A Journal for Western Man




Orwell's Warning:


G. Stolyarov II

Issue XII- April 10, 2003


This essay is the third in a series designed to dissect the totalitarian mentality portrayed in George Orwell's 1984 and to draw parallels to trends in modern academia and the sociopolitical arena of today. The following is an index of previous portions of this commentary:
1. Collectivism
2. Antiprogressivism

3. Relativism - You are here. Read on to continue your analysis of this topic.

The tribalist mentality and horrifying consequences of Party dictatorship having been revealed, there remains a fundamental matter to address, the means by which the Party conveys its stranglehold to the masses, i.e. the dogma employed to institute voluntary compliance with its self-destructive tyranny. As O'Brien concedes, this is the primary focus of the Party agenda. "We are not interested in those stupid crimes that you have committed. The Party is not interested in the overt act: the thought is all we care about. We do not merely destroy; we change them. Do you understand what I mean by that?" (p. 209) It is apparent that even in such a regard totalitarian collectivism is opposed diametrically to a capitalist/progressive meritocracy, which rewards and punishes individuals based on the desirability or lack thereof within their actions and actions only. Because, judge the denizens of lands subject to a meritocratic stricture, the items of one's mind remaining within it pose no harm to their particular interests, nor to the interests of the species in the one world which all inhabit which are genuinely the composite of all the discrete interests in existence. The thoughts manifested are displayed in actions, which possess impacts and can therefore be objectively evaluated. And this recognition of an objective external reality is expressed best by a diary entry belonging to Mr. Winston Smith. "The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right. The obvious, the silly, and the true had got to be defended. Truisms are true, hold on to that! The solid world exists, its laws do not change. Stones are hard, water is wet, objects unsupported fall toward the Earth's center. With the feeling that he was setting forth an important axiom, he wrote: 'Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.'" (p.69) The Party, quite contrary to a functional meritocracy, concerns itself with the deliberate inhibition of individual liberties, therefore a stifling of any recognition of objective reality. For if men of erudition and free thought, men similar to Mr. Smith, had attained the enlightenment of recognizing that the welfare of the species, according to objective logic, is undermined by collective tyranny, the Party would not long have endured in its ironfisted domination of Oceania. Mass outrage, even from men of the basest instincts (who would possess still the tools to realize that mankind's survival had come under siege), would have removed them from their cherished power in a grand reformation. "The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, as long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison they never even become aware that they are oppressed. The recurrent economic crises of past times were totally unnecessary and are not now permitted to happen, but other and equally large dislocations can and do happen without having political results, because there is no way in which discontent can become articulate." (p. 171) The converse of our conclusion, then, holds as well. Unless an objective and functional framework of reality interpretation and ideal economic and social structure (i. e. a capitalist meritocracy) would reach members of the proletariat, the latter would possess no realization of the consequently more grievous truth that their lives are being curtailed by the status quo.

The cunning Party officials nevertheless acknowledge the grave hindrance that objective reality would pose to their own irrational goal, the infliction of human suffering. Already the Party belief concerning the irrelevance of control over external reality has been revealed. This is due to the fact that, indeed, there is no such necessity in this mastery for the infliction of suffering. Suffering is a condition peculiar to the brutal atmosphere of pristine nature, not manipulated by man. Only in the acquisition of comfort is external mastery necessary. Yet, due to their misconstrued aims, the Party intelligentsia is misled into a philosophical blunder as well, nevertheless a blunder wholly consistent with the overall immorality and asinine stupidity of their structure. O'Brien explains the essence of the dogma used as a channel of enforcement for the autocracy. "You are here because you have failed in humility, in self-discipline. You would not make the act of submission which is the price of sanity. You preferred to be a lunatic, a minority of one. Only the disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes; only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be truth is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party." (p.205) Does there exist a single shred of rationality or accordance with any evidence collected by science, logic, and observation throughout history within that blathering tirade? Without question, no. Yet O'Brien assumes yet another ludicrous blunder. "We control matter because we control the mind. Reality is inside the skull. You will learn by degrees, Winston. There is nothing that we could not do. Invisibility, levitation-- anything. I could float off this floor like a soap bubble if I wished to. I do not wish to, because the Party does not wish it. You must get rid of those nineteenth-century ideas about the laws of nature. We make the laws of nature." (p. 218) Of yet there has been no scientific correlation between the perceptions of any autocratic dictatorship and the external happenings of the world. If the outlooks of particular individuals are misconstrued and deviant from the absolute, what basis exists to assume that a group, a mere compilation of these outlooks, can possess a proper interpretation? This is yet another contradiction in Party reasoning.

It is fitting here to present an extraordinarily basic proof for an objective reality and the existence of the laws of nature. It is evident that there are in existence numerous individuals who are not merely locked within their own minds but are capable of interacting with each other. This, of course, demonstrates the necessity of space in which the interaction must take place, outside the internal content of one's brain, thus being common to all living entities and all objects, and existing as an Absolute Reality in which particular behaviors and physical processes, as well as a language, mathematics, and the sciences to provide empirical interpretation and application of these occurrences to daily life, are present. All these were not originated in man. They were a discovery unique to man, it is true, and their formulation was an invention of man which no previous creature had accomplished. They existed, but man, in his wisdom, was the first organism to recognize them, and, furthermore, determine that his own mind is itself a function of this objective reality, held together by a more complex level of the same chemical reactions which alter the world outside him, his organism composed of a finite quantity of material originating in the external reality. Man himself, it follows, dwells entirely within the objective reality and through science, mathematics, and technological progress, is able to obtain recognition of it which, when improved, is proportional to the increase of quality and length of life, for human life itself occurs within the one true world. It is this realization of the one truth that has therefore enabled all ameliorations of the human condition undertaken since the dawn of our species! To negate this seemingly self-evident and logical conclusion is an act of utter buffoonery and, moreover, genuine evil.

Yet the Party, in the general derangement of its motives, fittingly adopts the creed of "no external truth", proclaiming as totalitarian orders do its ability to determine matter through sheer will. Yet O'Brien cannot in reality float off into space without constructing a hovercraft or any other means of aerial transportation due to the fact that in the external reality he is, like all other creatures and objects, affected by the pull of the Earth's gravity. In order to acquire mastery over external (i.e. all) affairs one must keep in mind the conditions fulfilling which the goal necessitates if it is ever to come to fruition. O'Brien, being the crafty schemer, seeks to fit this inability into his distorted philosophical interpretation by stating that it is not the Party's will that he should fly. It is by the same premise that a newborn can proclaim that the world exists in its present conditions precisely because he had ordained it to acquire such a state and that he would be able to alter them at will, yet the tyranny of his pacifier (which is as intellectually competent an object as the Party) does not condone such an act. Orwell exposes similar attitudes of the Party which place the oligarchy in the position of creators of the world, similar to the assertions of our hypothetical infant. "Nonsense. The earth is as old as we are, no older. How could it be older? Nothing exists except through human consciousness." (p. 218) These lies are but a clever mask for a framework that does not function.  "The belief that nothing exists outside your own mind-- surely there must be some way of demonstrating that it was false. Had it not been exposed long ago as a fallacy? There was even a name for it, which he had forgotten." (p. 219) Alas, Mr. Smith had arrived into Mr. Orwell's hypothetical world when the suppression of ideas had been of such degree of strength that useful logical argumentation, in the manner of the chains of reasoning presented in this work, had no longer been accessible. Otherwise, this character would have been aware that the official title of such a fallacy is relativism, in itself a contradiction as an absolute rejection of absolutes. On the matter of truth, relativism rejects the existence of an external world, resulting in a crippling of the human focus and, therefore, in human suffering. On the front of ethics, relativism neglects to recognize the centrality of individual human life in a moral code of conduct based on rights.

The basic premise (and another internal contradiction) within relativism states also that it is an impossibility for the individual to possess any knowledge of the truth, and that consequently the individual must subordinate himself and his mindset to that of the dominant social order (This conception is based on the fallacy frequently manifested in the vulgar tone of the relativists: "Well, you have to submit to something!"). Because the individual, say these twisted dogmatists, cannot know reality, he may well follow the interpretation of whomever exceeds him in title and authority within a rigidly structured oligarchic tribe. It is by this premise that O'Brien, through the infliction of pain, coerces Smith into believing that two added to two will result in five. "-'How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?' -'I don't know. I don't know. You will kill me if you do that again. Four, five, six-- in all honesty I don't know.' - 'Better,' said O'Brien." (p. 208) This is a demonstration of relativism's chief clause, "You can't know the truth." Such a recognition will cause the individual to bow before whatever speculation or deliberate misinformation a so-called "expert" would present. The condition of not knowing is viewed as ultimate wisdom by the relativists, for it permits such warped ideologues to manipulate and destroy those men who had manifested this trait. On the part of the target, sadly, a reverence before the "sacred master from above" is ignited. "The terrible thing, thought Winston, the terrible thing was that when O'Brien said this he would believe it. You could see it in his face. O'Brien knew everything. A thousand times better than Winston, he knew what the world was really like, in what degradation the mass of human beings lived and by what lies and barbarities the Party kept them there. He had understood it all, weighed it all, and it made no difference: all was justified by the ultimate purpose.  What can you do, thought Winston, against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?" (p. 216)

Many concerned thinkers of present days had rightfully labeled this defect of the human condition expertitis, which is based on the fundamentally flawed relationship of blind trust, existing outside the absolute and possessing no verification as to the genuine nature of the other side's "revelations" or "intentions". Let us utilize this term in order to more conveniently refer to such a primary facet of relativism and link expertitis to Party domination. Such a connection has likely become evident at present. One who is under the spell of figures, described by Ms. Ayn Rand as "Witch Doctors" (also a proper address to apply here), then fully surrenders himself into their hands because he believes he does not know reality and thus does not know the nature of the proper scheme of action in its applications to his life. This blind trust, then, presents the Party with precisely the power they need to inflict their desired torture, persecution and suffering!

Relativism, to add to the above criticism, is riddled with anti-scientific absurdities refuted by men as distant in the past as Herr Copernicus. O'Brien's words below mimic those of a faith-based dogmatist within the Holy Inquisition during the Medieval period. "-'What are the stars?' said O'Brien indifferently. 'They are bits of fire a few kilometers away. We could reach them if we wanted to. Or we could blot them out. The earth is the center of the universe. The sun and the stars go round it.'" (p. 219) Reader, the relativists attempt to coerce you into adopting frameworks of interpretation as retrograde as the geocentric model of astronomy! On one end of the spectrum of reaction that good men will experience from this authoritarian clap-trap is a hearty laugh, as one with which a professional fool or a ranting intoxicated bum would be received, at the opposite end there is but sheer horror at this subtle yet efficient means for the acquisition of ends as evil and repulsive as can be.

G. Stolyarov II is a science fiction novelist, independent philosophical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician, composer, contributor to Enter Stage Right, Le Quebecois Libre, Rebirth of Reason, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Senior Writer for The Liberal Institute, and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator, a magazine championing the principles of reason, rights, and progress. His newest science fiction novel is Eden against the Colossus. His latest non-fiction treatise is A Rational Cosmology. Mr. Stolyarov can be contacted at gennadystolyarovii@yahoo.com.

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Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, at http://www.geocities.com/rational_argumentator/rc.html.