96# 1984 an Orwellian dystopian future | Big Brother is watching

To most people when you say Big Brother their minds will automatically jump to the popular TV show, that’s seen success across the globe and has sparked debate over the occasional water cooler.

The shows idea is simple a group of people living together under constant CCTV observation. Eating, sleeping, and even fucking.

Unlike the Movie the Truman show where Truman is unaware of his viewers and watchful eye of the show’s creator Christof, the creator of the show, is, ultimately, the God of the world Truman lives in the big brother contestants signed up willingly where Truman was an unwilling participant. Where on the reality show Big Brother actively controls contestants making them jump through hoops in order to have luxury’s such as a decent meal.

BUT many of you may not know the ideas and concepts highlighted throughout the show BIG brother and by extinction the Truman show are a lot closer to home than you might realise.

Since the realise of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Novel, First published on 8 June 1949 by Secker & Warburg as Orwell's ninth and final book completed in his lifetime. Thematically, Nineteen Eighty-Four centres on the consequences of government over-reach, totalitarianism, mass surveillance, and repressive regimentation of all persons and behaviours within society. More broadly, it examines the role of truth and facts within politics and their manipulation.

Themes and concepts that’s not so uncommon in today’s modern world and society, A world where we are constantly watched. Watched from CCTV on the street (for your safety obviously) to bringing those cameras and recording devises in to our homes.

Web cams, Alexa, Xbox and even your TV and phone can in fact be spying on you, all methods of control data collection techniques and technologies described in the novel are very much present in today’s world.


Media studies scholar Mark Miller argued how the famous slogan from the book, “Big Brother Is Watching You” had been turned to “Big Brother is you, watching” television. Meanings were slaves to the screen and easy gratification. Don’t work hard get everything you want.

The novel its self and movie adaption staring John Hurt tells the story of Winston Smith, a hapless middle-aged bureaucrat who lives in Oceania, where he is governed by constant surveillance. Even though there are no laws, there is a policeforce, the “Thought Police,” and the constant reminders, on posters, that “BIG BROTHER IS ALWAYS WATCHING.

So we have to ask the question!

Although we’re not there just yet are we half way to an Orwellian dystopian future? And if so how on earth did we get here?

So what do I we mean when we say an Orwellian future?

What "Orwellian" really means – Noah Tavlin, 5:31, TED

"Orwellian" is an adjective describing a situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free and open society. It denotes an attitude and a brutal policy of draconian control by propaganda, surveillance, disinformation, denial of truth

· (doublethink), the acceptance of contrary opinions or beliefs at the same time, especially as a result of political indoctrination So the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts.

And manipulation of historical events, including the "unperson"—a person whose past existence is expunged from the public record and memory, practiced by modern repressive governments. Often, this includes the circumstances depicted in his novels, particularly Nineteen Eighty-Four but political doublespeak is criticized throughout his work, such as in Politics and the English Language.

Honesty through paranoia (Kevin Smith clerks)

In the movie clerks DANTE leaves a plate of change on the counter with a sign that says please leave money on the counter and take change where applicable. Please be honest.

Theoretically, people see money on the counter and nobody around; they think they're being watched.


The panopticon

A state of conscious and permanent visibility that’s assumes the automatic functioning of power

Jeremy Bentham was a philosopher and reformist who lived in the eighteenth and nineteenth century in England. Not to be confused with the Name Ben the antagonist uses in the TV series LOST although you can understand why he used this name.

Bentham developed many ideas that were quite radical for that time, and one of these ideas was that of the Panopticon.

The idea of the Panopticon was actually first developed not by Jeremy Bentham, but by his brother, Samuel Bentham told him about the concept after a trip he had taken and witnessed slave camps being run by one soldiery guard…. And then Jeremy Bentham built on that idea….. Bentham's proposals and efforts to build a panopticon prison in Millbank at his own expense, was the "means of extracting labour" out of prisoners firstly then show them to their rooms.

This type of institutional building and a system of control designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century way before the Novel 1984 but you can argue Orwell had taken some sort of inspiration from this radical idea, The concept of the design is to allow all prisoners of an institution to be observed by a single security guard, without the inmates being able to tell whether they are being watched or not and said this could be implemented in to many aspects of society such as hospitals and prisons.

You can argue and I will! that this system of control is in full force today but on a global scale. With CCTV and surveillance such as the interception of our phone calls and emails ( Menwith hill ) episode, 62# RAF Menwith hill | The world's most secret spy base we know that were being watched to some degree.

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The concept of honesty through paranoia is not a new idea. The panopticon for example is one idea that uses these concepts to control and keep people guessing am I being watched or not?

The Panopticon Effect by Paul-Michel Foucault was a French philosopher refers to the surveillance and control mechanisms that weigh on society. Those that lead to established norms or disciplines. However, the surveillance and control mechanisms in society are much more imperceptible.

So, Foucault’s Panopticon Effect states that someone is always watching and controlling you … as most conspiracy theorists agree.

Handshakes for example are a social normality’s but Foucault argues that the “Norm” is just a way of saying socially accepted and says that after the black plague normality’s changed in a way that readjusted our Normal.

Not so dissimilar to what’s happening right now.

“Every educational system is a political means of maintaining or of modifying the appropriation of discourse, with the knowledge and the powers it carries with it.”

Despite Bentham’s trying to build and lobby for the prison, the Panopticon in the end was never built. He did come close; it was not easy to put the idea of a central guard who could watch the inmates without being seen by them into practice.

There are several correctional facilities that come closest to the original Panopticon design by having the circular shape and a central inspection tower. Those include, for example, the circular prison of Haarlem in The Netherlands, and the prison of Breda, also in The Netherlands. Both of them are now closed. Another example is the Presidio Modelo prison in Cuba which had five circular blocks. Fidel and Raul Castro were once held here. That prison is now also closed.

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