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The 3 doctrines of Ingsoc

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message 1: by Asra (last edited Jul 27, 2011 08:31AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Asra Ghouse War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength


Remember these three doctrines?
Has it actually become like this in the world of today?

When I'd finished the book and posted my review, I got involved with a very lengthy discussion on these doctrines. I for one cannot see them being applicable in our time. However, a friend of mine points out that all these three are being seen in today's USA.

What do you guys think?


message 2: by Haley (last edited Jul 31, 2011 05:27PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Haley War is Peace - I never really understood this concept. I read the book years ago, and if I remember correctly, it was said that there was constant war between the territories in the book, but it was a lie. So, I guess in essence, being at war placated people somehow. Most countries think of the U.S. as the country that can't keep to its own business. The U.S. is always trying to convert other countries into democracies. There's also the fact that the America doesn't want to feel threatened by other countries and so being at war with said threatening countries gives U.S. citizens some peace of mind. Though, I'm not really convinced that "War is Peace" pertains to the U.S.

Freedom is Slavery - I don't think that anyone is truly free in the world so long as there are rules and regulations. Freedom and slavery coexist to an extent, and without that concoction there would be pandemonium. Could you imagine what it would be like if there was no law against murder, rape, or stealing? Still, laws inhibit freedom. So, yes... I think this doctrine can been seen in the U.S. today.

Ignorance is Strength - A lot of people in the U.S. and the entire world for that matter are ignorant. Actually, the vast majority of people are ignorant. With the majority of people being ignorant, it gives the ignorant people strength to make decisions that the educated wouldn't condone.

I hope I made at least a little bit of sense... haha :)


Asra Ghouse Wrt 'War is Peace'. I quote from the book -'To understand the nature of the present war- for in spite of the regrouping which occurs every few years, it is not always the same war-one must realize in the first place that it impossible for it to be decisive.'

The nature of the wars happening around is completely different per se with the type of wars happening in the book. When we look around the wars that have happened around us- War in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc - they have been decisive in majority.

It is unclear in the book as to who is at war with whom and who is doing the bombings. Speculations are there but nothing is certain. For instance Julia says, 'I think that it's the Party who does all the bombings' and later on O'Brien says, 'The war is going on with Eastasia/Eurasia (whichever the party wants)'. That is to say, no body is certain. Again not like so in this age.

War never brings peace. War is the opposite of peace. What USA is doing in the name of bringing terrorism down; I ask who is at peace with that? And I answer no one. Not the people or places being bombed. Not USA, the one to do it. The more they attack, the more they are NOT at peace. War only leads to destruction and instability. It leads to unpeace (in Newspeak)


message 4: by Asra (last edited Aug 03, 2011 11:52AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Asra Ghouse Wrt Freedom is Slavery

Freedom is Slavery, if applicable to our time, can only be applicable to individuals. It cannot be generalized to a majority. Unless it's in the majority it doesn't count (In this time)

Wrt Ignorance is Strength

I am still thinking on this =p

I firmly believe that a Utopia is not practical. It is not for our time or age (and by extension, perhaps the future too. Can't comment on future though) And if a Utopia is not applicable then neither will an anti-Utopia be, US or elsewhere!


Matthew Williams Haley wrote: "War is Peace - I never really understood this concept. I read the book years ago, and if I remember correctly, it was said that there was constant war between the territories in the book, but it wa..."

War is Peace is outlined in the Goldstein Manifesto. By waging constant war with the enemy, whoever they are at the time, a state is able to keep the people in a constant state of fear and siege mentality. They also use up the produced goods that might otherwise lead to better living standards, and have an excuse for keeping people in constant deprivation. That way, social order is maintained with war. War IS Peace.

Oh, and the war was real, it was just who was being warred with that would change and was the subject of lies and revision. At any given time, Oceania was at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia, and often allied with the one it was not currently at war with.

Also, the US war efforts abroad have little to do with democracy. They have far more to do with protecting strategic and economic interests. The US state department or the admin in charge will say they seek a democratic government, but what they are really interesting in is a pro-US, pro-business regime. It's just the vagaries of American ideology that make a lot of people assume that a democratic government will automatically be pro-US and pro-business, and when it leads to the opposite, a friendly dictator is favored instead.


Matthew Williams Asra wrote: "Wrt Freedom is Slavery

Freedom is Slavery, if applicable to our time, can only be applicable to individuals. It cannot be generalized to a majority. Unless it's in the majority it doesn't count (I..."


Ignorance is Strength is summed by Goldstein's Manifesto as well. In it, it is said that the Party maintains constant rule by ensuring that its own members are kept in line through ideological consistency and doublethink. No deviation is ever allowed, no acceptance of facts other than what the Party says, and the acceptance of a constant double standard that says it's right when the Party does it but not when anyone else does.

This ensures that the hereditary rule of the party, which is hereditary in that it is constantly passed on from one generation of like-minded members to the next, never falters or fails. All control is collectivized, and this power is maintained through the willful rejection of reality and truth. This is the strength Orwell was referring to in the end, by insisting they themselves stay ignorant of facts and the truth of things, the Party remains in power.


message 7: by Matthew (last edited Jan 10, 2013 11:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Williams Asra wrote: "War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength

Remember these three doctrines?
Has it actually become like this in the world of today?

When I'd finished the book and posted my review, I go..."


Despite what many people think is happening, I'd say its becoming less and less like this in the world today. In that sense we're in agreement, Asra. For one, we no longer live in a world where 3/5th of the population live under totalitarian power and the status quo is maintained through nuclear arsenals being aimeed at one another.

In fact, only 1/4th of the world's people now live in dictatorships whereas the rest live in democratic or semi-democratic systems. Nuclear war is no longer and looming threat and threat assessments that speak of the potential for nuclear war are constantly exaggerated.

And on top of that, the digital age has created new means of communication and information that do not fall under the purview of governments or the ownership of corporations. Add to that revolutions and democratic movements all over the world that have succeeded thanks to this connectivity - the Arab Spring, Idle No More, the Wisconsin Recall, the 2008 and 2012 elections - and you've got a pretty rosy picture compared to what was happening just 30 years ago.

People remained concerned about the path we're taking and whether or not Orwell's vision is still relevant - and of course it is, it always will be - but if anything, life has evolved (or devolved) to the point where what Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, predicted has come true. Where pacification and conditioning do take place, they do so through entertainment and irrelevance, not brutality, censorship and fear.


message 8: by Omar (last edited Jan 10, 2013 11:20PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Omar Okay I'm just going to go into the three Goldstein doctrines and see how thy could be applied today. I believe Orwell's point was to make a critique of the modern state as a whole, not just dictatorships, but even democracy and how it can be subjugated by an elite.

War Is Peace:
Well for all the powerful military industrial complexes that pose as states that we could compare to the might of INGSOC, namely the United States, Russia and China, all remain comfortable and at peace when there is war in other regions of the world. They profit and house the weapons manufacturers: Lockheed Martin, MiG/Mikoyan etc. All enrich themselves by producing killing machines. They make jobs in manufacturing, development and in the military around the world. They sell on the back of providing security. And these three states all provide significant amounts of military aid around the world to assist the sale of such hardware to other states that do not reside in these regions.

So to me, war is sold as peace today in that weapons are sold as security and money is donated as military aid to spend only on this kind of hardware to many less well off countries.

Freedom Is Slavery:

I reject the idea that having a job is akin to slavery. Most people with a job in the West can easily have a business idea and go implement it if they cut a few things out of their budget and save cash for a few years. Slaves cannot chose where they work and what they do. Still we have to admit people come to the West for freedom and work the worst jobs, for below minimum wage in order to just live here.

Also, there has ALWAYS been a sex slave traffiking trade. Again this is women from poorer countries being brought to wealthier places all around the world. Many times they are sold as slaves into slavery and know there is no way out. Many times they are put to work in a brothel/health club/strip bar and simply have to work in awful conditions under constant watch in case they plan an escape.

Then there are those who work in sweatshops to make much of our clothing, food and consumables in the developed world. Their living standards are sickening and easily akin to slavery.

OUR freedom to purchase is THEIR slavery.

Ignorance is Strength:

I'd immediately say have a look at the reality shows we have on TV in the West. The X Factor, Cribs, Jersey Shore, The Only Way Is Essex, I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, Halfwits on Ice.

Our pop culture is beginning to resemble something that says its okay to not knuckle down in school and make the grades to get to university/college. Its okay not to go to work and make some bucks and save for your future and pay your way because one day you too could be a millionaire playboy (or female equivalent) and spend millions on overpriced jewellery, supercars, mansions, private jets, designer clothes, plastic surgery and personal grooming.

Because THATS what really matters....so ignorance is strength.

Just my interpetation of how the message could carry over for the criticism of human civilisation in perpetuity.


message 9: by Philip (last edited Jan 11, 2013 12:22AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Philip Lee Asra,

Brilliant thread!

I love Orwell's melding of meaning, the doublethink of Newspeak, exemplified in this heart-stopping slogan.

War Is Peace: peace is what we're fighting for, without war there can be no peace, therefore peace is war.

How does it relate to the post-colonial wars of the twenty-first century? Take the Taliban, for example. They haven't gone away, despite their "decisive" defeat over ten years ago. Just to keep them at bay, there have to be regular troop surges. In order to keep the Western skies free of suicide attacks (ie at peace), the Taliban must be regularly attacked.

Freedom Is Slavery: you choose your lifestyle and surrender your right to choose. Your rights to food, shelter, family and the little comforts of life are in hock to a lifetime's drudgery, between the hours of 9-5, or 8-6, or - for God's sake - 6am - 6pm!

This slogan is so pernicious because, actually it should't belong amongst the others. It's your precious two bob flutter on the horses, your two hours at the stadium, your two o'clock date with the kids in the park. "Come on, you wimp!" it says, "whoever told you freedom wasn't slavery?"

Ignorance Is Strength: the Party is telling you who knows best. You know it's better to let them do your thinking for you, and you know it's better not to know what the heck's going on for real. That's what makes you - YOU - so clever. Any fool who thinks for herself has only got herself to blame for the consequences.

Are we strong in our ignorance these days? Do we still believe in things that are patently absurd? Do we still take strength and 'moral courage' from convictions that have no basis in logic nor can ever be proven?


message 10: by Omar (last edited Jan 11, 2013 12:29AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Omar Ignorance is Strength addendum

Conspiracy theory mongers and how they pervade the political fringes with ignorant and biased viewpoints. Some spouting hatred of minorities and others of different brands of politics pointing to political leaders as the chosen one. ALL claiming that some secret society runs the entire planet
carrying out secret missions that have glaring flaws that they seem to expose but never stand up to any scientific analysis. And that their brand of hatred against this secret society is the correct one. That kind of ignorance is strength is touted amongst the alternative.

The idea that the electoral system actually provides us with real democratic choice when all it provides is a choice between four years of diarrhoea or four years of diarrhoea with one bran flake's worth of fibre. That kind of ignorance is for everyone to consume.

And worst of all the idea that there is salvation in all this by ignoring science itself and backing creationism as a scientific model. The speed with which THAT blatant ignorance has gained ground in the USA is alarming.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Freedom is Slavery:
Today the best way to fell free is if we slaves. Think of the Dark Knight Rises (the third Batman movie). In this movie Bane gives the city back to the people so the people are free to do what they want, yet are still slaves to the one in charge.
In our country to day we the rights to life Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet why have so many laws restrict our freedom.
Our also slaves to entertainment. This point is clear in Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business though the book was kinda a bore while reading there is so much truth in the matter. People feel the need to be constantly entertained. If we are not entertained we can't "function properly." Furthermore on the topic the government can control what is in news, shows and movies. In many kids shows today they have characters that covertly oppose and support what the government wants us to oppose and support.
Please don't blow the Christianity up, I am just interpreting it one way) In God's eyes we are all sinners and can do nothing to get out of it. That sin controls our life even if we feel free. We our controlled by it.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Ignorance is Strength:
Continuing with the entertainment being controlled by the government, through shows and movies people learn only parts of the whole story. We have a term known as "youthful idiots" (I am not calling anyone an idiot just mentioning the term). Youthful idiots are those who learn and believe what the government feeds them as truth. They then become "slaves" to the government and they can use them to their purposes. Unknowing it strength for the government.
There is also something called a nobel lie a term coined by Plato in his bookThe Republic. This term means the governing authority doesn't tell us the whole truth for our "benefit". The government thinks if it's people doesn't know the whole truth it makes them stronger, because if the people knew the whole truth about them and their doings then they would rebel.


Matthew Williams Kaitlyn wrote: "Freedom is Slavery:
Today the best way to fell free is if we slaves. Think of the Dark Knight Rises (the third Batman movie). In this movie Bane gives the city back to the people so the peo..."


You say you're reading this? For school, because if so that's great! I feel it should be required reading given all it has to offer. But I feel inclined to disagree with you on a few things. Neal Postman was taking issue with the idea of 1984 - that state-sanctioned cruelty and brainwashing would crush freedom and the instinct to resist - because he felt it was the Brave New World concept of oppression was what we were dealing with instead.

In BNW, people are deprived of their basic freedoms to question, rebel, critique and bring about change because they have been numbed by mindless pleasure. And that was what he felt is currently going on in today's world, where people are being controlled not by governments, but by industry and unseen forces that appeal to the lowest common denominator and keep giving people "what they want".

Really, if the modern age has proven anything, it's that governments are several steps behind when it comes to information control. Television, movies, the internet and new media; governments have found themselves unable to keep up with the pace of change and the torrent of information and cannot design laws to regulate them without incurring outrage about "Big Brother Government".

And yet, people feel so drowned and inundated by violence, stupidity, bigotry, pornography, and irrelevance that they wish something could be done. But they too are powerless because as long as people keep listening, buying and watching, nothing can stop the process. If anyone is in control here, its the telecommunications giants who continue to exploit the problem by "giving people what they want", and constantly lowering the bar further. And we empower them by paying attention, simple as that.


Chris Dietzel I always had a problem with the middle idea. Does anyone know why Orwell had the first and third doctrines being a negative equaling a positive, but the middle doctrine is a positive equaling a negative?

It seems that:

“War (bad) is peace (good).
Freedom (good) is slavery (bad).
Ignorance (bad) is strength (good).”

should have been written with the middle doctrine being:

"Slavery is freedom."

This would fit in perfectly with what Big Brother wants the people to think: that if they give themselves over to total authoritarian control, they will be free in the sense that everything is up to the government, so the people are free from worry and choice. Does that make sense to anyone else?


message 15: by One (last edited May 01, 2013 12:36AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

One Flew I agree with those who have already stated that the world, despite what the conspiracy theorists will tell you, is becoming a more free, liberal place.

It's that cliche you hear all the time, 'we are living in 1984'. Which is rubbish. Yes, there are parts of modern cultures that aren't perfect, but we're a long way away from Orwell's vision, (in most of the world anyway). On a whole, we have better living standards than previous generations and a large amount of 'freedom'.

Yes we still fight wars, and yes, our main forms of entertainment are mindless drivel that feed ignorance. Though all in all, thinks aren't as bad as people make em out to be.


Philip Lee Chris wrote: "I always had a problem with the middle idea. Does anyone know why Orwell had the first and third doctrines being a negative equaling a positive, but the middle doctrine is a positive equaling a neg..."

I'm sure Orwell toyed with the idea of having all three lines of the slogan run: bad is good. That would have worked fine in the fairy tale "Animal Farm". But reversing the order in the middle line made it more pernicious and a practical example of "doublethink". This so called "Freedom", squire, is nothing but blooming slavery. Take Ford's line about the Model T - "You can have any colour you like, so long as it's black."


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1984 (other topics)
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (other topics)
The Republic (other topics)