Short introduction -A friend mentioned this slogan and I never heard it before but it seemed very interesting so I went and researched it. Among others, I found this article based on George Orwell’s novel entitled 1984 and published in 1949 which sums up pretty well the ideas behind it. Also I got very curious about the book…I have to read it!
The goal of the INGSOC is to achieve total control over the people and, more importantly, over their minds. And here lies the answer.
What “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength” means to the INGSOC
One of the main mind programs of The Party was the so called “double thinking”, or doublethink, which “describes the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts.”
“War is peace” and “freedom is slavery” are good examples of double thinking. Though contradictory by definition, they are both accepted as correct, simultaneously, by the citizens of Oceania.
This means that even though Oceania is in a constant state of war, the people are acting like there is peace as well, hence they can easily switch from one emotion to the other, in accordance to what The Party asks of them.
“Freedom is slavery” also acts as a subconscious discouragement for anyone who might consider seeking freedom, whilst the last part of the slogan, “Ignorance is strength,” encourages the people to accept as fact everything that The Party tells them, without using rational thinking. Believe and never question!
For example, even though there is a constant shortage of everything, and the people make great efforts to get a hold of the most basic things (e.g. shoe laces or shaving razors), they are convinced that there is, in fact, an abundance — only because The Party keeps repeating this everyday. In their highly conditioned minds, it can be both scarcity and abundance, at the same time.
The Orwellian slogan applied in our society
Even in a corrupted semi-democracy, like ours, it is hard to believe that paradoxes like: “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength” could make any sense — but they do.
The concept of “war is peace” is used today by the United States of America and NATO, when they engage in the so called “pre-emptive wars.” The term itself is a paradox, because one cannot start a war in order to prevent it.
“Freedom is slavery” is the very foundation of our global society, and the biggest and most ignored problem of a so called democracy. All human beings are in fact “currency slaves,” meaning that they must work to survive (though physical labor could have been abolished by now), but at the same time, almost all of them strongly believe they are free.
I urge all those who consider themselves free, to stop paying taxes for the already “owned” possessions (e.g. house, car, land, etc.) and see what happens.
Finally, the strength given by ignorance is highly encouraged in our society: never question authority, law, legal institutions, school books, history, main stream media or main stream scientific communities.
Any deviation from the socially accepted norm is swiftly fought and corrected by society, with the help of the individuals. We are both prisoners and prison masters, constantly policing ourselves and each other. And even though we are not aware of it, we are all subjects to carefully designed mind programming, indoctrination and brainwashing, from birth to death.