To Orwell Today,

Hi there,

Really like your site and am intrigued by the state of affairs (security measures) today.

Viktor Frankl made some very good arguments as to why we are willing to give our freedom, not only for the security of our lives, but for the security of maintaining our social status/position.

However, here is a menial question, but one that's bugged me for awhile.

In "1984" where it reads:

"war is peace
freedom is slavery
ignorance is strength"

shouldn't it read:

"war is peace
slavery is freedom
ignorance is strength"

"Freedom is slavery" just seems the odd one out (with the other 2 starting with a negative and finishing with a good connotation).

I'd like to know if you've encountered/answered this question before.

Here's a nice sentiment to leave you with: What is to give light must endure burning - Frankl.

Zane Khan

Greetings Zane,

The reasoning behind the "freedom is slavery" slogan would be something you'd have to take up with old George himself, and he's not here in person to explain. We can be sure of one thing though, and that's that it wasn't a typing mistake because Orwell writes it out that way, LOUD AND CLEAR, in his own handwriting in the manuscript of 1984. Below's a scan of the pertinent page (just click on it to enlarge for reading):

BB Slogans
"...From where Winston was standing it was just
possible to read, picked out in its white face in
elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:


But I definitely see your point about the two other phrases starting with negative connotations, ie "war" and "ignorance" and yet the middle phrase starts with a positive connotation, ie "freedom".

The only explanation I can come up with is that Orwell is demonstrating an example of how Big Brother uses doublethink to confuse and confound people's thinking processes. He DID say, in "1984", that "the prevailing mental condition is controlled insanity" and that "doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them".

All the best,
Jackie Jura

PS - Actually, I found where Orwell DOES answer your question (through O'Brien explaining it to Winston). See 42.BB Tell's Why (... "You know the Party slogan: 'Freedom is Slavery'. Has it ever occurred to you that it is reversible? 'Slavery is freedom'.... Alone - free - the human being is always defeated... But if he can make complete, utter submission, if he can escape from his identity, if he can merge himself in the Party so that he is the Party, then he is all-powerful and immortal...)




1.Big Brother (...Then the face of BIG BROTHER faded away again, and the three slogans of the Party stood out in bold capitals: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH...)

22.Doublethink (...The official ideology abounds with contradictions even when there is no reason for them.... Even the names of the four Ministries by which Oceania is governed are a deliberate reversal of facts: The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with War; the Ministry of Truth with Lies; the Ministry of Love with Torture; and the Ministry of Plenty with Starvation. These contradictions are not accidental. They are a deliberate exercise of doublethink. If the High are to keep their places permanently - then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity.)

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

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