Tag Archives | hope

Summer of Surveillance: 1984 vs. The Circle

[Editor's note: This post contains minor spoilers.]

In 1984, George Orwell presents a dystopian future in which citizens are under constant surveillance by the government, while records of the past are continuously edited and destroyed. The past becomes an abstract notion, ever shifting and strategic, and these manipulative tactics allow the ruling elite to maintain control. This is a closed system, through which pure information only flows in one direction before being heavily altered and then filtered back to the unsuspecting masses. With slogans like “WAR IS PEACE”, “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY”, and “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”, Orwell makes it quite clear that the rulers of this world mean business and will stop at nothing to ensure the continuation of their reign.

Three surveillance cameras on the corner of a building. By Hustvedt via Wikimedia Commons.

Three surveillance cameras on the corner of a building. By Hustvedt via Wikimedia Commons.

In The Circle, Dave Eggers presents an interesting contrast to Orwell’s dark and legendary vision.… Read the rest

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The Case Against Hope

do-you-feel-hopeless-21308086Derrick Jensen writing in the May/June 2006 issue of Orion Magazine:

We’ve all been taught that hope in some future condition—like hope in some future heaven—is and must be our refuge in current sorrow. I’m sure you remember the story of Pandora. She was given a tightly sealed box and was told never to open it. But, being curious, she did, and out flew plagues, sorrow, and mischief, probably not in that order. Too late she clamped down the lid. Only one thing remained in the box: hope. Hope, the story goes, was the only good the casket held among many evils, and it remains to this day mankind’s sole comfort in misfortune. No mention here of action being a comfort in misfortune, or of actually doing something to alleviate or eliminate one’s misfortune.

The more I understand hope, the more I realize that all along it deserved to be in the box with the plagues, sorrow, and mischief; that it serves the needs of those in power as surely as belief in a distant heaven; that hope is really nothing more than a secular way of keeping us in line.

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