Cycles of Misunderstanding

fav-book-sucks-1984I’ve recently finish reading 1984. First and foremost, I loved the book. It was entertaining, captivating and thought-provocative.  Not my favorite book, but I highly recommend it. And yes, I am a little late to the game. And no, we did not read this in high-school.  So to the main topic. From here I will assume that you have read the book. If you haven’t. Stop reading this and go read it. You’ll get much more out of it than my random ramblings.

Now onward to the book. 1984 was published in 1954 amidst the Korean War, Algerian War, and many more conflicts throughout the world. After the world being ravaged by two significant wars, many authors have taken it upon themselves to write about government and conflict. This sentiment is clearly shown through other contemporary authors.

“We were all at once terribly alone; and alone we must see it through.” – Erich Remarque in All Quiet on the Western Front.

The vision of gloom during this time coupled with the onset of communism made people question issues of morality, or right and wrong, of good and evil. So. Why did I read this book? I mainly read this book because recently people have compared our government and large corporate entities to “Big Brother” and I wanted to understand why they made such comparisons.

To those people I say: STOP IT! To those people I say: Life isn’t entirely black and white. It is beautiful shades of gray. Shades of gray molded and carved by perception and narrative. In a sense, everything is based on narratives.

Now, I want to expand a bit on the thought of black and white, good vs evil, hero vs villain. The narrative of hero v. villain rings throughout not only in 1984 but throughout the contemporaries of the book. (ps: also setting up nicely for the Cold War, were this Good and Evil was emphasized more). People are drawn to good v. evil stories. Comic books, movies and media constantly emphasizes this ideals.

So in turn we use these narratives to describe our world view. “Sticking it to the man” has become a way to fight a villain. We stigmatize politicians and police officers because we don’t agree with their methods or biases. I think a way that helps me, is to remember that those cops/politicians have families and friends. And yes, their biases are damaging to society. And yes, their racism affects many. (Trust me as someone who has been harassed by the police).

My main point is, if we view things as hero and villain. We are compelled to “heroic” acts (or violent) that feeds into the violence cycle. Or should I say the misunderstanding cycle.

If you have read this far (I commend you if you have) remember this. We need to teach others to view your side and to play by YOUR rules. If the “big business” is screwing up the environment. The answer is not to “do acts of heroism” that can be interpreted as acts of violence. But to change the narrative. Change the rules, bring people together, and change the leverage of power. Then change is possible.


I give 1984: 3.5 /5 stars

  • Good to read, not worth re-reading. And I don’t like the “good vs evil” narrative.

One thought on “Cycles of Misunderstanding”

  1. I almost stopped reading at “…beautiful shades of gray…” At that point I highly disagree, also at the historical comparison of the events of 1984 to the “red scare.”
    This time period was the time period where the seeds of the flower power hippie socialist revolution were being sown amongst the youth, and through very convential means concerning liberal politics: The Media.
    The reason I say this is that although the simulated environment of control and “commonwealth” displayed in 1984 might seem to parallel communism, it actually parallels totalitarian ideologies; something reserved for more on the far right. The examples would be that of “double-speaking” and the like portrayed in 1984. The world shown is a world of hypermorality obviously perverted for the sake of a dogmatic elite who held the reigns of free speech and free thought in the land.
    When one thinks communism, one might think Hitler, but although he held a communist campaign, his intentions and inevitably his actions grew a lot more sinister and demanding than even some of his fellow “aryans” could handle. Hitler, was in many cases a totalitarian dictator; a faschist, if any liberal standpoint held its salt within his ideology. Although Cuba could be seen as highly restrictive as well, an in depth study and/or college course on Cuba’s history and developing politics will show a very thriving liberal-leaning country indeed; until America forced them into hard times and much restraint with its soul crushing embargo.
    Although I don’t believe in the communist or totalitarian dystopias (being a Christian and seeing an even Greater governing power in Jesus’ moral ethics; which I believe original American morals expressed in its constitution mirror quite well, if not best so far) I do believe a sense of radicalism to be the best way forward; which is where I start the second half of my rant in agreeing with you (=D).
    The beauty of the American Republic of Democratic process is that we have choice. The words A Country For The People and By The People are not some romanticist poet’s gift-wrapping in order to offer the American Experiment the sales pitch it deserved (as taught by lazy media spokesmen). It is the very foundation of democratic ideology (Demo = People; Kratos = Rule). By the very essential concept, if the people were to unify under one mind to cause a thing to occur in this government and country, even the supreme courts and congress would have an issue stopping them. We create, shape, and re-shape the environment that we live in. This is why millions of dollars are spent on advertising various causes and fancies, because the more people, the more expansion of said “good.”
    In that thought, I agree with you completely, that it is up to us to see things on all sides and deliberate on progressive and logical moral ethics that must take place to cause factions to find the best moral common ground. Hypermorality will not save us, and neither will gross allowance of various liberties. Maybe instead of bowing to the alter of advertisements, we could spend our powerful dollars at some mom and pop shops; and then tell others about it; make efforts to decide what would be best as a country for us and our children to watch on tv, instead of letting television execs feed on our mental addictions for violence, gore, drama, and pornography. But that change comes from knowledge, and the individual duty of every American to ask themselves what they could do for their country and not what their country can do for them.
    What seeds do we want to sow for the future generation? What kind of fruit do we intend to leave them? Are they truly important? Will it help push the future generation further? Or do we want to bicker on either side of the spectrum; providing nothing for our children to feed on? Leaving them in dark, so we can enjoy our idle and sedentary lives?
    I congratulate you for shedding light on an important and essential reality of what it is to be an American; The Right and Priviledge of Fighting and Choosing what the future will be; and the understanding that if others cannot see it, then it is up to those who see to teach and guide the equally powerful shareholders to a brighter conclusion.


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