By Tao Gaede
Orwell defined the evil society:
“There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always… there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”
My question is what is the opposite of this definition? Is the opposite of such a vision for an evil society a vision for a good society? (I suspect it is essential to merely inhibit the evil extremes rather than affirm the extreme good for fear of corrupting the good into a new kind of evil; that is, this definition should not be thought of as simple negation).
But let’s see what flipping the valence gives us, in order of intensity:
“There will be no curiosity”
> There will be some curiosity
> There will always be curiosity
“There will be no enjoyment of the process of life”
> There will be some enjoyment of the process of life
“All competing pleasures will be destroyed”
> Some competing pleasures may be destroyed
> No competing pleasures will be destroyed
> No competing pleasures will be destroyed and some competing pleasures will be harmonious
> Most competing pleasures will be made harmonious while the rest, deemed absolutely intolerable for social cohesion will be understood and managed
“There will be intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler”
> There will be no intoxication of power, therefore it will not grow in any manner
“At every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless”
> At some moments there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless
> At some moments there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of overcoming an enemy who is not helpless (not helpless and overcoming must go together)
> At some moments there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of overcoming an obstacle that is substantial (Obstacles: impediments (largely introspective) to the creation and cultivation of human solidarity, art, knowledge, and community). Another definition of obstacle: The forces that intend or directly create the evil of Orwell’s evil society.
The evil picture: locally satisfying, globally undermining. It places individuals into a perpetual heroin addiction, giving each their dose of momentary intoxication and incremental self-destruction. Simultaneously, it makes human solidarity and community superficial and selfish, since addicts only want their fix and can only see others as a means to getting their fix. Orwell’s evil picture undermines art and knowledge by constraining it to a single dimension: victory over the enemy. We, ostensibly sentient beings, become projected shadows of our potential. We scurry, like ants following pheromones to reach our next dose.
The picture of a good future: [TBD]
Each of the following is nominally absurd, but dangerous not because of this absurdity, but because they can be interpreted in false sophistication as revealing deeper truths about the human condition. Therefore, they seem justifiably deep to base a political vision behind.
“War is Peace”
In perpetual war, there can exist a perpetual steady state condition in society. People can grow accustomed to this warring steady state (occasional son dying elsewhere; a local bombing). This acclimation to the warring steady state condition in society can be, with appropriate sophistication, defined as “peace”. There can be no war when war is all there is. The society in the steady state of war knows no peace – and so knows no war, therefore in true ignorance, the two become the same.
“Freedom is Slavery”
When all are addicted to perpetual and constant service toward the uni-dimensional end of intoxication, freedom is to slavery as peace is to war when war is peace: there is a steady state and single-mindedness to perpetual servitude of addiction. Therefore, since servitude is all there is, freedom can mean nothing but servitude, so freedom is slavery. So like “War is Peace”, “Freedom is Slavery” is predicated on the undermining of sentient potential.
“Ignorance is Strength”
Strength can be arrived at from multiple roads, and ignorance is a precondition for travelling down one of these roads. Identifying ignorance with strength blocks the many other roads to strength and so is yet another simplification of sentience.
Totalitarianism necessarily implies the simplification of sentience through addiction, and this addiction trades sentient solidarity, curiosity, art, knowledge, and community for intoxication. In totalitarianism, it is by the perpetual pursuit of intoxicant chemicals that we become like ants.