He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear.
But so long as he uttered it, in some obscure way the continuity was not broken.
ORWELL SAW GOD IN MAN
It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane
that you carried on the human heritage. ~ 1984
To Orwell Today
re: the SPIRIT OF MAN idea at end of 1984
I’m writing in response to the exchange between you and Yusuf about God in 1984. Given the very dark tone of the rest of the book and this sudden burst of irrational optimism, I don’t think Orwell was trying to give us hope, or to say that Winston had any real chance of escape, or that the system had any real chance of being defeated. Rather, I think he was trying to show us that in trying to be brave, Winston was resorting to a kind of pathological coping mechanism, an irrational belief that had nothing to do with reality or with his fate. It’s kind of like when someone says, “Things just HAVE to get better.” When someone says that, or something like it, almost invariably, things really DON’T have to get better, as much as people might want them to. Note that the ending of the book gives us no indication that “life” or the spirit of Mankind (whatever THAT is) would ever defeat the Party. If you take this interpretation (which I think is by far the most reasonable and the one that Orwell intended) then there's no role for God's existence in this exchange or the novel in general.
Just my ray of sunshine for the day,
Actually, Orwell DID believe that the masses, which, like him, were human beings with souls, could rise up against tyrannical rulers and overpower them PROVIDING they knew what they were up against. That's why Winston wrote his diary and Orwell wrote 1984.
Orwell believed that IF the people were told what was really going on behind-the-scenes of government (that it was being run by an evil organization that wanted to rule the entire world with brute force, treating human beings like cattle) then they would prevent it from getting into power and be spared the hell he describes in 1984. He says many times throughout the book that IF this organization (he called it Big Brother) DOES get into power, it will probably be too late to throw them out.
But even though it would probably be hopeless to return the world back to the way it was before it became hopeless, he still had some faint hope that somewhere in the future somehow and someway a spark of humanity would ignite the latent power of the masses and goodness and decency would prevail.
Orwell referred to the latent force that lives inside human beings and gives them the power to overthrow evil as "the spirit of Man" but another way of saying it could be "God in Man".
So contrary to what you have concluded, Orwell DID find a place for God in 1984.
All the best,
PS - You say that belief in "a spirit of Man" ever overthrowing something like the Party is "a pathological coping mechanism" not based on reality. Actually, the powers-that-be are taking the concept of a "spirit of Man" seriously enough to consider it a threat, as was reported in news stories all over the world the same day I received your email. They're planning to torture people* at Oxford University, England, to see if they can find where their spiritual strength comes from, so they can destroy it. That's what O'Brien was doing to Winston.
WINSTON EXISTED, STILL EXISTS
*TORTURING TO FIND GOD and SPIRIT OF MAN and WHO CONTROLS WINSTON'S MIND? and WINSTON DIES INSIDE
42.The Party Tells Why and GOLDSTEIN'S CONSPIRACY FOR WORLD DOMINANTION and UNITED NATIONS IS BIG BROTHER and WHY ORWELL WROTE 1984
1.Winston's Diary and 14.Scientific Experimentation and 39.Interrogation & Torture and 40.Electric Shock Brainwashing
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