Does anyone remember being told in the 1980’s that the world would end?
I remember going to school on more than one occasion terrified that at 10.30am that day, the world as we knew it would cease to exist. This scaremongering – which did have a small modicum of reality attached to it – was the result of us being told that one very powerful man had access to one very powerful button.
As part of my ongoing plan to expand my general reading, I have been ploughing through 1984 by George Orwell and what has struck me the most is that in modern society, his dystopian world can almost be believable.
We are monitored (albeit not by telescreens or thought police) by cookies and location devices which can electronically track our movements. Thankfully we do not live under the dictatorial rule of Orwell’s world, yet with the UK EU referendum only days away it is impossible to predict what will happen either way. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to get political).
I was aware of Orwell at school, indeed Animal Farm was one of our texts, yet I did not appreciate how forward thinking his work was. 1984 was first published in 1949, way before the computer technology that we have now – so how did he know that such a world could exist?
Maybe the same could be said for many dystopian writers. Maybe their worlds too will begin to echo in reality some day but the fact that it is possible to envisage Orwell’s 1984 state is both impressive and frightening in equal measure.
From what I have read I truly believe that Orwell was a man before his time. What does anyone else think?