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If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell

Related: Prisonplanet.tv Reading Room: 1984 By George Orwell

It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. "Reality control," they called it: in Newspeak, "doublethink." - George Orwell (Nineteen Eighty Four)

During Alex Jones' flying visit to London we experienced again and again instances of what George Orwell penned as "Doublethink". As experts on Orwell's novel we were shocked to see how far down the line our society has gone towards actually becoming Nineteen Eighty Four.

Five years ago I concentrated on Orwell's novel for my University dissertation, I had concluded that Orwell's novel was one of extreme importance and artistic quality due to the fact that it continued to provide us with a warning of what we could become and how we must resist such an eventuality. Now, I am sorry to say, we are in that eventuality. We can still get out though, it is not too late, there are still more "oldthinkers" than there are "newthinkers", or those who engage in doublethink.

The first instance of doublethink we happened upon in London concerned the masses of surveillance cameras that have gone up everywhere. Upon noticing a pole with at least four or five black cameras on it, we interviewed an employee of the Hard Rock Cafe establishment in the vicinity. He stated that "there are a lot of things going on in London that need to be kept track of." He then went on to reveal he had been working in he cafe for over a year and had never noticed the cameras. Furthermore he told us "I choose to ignore them, for me they do not exist". Shocked and horrified we asked for clarification, praying we had misheard what he had said. "Those cameras do not exist" he reiterated.

This is classic doublethink. The man knows that the cameras do exist but chooses to believe they do not exist!

His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself -- that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word "doublethink" involved the use of doublethink. - George Orwell (Nineteen Eighty Four)

We traveled on and discovered a second site at London Bridge, where a massive pole was still being fitted deep into the ground. All along the pole were not just cameras but motion detectors and some other form of scanning technology. In total there must have been 15-20 pieces of surveillance technology on one large black pole. Ironically, as I was shooting video, two policemen walked by, pointing at the pole and seemingly questioning what on earth it was all for.

However, when we kept rolling and Alex started commentating on the Orwellian aspects of the fixture, patrons in the cafe behind us began laughing and pointing at us. Alex then noticed one man was physically shaking with anger and commenting that he should assault us. All this because we were daring to film the cameras and question why they were there. Alex then asked them if they would comment on the cameras and they refused to. They seemed to be unaware even of who George Orwell was or what Nineteen Eighty Four is. It is true that now more people know Big Brother as a tv show, than know it as the Primary controlling overlord of Orwell's novel.

Alex joked that the national symbol of Britain, the Union Jack (we were then berated and told it is a bulldog - which is not true, we don't put a picture of a bulldog behind Tony Blair when he conducts speeches) had been replaced by the surveillance camera. The people around us failed to grasp that this was a joke, an analogy for the fact that there are more of these cameras in plain view than there are Union Jacks. They again became aggressive.

This is akin to another form of Orwellian doublethink - Crimestop: "The faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. In short....protective stupidity." - George Orwell (Nineteen Eighty Four)

We experienced more crimestop doublethink as we moved on. Alex discovered a huge map of the world on the floor close to Tower Bridge. The map is surrounded by historical explanation of how Britain came to dominate the world over centuries. Alex decided it would be good to film him on the map, giving an account of history, explaining how the British establishment had dominated its own people through fear and exploitation and then exported empire around the world. Again the people surrounding us found this astonishing and became agitated just because Alex was pointing out historical fact. They would much rather simply ignore history and just jump around on the map, defeating the whole educational purpose of the feature.

One man again became aggressive for no reason, yet his only retort to Alex's rant was to point out that Alex had a wet behind (he had previously leaned on a water feature by accident). The man knew what Alex was saying was correct yet it irked him to the point where his defence mechanism kicked in against "dangerous thought" and he grasped at any possible mode of attack against Alex that he could. Yet when Alex asked if he wanted to debate the historical fact the man admitted he could not do that and again pointed out Alex had a wet ass. We walked away in disbelief.

We then realised that the exact same incident had occurred as Alex had earlier Bullhorned Parliament. The Cop who came to give Alex his "report" stood and commented that Alex had a grass stain on his posterior. Is Alex's butt so attractive? or are these people engaging in any form of thought to prevent them from actually taking in the information Alex was trying to project.

The fact that these people are getting angry is good though, it is an indication that they are not completely brainwashed, they can come back from the brink, they are engaging in cognitive dissonance. Doublethink refers to resolving contradictions which (otherwise) cannot be resolved, by keeping at least two alternate versions of something in mind at once, remembering only the approved one in any circumstance. One does not experience cognitive dissonance unless one fails at proper doublethink, in which case raw discomfort, almost physical pain, may be experienced.

We then moved on to the Tower of London. Whilst in the Tower we were being made to walk in a uniform, single file line around cordons in front of huge screens showing video of the Queen's Coronation and the Royal Family. Paul commented that he was ready to vomit and a woman in front of him stopped and said "How dare you criticize your culture". Paul responded by saying that it was not his culture to worship elite inbred powermongering killers who have pillaged, tortured and invaded for centuries. The woman was knowingly walking around a prison and torture chamber. Do German people today walk round the Holocaust museum worshipping Hitler? NO. Alex also pointed out that the British Royal family is now at its roots German establishment, something that seemed to hit home with the woman, who quickly scuttled off and refused to engage us further, her crimestop faculty kicking into action.

As she had noticed we were video taping inside the Tower, she immediately recognized us as Thought Criminals and quickly informed the queen's guards who then came over and told us to stop.

'You're a traitor!' yelled the boy. 'You're a thought-criminal! You're a Eurasian spy! I'll shoot you, I'll vaporize you, I'll send you to the salt mines!' Suddenly they were both leaping round him, shouting 'Traitor!' and 'Thought-criminal!' the little girl imitating her brother in every movement. It was somehow slightly frightening, like the gambolling of tiger cubs which will soon grow up into man-eaters. - George Orwell (Nineteen Eighty Four)

By far not the final instance of Doublethink we encountered came as we interviewed the lady who runs the fruit stall outside Stockwell Underground Station, where the innocent Brazilian electrician was chased down and shot 8 times. Alex asked her if she believed the actions of the police were justified. She said they were and that more innocent people should be killed should it mean keeping civilians safe. This is direct doublethink. It is a contradiction to think that killing innocent people keeps innocent people safe, yet to this lady it was completely logical. Alex then asked her if she believed it was right to give up liberty for security, she replied with the following harrowing sentence:

"Yes I believe we should give up our liberty for freedom"

Alex again asked the question "Liberty for security?" again she answered "Yes I believe we should give up our liberty for freedom". Classic Doublethink. How can one give up Liberty for Freedom? they are one and the same thing. Again what is doublethink? "...to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it..."

The horror of walking round London and witnessing first hand people engaging in exactly what the people of Orwell's fictional hell engaged in was frightening. Yet it also reminded us what our mission is all about. For as Winston Smith said "But the proles, if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength, would have no need to conspire. They needed only to rise up and shake themselves like a horse shaking off flies. If they chose they could blow the Party to pieces tomorrow morning. Surely sooner or later it must occur to them to do it?"

To see the words "stay vigilant" all over bus stops in London is completely Orwellian as some people fall deeper into an "ignorance is Strength" sleep. Yet it also reminds those who engage in Thought Crime, the "Oldthinkers" what we must continue to do.

"A few agents of the thought Police moved always among them, spreading false rumours and marking down and eliminating the few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous..."

The most important thing we can now do with Orwell's concept of doublethink is to apply it to our own subtle daily discomfort which leads to forgetting. It is difficult to contemplate the full extent of what goes on that we know should be changed, so we sometimes ignore even what we know. It is difficult to think of the extent of misery which is experienced in this world ; of the injustice, and of the misinformation and lies. It is especially difficult to even learn about most of it, for its sheer breadth and depth.

The worst is the depth; to know that unbounded monstrosities are committed in the name of the established order and are nonetheless not even common topics of conversation, much less grounds for immediate rebellion against that order - that is painfully unbelievable. If a shocking number of these and a great many lesser but similar acts are the work of those in power over us directly and indirectly, it is difficult to continue to see the situation as evidence shows it: that much of the worst is done by those who are supposed the best, and that in value "the high" is really often the low, and that the things on which people expend so much energy and attention are really unimportant.

Stay Vigilant, fight the information war. Freedom is the ability to say two plus two equals four, even if the establishment tell us it equals five.


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Orwellian Doublethink In London

Steve Watson & Paul Watson | August 4 2005

After the bombings, some Londoners try to psychologically justify living in tyranny