Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Orwell Was Wrong: It's Worse

Orwell was off with one major thing.

His Big Brother wielded an openly phony type of warmth to rule the people; it was warm, placid water with the shadows of sharks visible below; it was a slogan with intentional ambiguity that chilled the blood: "Big Brother is watching." Let's not forget, as well, that "Big Brother" is also a carefully chosen "family member" -- the one who can be your biggest protector or your greatest tormentor.

It's not like that, though -- now that we are all "on the grid" and under the microscope. The ones who want us to think in flocks of thought that dart left and right in neat phalanxes use more insidious techniques. They are chumming up to us. Worse, they are making the things they wish to be so so, simply by acting like they are; eventually, if they keep doing us, those who disagree are bound to shake their heads and realize it was all just a dream.

Owell didn't have a dark enough view of human nature, believe it or not. We don't let our evil intent seep through in shadowy speech and pointed innuendo. We don't put a crooked finger up to our lips and rumble a low laugh. In fact, we don't even think it evil to try to control the thoughts of others. It's "just business"; or government. No need to take it personally, my friends. It's finance; it's security; it's the status quo.

Worse, the Big Brothers of today coerce us with encouragement and the personae of lovable coaches; make their control feel like a friendly arm around the shoulder. Facebook tells us: Hey, old pal! You're almost there! Just a few more pieces of your personal information and your sadly incomplete profile will be complete -- and so will you. 

Google celebrates the wonders of its fellow humans with cute icons. Warm icons and animations. Cute cartoons. They don't wear suits at Google; those are thier fathers' clothes. Google people are young; they are jeans and T-shirt people.  Then they do this: invisible electronic tattoos on the neck. No, I am not kidding.

Other than that, it is unfolding just the way the sci-fi writers said it would -- especially the part where people laugh off the warning signs.

(Hat Tip: Scott Stein.)


  1. If I can, I'll attempt to make you more cynical than you already are, Chris.

    In 1933 when Congress enacted HJR-192, people were asked to exchange their gold standard currency for federal notes which are representations of private credit. Nobody was told this was private law, and thus a voluntary act. (In essence, incurring federal income tax is voluntary).

    At its very core, social media and the progression of big corporations like Google and Facebook is in voluntarism. That little quip about an incomplete profile is what makes people feel like they haven't sold themselves enough yet in public. Social registration, as I'll call it, is a voluntary act, but seen analogous to a requirement, and most young people now find themselves in a position where it would almost be detrimental to NOT sketch themselves on the internet.

    This reminds me of a discussion I had with a friend of mine, who used to subscribe to Illuminati conspiracy theories. She came to the conclusion that if the theories were real, the "Illuminati" wouldn't even know they were. They would just be heads of large corporations who are unknowingly working for their own and each others' benefit and by consequence are practically enslaving the public.

    Now, I used some strong words there, but the point is you're probably more accurate than Orwell but still not accurate enough.

    1. Sadly, it all comes down to large-scale peer pressure; and it's (astoundingly) working...