ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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1984 ≠ 2014 + 2016

How do political choices made by an electorate allow for new words to be uttered and acts to be done?

Newspeak, the language created by the totalitarian state of Oceania in George Orwells dystopian novel 1984, was aimed at the limiting of linguistic complexity. It operated through an impoverishment of vocabulary and by the banishment of words. Newspeak is predicated upon a profound belief in the potency of language. Words dont just express idle thoughts but are also guides to action. For instance, if the word freedom doesnt exist then the Orwellian understanding is that one cannot desire it and, thus, fight for it.

1984 presents in fictionalised form what philosophers have long known: to say something is to do something. The difference between this famous adage and the world presented in 1984 is that certain things cannot/will not be done as they constitute Thoughtcrimes. In the novel, because the very wordsfor example, freedom, love, equalityno longer exist they cannot be conceived of and acted upon.

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