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2010/12/28 / Horace

My Book Report on 1984

上公共课的时候有感而发写的,很多地方没有发展好,还请见谅。下面有英文版

This aritlce was written when I was having a class. Please be tolerant for the undeveloped points. The English version is below the Chinese one.

“对我来说,真正的自由是免于恐惧的自由。我在拘禁中,但是我仍然感到自由,因为我不恐惧。”

——昂山素季 缅甸民主运动领导人

昂山素季和我们的主人公温斯顿可以说都生存在相似的环境中,那里充满了高压的政治,独裁的政府还有被剥夺的自由。然而,两者的最终结局却截然不同。昂山素季在长期的家庭拘禁之后仍然保持着她所坚持的“免于恐惧的自由“,然而,Winston则在最后成为了大洋国的僵尸。本文中,笔者将分析一下这种结果产生的原因并表达我对于此问题的一点思考。

按照社会学的定义,小说1984的大洋国是一个标准的集权主义国家。在这样的一个国家中,政府对生活的方方面面进行监督和控制。集权主义国家通常创造一种官方的意识形态、一个整体的世界观和一套行为准则。在这套行为准则下,异见受到迫害和压制。同时,传统的政府组织形式并不足以保证集权控制。为此,集权主义创造出了官方政党这样的社会控制机构,以这样的一个机构控制全国,并且对有希望接班的政治精英进行训练。

一九八四中的大洋国创造了集权主义的新高峰。科学技术的使用,进一步深化了社会控制。真理部的忘怀桶可以迅速的清理掉过去的一切出版物存档,用经过更改的新的出版物代替,在这样的体系中,信息的任何流动几乎是不可能的。这样,政府就可以不断的修改过去的数据,来证明自己是永远伟大、正确与光荣的。电幕是大洋国的另一个伟大发明,这个可以24小时广播与监视的机器将政府的监控与洗脑推进到了前所未有的深度与广度。

集权国家的控制不能仅仅存留于实体上,而必须要深入到灵魂的层面。所以,我们看到的是大洋国创造了“新话”,希望用这种极端简化的语言来讲人的思考局限在尽可能小的范围内,同时,“仇恨周”等洗脑活动让居民在党的理想下发展出了一种共同的集体认同,加上前面“伟大、正确、光荣”所提供的合法性,居民们不得不认为自己的国家是好的,不得不将自己放到党的统治下。如果只是对人民进行肉体控制,集权主义不可能达到对人的完整控制,因为他们的头脑中还会进行异见活动;然将人民在思想上内化自身的价值观,则可以藉由思想控制人的身体,达到对于社会的完整控制。

所以,在大洋国的所有组织机构中,最重要与最核心的是真理部,因为这个部门决定了什么是真理,决定了所有的人预备用自己的身体做出什么。我们看到的是最小的孩子也变成了思想警察,而被自己的儿子举报了的父亲居然为自己的“培养”而感到骄傲。只有真理部才可以创造出这样的社会,只有这样的社会才可以让集权主义高枕无忧。

当然,这样的集权主义并不是没有任何缺陷。它的缺陷在最核心的真理部中。真理部的工作人员或者进一步扩展到党的成员是可以接触到真实信息的,一旦有了真实的信息,他们也就有可能发展异见思想。所以,我们看到了Winston和Julia的抗争行为。然而,党有一套对于越轨者的惩罚,101室。这样的惩罚深入到了精神层面,将所有的异见者变成自己的僵尸。

这样的集权主义给任何一种可能有不满情绪的人以国家暴力的威严,用这样的暴力的威严让人产生本能的恐惧,用这种本能的恐惧控制人们的行为,最后用控制人们的行为内化党的思想。

有人说过,多一个人看一九八四,自由就多有一份保障。笔者认为,这句话的道理就在于,这部小说预言了在科技进一步发展之后,集权主义可能的采取的密不透风的统治模式。这样的统治模式一旦建成,将难以打破。所以,一旦有人试图建立集权专制的时候,公众便不会姑息。他们不会为了铁腕领袖的威严和短时间内的国家复兴而轻易让渡自己的权利。因为迫切的改变现实,就迫切的渴望铁腕统治,就民主选举的集权政府的例子屡见不鲜,希特勒就是这样的一个例子。

与之相比,昂山素季的生活相对就轻松很多。尽管她在过去的20年之中基本上处于拘禁在家的状态,但是她还可以弹钢琴,(后来她的钢琴坏掉而军政府禁止她进行更换。),她还可以每天收听短波;缅甸在国际上也不是一个强大的国家,因而外国也很容易对之施加压力,国外的信息也很容易渗透进入缅甸内部。,这就保证了她可以有足够的信息摄入,而只要有哪怕最少的信息来源,她就可以自己选择什么是真理,她应该怎样的行动。因为集权的弱势,她得以在外界的高压中建立一个属于自己的精神空间,并且在这个空间中自主的思考。正是这样的一个空间的存在,她才有勇气去说,“我不害怕”。

在这篇短文的末尾,我想回到昂山素季的那句话,“对于我来讲,真正的自由是免于恐惧的自由。”当今时代,集权主义可以通过一切形式封锁信息并且对于异见者进行严酷的压制,但是其水平仍然无法达到大洋国的水平,似乎也永远达不到大洋国的水平。这样,外界的多元信息,我们内心的选择与内部的压制体系的交织让我们产生了恐惧。这种恐惧必将与我们存在。然而,如果我们足够坚强,我们或许就可以构造出一个独立于这种恐惧的精神家园,给我们短暂的免于恐惧的自由。而只要我们还有一刻得以享受这种自由,我们就还有永远摆脱恐惧的希望。

Now, the English Version:

For me, the real freedom is the freedom from fear. I am in prison, but I feel free, because I am not frightened.

—-Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader of Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi and the protagonist Winston Smith live in similar worlds which are filled with oppressive politics, dictatorial government and deprived liberty. However, they end up differently. While Aung San Suu Kyi still possesses her ‘freedom from fear’ even after more than 10 years of house arrest, Winston Smith was converted into a zombie of the regime. In this article, I intend to explore the reason for the difference and express my relevant thoughts about it.

From a sociological perspective, Oceania in the novel Nineteen Eighty-four is a typical totalitarian state which controls, monitors and censors every aspect of society. The state also creates an official ideology, a brand new world view and a behavior system, in which dissidents are brutally cracked down. Meanwhile, totalitarianism creates an official political party to control the country and train the potential political elite, since the old-fashioned political organization format would not meet the demand for a suffocating social control.

Oceania in Nineteen Eighty-four is the peak and the ultimate goal of totalitarianism. The utility of technology tightened social control. The memory hole from the Ministry of Truth could eliminate all the archives of past publications, replace them with revised versions, interpreting the Party as always ‘great, right and glorious’ and preventing any free flow of information. The telescreen,a monitoring and broadcasting device working 24 hours a day, is another great invention of Oceania, which expands monitoring and brain-washing to an unprecedented depth and breadth.

Control of totalitarianism would not stay just on the physical level; instead it would invade into people’s souls. Therefore, we see the Newspeak, an artificial language which is expected to confine people’s minds into the minimum range as well as ‘the Hatred Week’ and other brain-washing activities which establishes the collective recognition under the Party’s control. Along with the imposed impression of ‘greatness, rightness and glory’, people would only believe the state is good and place themselves under the Party’s control. Totalitarianism could not assume complete control over its people unless it has occupied people’s minds. Without mind control, dissident thoughts are still possible in people’s minds. With perfect mind control and the internalization of the Party’s theories, complete physical control could be achieved through the complete mind control, and the complete social control could also be achieved since no one acts against the Party.

Hence, among all ministries of Oceania, the most crucial is the Ministry of Truth, which decides which truth is and what people will do with their body. We see a country where even the smallest children have become thought police and that the father who has been sent to prison by his own children is actually proud of his so-called ‘education’. It is only the Ministry of Truth that could create such a country, and it is only a country like this that could secure totalitarianism.

Definitely, such a system is not flawless. Its flaws lie in the Ministry of Truth, where its clients have the access to truth. Truth can develop dissident thoughts at any time, so we see the love and the struggle of Winston and Julia. However, the Party has measures to deal with such rebels, Room 101. The crackdown overturns soul, turning all dissidents into zombies.

Totalitarianism would show the power of state violence to any unsatisfactory person, with the violence, it generates the instinct fear; with the fear, it controls people’s behaviors; with such a control, it replaces people’s thoughts with the Party’s theories.

It is said that the more people read Nineteen Eighty-four, the securer liberty is. I think it is because the novel foretells the potential governing format totalitarianism will adopt with advanced technology, which is hard to break once established. Such a prediction warns people of their tolerance in favor for dictatorship, to warn people not to give up their rights in exchange for a strong leadership and a quick revival. We have seen enough cases where totalitarianism is established through democratic election amid a general wish for a change and a strong leadership, such as the case of Adolf Hitler.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s life is much easier than that of Winston Smith. Despite house arrest in the past years, she could still play the piano (even though she could not do so years ago because the military government prevented her from repairing her piano.) and listens to short-wave radio for several hours every day. Also, Burma is not a strong country and cannot effectively resist external pressures or information. As long as there is a least amount of free information, Aung San herself could choose what truth is and build an independent spiritual space for her independent thinking. Only when having such a space does she dare say ‘I am not frightened’.

I would like to quote Aung San Suu Kyi’s words again. ‘For me the real freedom is the freedom from fear.’ At present, although totalitarianism could block information and crackdown dissidents by all means, it cannot surpass Oceania and may never do so. We can still see the outside world, and we can feel the fear from the censorship and oppression. However, if we are strong enough, we could build up our own spiritual home away from the fear and enjoy the freedom from fear. As long as we can have the freedom from fear, we can still have the chance to get rid of it forever.



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