely Hindu and Muslim with some Christians.
     
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  12. Mark E. Well-Known Member

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    Since the Proles were consumed with day-to-day existence, the Inner Party might not be concerned with isolated religious observance (typical bible) as long as there were no congregations to meet. Effectively, religion becomes home study that will eventually "fade away" as Marx anticipated. It will take generations, but Big Brother will replace the concept of God.
     
  13. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member

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    Did Orwell want to say that all the Anglicans are hypocrites?
     
  14. overoceans Well-Known Member

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    re: whether or not the war is real, or, as Julia thinks, is just a hoax.

    I believe Goldstein's book(which is almost certainly more of an authorial voice than any one character in the book, O'Brien possibly an inverted exception) states that the war is basically real, but that the various governments all recognize that no one is ever going to win.

    In Isaac Deutscher's introduction to an edition of 1984, he mentions a conversation with Orwell in which Orwell stated the view that, after World War II, the Soviets and Americans sat down and deliberately planned out a cold-war, thinking that such an arrangment would be mutually beneficial. Deutscher found this view a little far-fetched, though it does sort of jibe with how Orwell portrays the world situation in his book.
     
  15. hopper2cool Well-Known Member

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    My opinion is that all 3 are always fighting each other but aren't really at "War". Thousands die a year on multiple fronts but no one wants to win or lose.
     
  16. Sovereign12 Well-Known Member

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    Both @lionhead and @theg*ddam*hoi2fan have mentioned this, but Big Brother is the only religion.
    Even if it is never stated in the book.

    It is all a cult of personality that had evolved over time into an undeclared religion. Big Brother is both God and the messiah. Goldstein is the Devil, nemesis, and adversary, out there tempting good little proles and Outer Party members with instant gratification of freedom from the State. The daily Two-Minute-Hate is a religious prayer session. The Ministry of Love is the church itself, and while separate, the Ministry of Truth is really just another sect of monks/priests of Miniluv. The use of fear as control of the populace is the same as the Catholic and Orthodox churches used earlier in our history, and the same with most of the Protestant churches later on with the talk of hell as fire, brimstone, and eternal torture. Fear what we say. Do what we say. And you life will be fine...blah, blah, blah
     
  17. H.Flashman(VC) Well-Known Member

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    Although O'Brien can be an unreliable narator and thruth has no meaning in Oceania, so you will never really know, i think you're right.Orwell was one of the first to understand the impact of the atomic bomb. In his essay, written in 1945 "You and the atomic bomb" He describes a world of superpowers, the have's, who will not attack each other directly as it is too distructive, but at the same time bully the havenot's with the bomb (First mention of the word Cold War ever). Cue a few years thinking about the subject later, and you arrive at the world of 1984 as depicted by Goldstein.
     
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  18. overoceans Well-Known Member

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    That is for the most part true, but I'd make a slight correction about the proles: it is stated that the Inner Party doesn't much care about them, and doesn't make anywhere near the same efforts at inundating them with the official ideology, as they do the with Outer Party. A good example of this is the deliberate flooding of the prole market with pornographic literature produced by pornosec, whereas Inner Party members are actually forbidden to read the stuff.

    So, if we're talking about why the proles don't have religion, I think it gets back to Orwell's idea(accurate or otherwise) that religion never had much following among the English working class to begin with.

    (And personally, I've always found it somewhat odd that the Inner Party would dedicate so much time to propagandizing the Outer Party, but leave the proles, who constitute 85% of the population, to live as they pleased. I wonder if Orwell regarded that as the common arrangement in totalitarian regimes, or if(as seems more likely) he was satirizing left-wing political parties in the UK who spent all their time inflicting ideological orhtodoxy on their own members, while never being able to reach the workers themsevles.)
     
  19. Sovereign12 Well-Known Member

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    But just by the fact that pornography was promoted towards the proles indicates that the Inner party does take some interest, which implies that religion was, at some point and some how, purged from the general population of thought. And the fact that the Inner party does place agents to disseminate rumors and stories within the prole population, in order to root out the intelligent among them, means that religion was probably used until no longer necessary. Food, sports, porn, and other entertainments is all the proles care about. I think the Inner party knows there are to many proles to effectively police all the time, but anything, such as religion, would mean the proles are not working towards the goals of the state, and must be eliminated.
     
  20. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member

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    Not to mention Victory Gin (tm).