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1984
by David Goodman

 


George Orwell died in 1950 at the age of 47.
Few people seem to know that during 1946 and 1947 Orwell systematically contemplated the future of the atomic age. This was before writing "Nineteen Eighty-Four," his work of fantasy fiction. Like a researcher at
Rand or the British Secret Service, he drew up three alternate scenarios about the future of the world.

Orwell's Scenarios

Scenario one may be called "preemptive strike." Orwell called it "preventive war." This scenario was based upon the fact that in 1945 the Americans had the atomic bomb and the Russians did not. Moreover, he believed the Russians probably would not be nuclear armed for five years - or at the other limits ten. Therefore, the Americans might "fly" through the so-called "window of vulnerability. This was a possibility, but Orwell concluded it would solve nothing. It might eliminate Russia as a threat, but it would lead to new empires, fresh rivalries, new wars, and more atomic bombs. Besides a preemptive attack would not be easily committed by any country that retains any trace of democracy." Orwell concluded that this scenario would be "the least likely outcome" of the three he contemplated.

Scenario two is more familiar. It envisioned atomic war returning the planet to the Stone Age. Those who perceive Orwell lacking in humor should stop for a moment to hear the name he gave the scenario: Whiz! Go the rockets, wallop! Go the bombs." What the scenario foresaw was that the United States, the Soviet Union, and several other countries would all acquire atomic bombs inevitably leading to global atomic war in which the major industrial centers would be pulverized - probably beyond repair.

Even if any one state or group of states emerged the victor, it would probably be unable to rebuild the machine civilization anew. The remaining world population would be a few hundred million human beings
living away from population center. They would be subsistence farmers, and they and the world would be devoid of culture. For friends of technology it paints a grim scenario. But Orwell saw this too as a less-likely scenario than the third, which was so clearly described in his book, "Nineteen Eighty-Four."


Orwell's Real Fear

In order to understand scenario three, we must consider Orwell's attitude towards intellectuals. He did not like them. Although he graduated from Eton, a prestigious preparatory school in England, he did not go on to college. Instead, he was posted to the British Imperial Police in Burma. Upon his return to Britain he avoided urban intellectuals. Even when reporting the conditions of the unemployed in the industrial north of England, Orwell could not resist taking a jab at the intellectuals, mostly on the left. In his report, "The Road to Wigand Pier, such gems of Orwellian disdain for the left practically elbow each other in the text.
One of Orwell's choice intellectualisms goes like this: "that dreary tribe of high-minded women and sandal-wearers and bearded fruit-juice drinkers who come flocking to the smell of progress. He had especial disdain for those he called "tract writers" and "fuzzy-haired intellectuals in pullover sweaters." It was particularly communist fellow travelers, the effect, and generally ineffectual socialists, the believers and disbelievers in Marx who received his ridicule. His criticism of the left culminated in his fairy tale, "Animal Farm," about the Russian revolution.


Totalitarian Intellectuals

"Nineteen Eighty-Four" is simply a fantasy in which the intellectuals turn totalitarian and take over the world. By 1984 the heirs of the '30s fuzzy-haired intellectuals, the type who were earnestly "seeking love" and "Searching for truth" would take over. They were the ones who affected the poverty of peasants, wor sandals, and proclaimed that when they came to power there would be "peace and plenty" for all. Orwell
noticed that during the war in the early '40s a change came over the intellectuals with whom he worked.

He saw the intellectuals in the British ministries acquiring totalitarian tendencies. They wrote bloody good propaganda. They advised Whitehall. Prime Ministers read their memos. They had indeed come a long way - from water-in-your-beer Bohemian cafes to Number 10 Downing Street. After World War II with their rucksacks safely sowed in the cloakrooms of government ministries, they joined the government. Government careers beckoned, and room was made for them to share, as Richard Rees put it, in "the enormous power of the technological bureaucracy."

Scenario three envisioned the descendants of the '30s liberalscontrolling power via the expedient of "continuous war." After World War II ended, Orwell said "the fear inspired by the atomic bomb and other weapons yet to come (is) so great that everyone refrains from using them." This would necessitate a tacit agreement by the two or three great super states never to use the atomic bomb against each other and to divide the world into separate "zones of influence."

With this external threat to stability removed, in every state a world view would arise. Also, the kind of beliefs that concentrate administrative power into fewer and fewer hands would be nurtured. Then, under the pretense of a Cold War threat from its enemies, the leadership of each state would sever its ties with the outside world and set up a political atmosphere that would eliminate any possibility of internal
rebellion.


1984's Satiric Target

Undoubtedly, "Nineteen Eighty-Four" is a satire of totalitarian intellectuals - not the socialist and the communists he had "burned" in earlier books nor the right wing intellectual he had "buried" in Burma. It was directed toward the intelligent men he had worked with during World War II, the men who were capable of dreaming up a Thought Police, Doublethink, Newspeak, mutable history. It was the new breed of tough intellectuals descended from the meek intellectuals of the '30s who Orwell lambasted in "Nineteen Eighty-Four."
"How do I know that "Nineteen Eighty-Four" is spoof on the heirs of the '30s liberals , the Fabian Socialists in Britain?

By the evidence that Orwell was 'greening' the Anglo establishment. In "Nineteen Eighty-Four," the establishment calls the state Oceania, a utopian name. They seek a tribal family identity and find it under Big Brother's aegis. But it is the names of the ministries that are a dead giveaway to what Orwell meant: the Ministry of Peace...it wages war; the Ministry of Plenty...it breeds scarcities; the Ministry of
Truth...it tells lies; and the Ministry of Love...it dispenses hate. Is not this what the '30s liberals promised when they came to power: a government of Love and Truth and Peace and Plenty?
So now we know what Orwell meant in "Nineteen Eighty-Four."


The breakdown of Western democracies

He foresaw the breakdown of Western democracies inside of 40 years. The danger would lie in liberal and socialist governments, and they necessity to prepare for total war with the Soviet Union. As a result of the war there would be a world of hard problems to be faced by the super states. It would be in their best interest to trumpet the dangers of the "enemies'" new weapons, and how rival states armed with them were the chief threat to world peace.

But behind this unifying tension adept minds were at work formulating a new society. These leaders represented a tougher kind of intelligence than was customarily found among postwar leaders of the western democracies. Given 20 years to centralize power, a lingering Cold War, and the failure of nerve, these new leaders drawn from the ranks of the heirs of the '30s liberals, would build a unified world that was socially, politically and economically totalitarian.


Orwell's Caveat

More than 23 million copies of Orwell's fantasy have been sold in England and America. A large number of readers regard the novel as a warning against communism or a fascist takeover of government. Yet this is not what Orwell meant.

"Nineteen Eighty-Four" is a premeditated, rational warning against the seeds of totalitarian thought that Orwell believed could be widespread in the English-speaking world in the '80s. Orwell's plan was to write his anticipations in the form of a naturalistic novel, rather than to submit a list of predictions to a book of collected readings or to a national newspaper. Nonetheless, if we judged by the success of the predictions, it is quite an accurate warning and forecast of totalitarian tendencies
in open societies such as ours.

The burden of proof has now shifted to those ho deny Orwell. The economy, the failures of the technological bureaucracy, increasing Global inequity , Global food and water shortages, increasing competition amongst Nations for scarce Resources ,the increasing power of transnational companies , the cultivation of consumerism, The power of the military industrial complex and the p pharmaceutical industry , peak oil - all suggest that Orwell is entitled to his crackly last laugh.

Do I believe that "Nineteen Eighty-Four" has come to America? I will give a safe, diplomatic answer, one I read in a recent "People's Almanac." Two authors asked rhetorically in an essay how close was "Nineteen Eighty-Four." Their answer: "Orwell's '1984' is just around the corner - in more ways than one." Looking ahead to what lies in store for us all, I see no reason to disagree.

I would like to thank the distinguished Fabian Socialist Bernard Crick who touched on the true origins of "1984" in George Orwell: A Life and who provided me many insights. His book also stimulated me to write a manuscript on how "1984" may also be a blistering satire on Fabian Socialism. We can say that it is the Fabian socialists under Bernard Crick were the subjects of satire in many ways in "1984."

David Alan Goodman, M.S., Ph.D.
Director

Newport Neuroscience Center of North County San Diego Topic: Building DaVinci's Brain 500 Years Later
Sometimes we accept the future of the mind painted for us by others. Here is the opportunity to view the Mona Lisa of brain models.

According to Dr. Goodman, in DaVinci's extensive journals we discover a sophisticated formulation of the human mind and how it works; quite literally 500 hundred years ahead of its time. Goodman will disclose for the first time a previously unsuspected, hidden mechanism of the mind.
"The human mind is driven by a covert rhythms, unique to each individual. In the past, most scientists could do little more than speak vaguely about waves and wave interactions without the precision essential for the growth of modern bioscience," he says.

Now, following decades of advanced study in the science of biological rhythms by Goodman, the unconscious workings of the mind, are now emerging. Quite clearly the human mind engenders rhythms lasting from minutes to years, and they can be detected in sequences of nightly dreams.

"The inner mechanisms of the brain are best analyzed in the dream state where no conscious meddling can occur," says Goodman. He avers after studying tens of thousands of dreams that the mechanisms of mind stand revealed far better while we are asleep than when we are awake.

After Goodman links Da Vinci's brain model to modern chronomics, the audience can comprehend how the DaVinci model of the brain makes sense today; the genius of the Old Master shining out. They will also know more about the origins of dreams, and can foresee in 2014 a computing system named after DaVinci showing emotions during the day and dreaming during the night.

Speaker: David Alan Goodman, M.S., Ph.D.
Receiving his degrees in Neuroscience from the University of Chicago and UC Irvine, Goodman for three decades has conduced research in the science now known as mental chronomics. In reports published between 1995 and 2004 he has established the existence of multiple intermeshed rhythms comprising certain aspects of the human mind.