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I shall save you Winston I shall make you perfect So OBrien the Grand Inquisitor of 1984 has said to the antihero Winston Smith in one of the dream sequences which strangely go almost unnoticed in that inverted Platonic dialogue which is Orwells monument It is as if the lives of the Platonic philosopher-kings were viewed from the point of view of one of the Auxiliaries But it is not the old style of dialogue in which there is a certain amount of free interchange of ideas even between master and disciple Rather in this new style of dialogue one party has the ability to inflict pain on the other party in any degree desired even while the two proceed to discuss the most abstruse political questions Dialogue implies the ability to have ones mind changed but in the condition of controlled insanity which is 1984 communication consists in the imposition of an insane view of reality by the strong few upon the weak many through overwhelming force OBrien must save Winston but this is religious salvation turned backward and its purpose is to prevent even one just man from existing anywhere in the world by convincing that man that he is insane Is it possible that a whole society can be insane asked Orwell in one of his essays speaking of Hitlers Germany Orwells 1984 is about religion reversed law and government reversed and above all language reversed not simply corrupted but reversed In the world of 1984 the mad world which Orwell sought by his writing to lead men to avoid--for he was a political activist not interested in simple prediction--in this world which I call Orwells antiuniverse because of his conversion of all the positives of Western civilization into their negatives all of the channels of communication are systematically being closed down restricted to just the minimums necessary for the technical functioning of society For Orwell as for his master Swift
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