How is a perpetual state of paranoia achieved and why is it important to the Party’s system of control?
There is nothing more dangerous to a civilian than an incompentent government, consisting of vile members. In George Orwell’s novel, 1984, a dystopian society is created in which the citizens are frequently prone to terror and fear, and are forcefully kept within the state of Oceania. A totalitarian government uses psychological warfare techniques to instill fear in their citizens, and to maintain absolute control. A totalitarian government rules by using techniques such as exerting their influence through slogans, generating a sense of fear within the community by using false flags, and taking total control of the society’s mind.
Totalitarian governments seek to exert their influence over its citizens by using slogans and propaganda. Throughout the novel, Winston walks past multiple posters displaying slogans that remind him, and all of the citizens of the Party’s constant surveillance. A frequent slogan that is broadcasted across the state of Oceania is “Big Brother is watching you” (Pg 3). This slogan is located in every public place in Oceania, and in the citizen’s homes. It is used as a constant reminder that the state is being monitored at all times, and this leads to fear being instilled into the citizens of the state. The slogan keeps the people on edge by stating that any action, speech or movement can be seen and analyzed by the Inner Party. This is vital to the Party’s system of control because without the citizens feeling on edge about being monitored, there would be the possibility of revolt, and a chance for the citizens to plan a rebellion against the Party. The second slogan that is displayed widely in Oceania, and on the front of the ministry buildings is “War is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength” (Pg 6). This slogan was released by the party to ensure total control and power over the people of Oceania. This is a form of double-thinking that leads the citizens to believe that the statement is correct, although it appears false. This concept is a key part of the system of control in Oceania. It enables the Party to control information, rewrite the past, and most importantly, gives the government the power to make the citizens believe anything that is said. Slogans and propaganda are two ways that the government instills paranoia into every citizen, and also maintains control simultaneously.
Governments that seek control over their citizens use a psychological warfare technique called false flags to obtain that control. A false flag is when an organized group, such as a government, carries out a fake terror attack to create a state of paranoia in the community. The group then blames the attack on an opponent to gain control and shift the public’s opinion. In the novel, Winston mentions bombings of towns in London. Although it is never said directly, it is implied that these attacks are ...