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Thread: Purpose of the Brotherhood's book?

  1. #1

    Purpose of the Brotherhood's book?

    I was just wondering... if O'Brien had been watching Winston all along, and if the mere act of joining the Brotherhood was more than sufficient evidence to arrest them, why was the book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchial Collectivism so throughoutly detailed, and so aware of how wrong the whole concept behind the Party was?

    O'Brien co-wrote it. If he can write that, how could he be the baddie? I know, I know, there is the doublethink issue, but that doesn't satisfy me. There must be a reason why the book delivered such an accurate and apparently freedom-friendly account of reality. O'Brien said later to Winston that all of what is in the book is garbage, absurd garbage. Then why did he come up with it in the first place?

    I can understand that that was the way Orwell found to discourse on how things went so awry. But still, I find it rather inconceivable that O'Brien himself would write that. To what end?


    Feedback would be appreciated!

  2. #2
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    The ultimate aim of The Party, as O'Brien stated, is power for the sake of power. In order to accomplish this, The Party must be able to define reality on it's own terms through the use of mind control, regardless of contradictions (doublethink). The Brotherhood, and Goldstein himself, is a fictitious organization designed by the The Party, probably under the direction of the Thought Police. The "book" is no more than a prop for the fictitious "Brotherhood", a fake manifesto for a fake organization. Much like the fake antique shop run by the fake shop owner. The "book", in my opinion, contains many elements of truth, however, the truth is irrelevant. Under the influence of The Party, the truth, or reality, is fluid and changes constantly to suit the needs of The Party. The "truth" can be used for the purposes of entrapment, as with Winston, or for enslavement, as with Parsons. The ultimate goal is complete mind control, including the destruction of every problematic emotion, such as love and desire. In order to do this, elaborate schemes and mechanisms, such as The Brotherhood , Goldstein, the book and the Ministry of Truth, and most of all, Big Brother, must be put in place so as to be aware and in control of every tendency, as much as possible, of every human in Oceania.

    Also, keep in mind, O'Brien is insane, along with all true believers in The Party. Victory for The Party is to make everyone else as insane as they are.

  3. #3
    Orwellian The Atheist's Avatar
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    I think you nearly nailed it:

    Quote Originally Posted by ach View Post
    The ultimate aim of The Party, as O'Brien stated, is power for the sake of power. In order to accomplish this, The Party must be able to define reality on it's own terms through the use of mind control, regardless of contradictions (doublethink). The Brotherhood, and Goldstein himself, is a fictitious organization designed by the The Party, probably under the direction of the Thought Police. The "book" is no more than a prop for the fictitious "Brotherhood", a fake manifesto for a fake organization. Much like the fake antique shop run by the fake shop owner. The "book", in my opinion, contains many elements of truth, however, the truth is irrelevant.
    More importantly, while it contained some truth, it contained the type of truth which Winston and Julia wanted to see and which was consistent with Winston's memories.

    To complete the destruction of Winston and Julia as human beings and turn them into mindless slaves of The Party, it was necessary for the Thought Police to know every part of Winston & Julia's minds. Accordingly, to ensure Winston, in particular, gave every part of his mind to the telescreen, a high degree of realism was used in the book.


    Quote Originally Posted by ach View Post
    Under the influence of The Party, the truth, or reality, is fluid and changes constantly to suit the needs of The Party. The "truth" can be used for the purposes of entrapment, as with Winston, or for enslavement, as with Parsons. The ultimate goal is complete mind control, including the destruction of every problematic emotion, such as love and desire. In order to do this, elaborate schemes and mechanisms, such as The Brotherhood , Goldstein, the book and the Ministry of Truth, and most of all, Big Brother, must be put in place so as to be aware and in control of every tendency, as much as possible, of every human in Oceania.
    Perfect.

    Quote Originally Posted by ach View Post
    Also, keep in mind, O'Brien is insane, along with all true believers in The Party. Victory for The Party is to make everyone else as insane as they are.
    Can't agree on the insanity.

    I can certainly show, using completely accurate logic, why the Party and its means as outlined is an excellent answer in achieving a goal of permanent rule. I can also put an excellent case by argument from the common good to show that it's necessary. I think it's a perfectly sane way of achieving the goal. (I also hope that human morality precludes it ever happening, but I'm a cynical atheist, so I take no bets on it!)

    This is where both Hitler and Stalin added to 1984. Both were godless heathens (although Hitler gave the appearance of being a theist - RC to be precise) who saw their own immortality in the "Thousand-Year Reich" and the USSR. Even quite prophetically, 1984 allows a glimpse of what actually happened during the 1970s and '80s when a succession of USSR leaders were alive in tv pictures only. Leonid Brezhnev had a large helping of Big Brother's blood in his veins, I'm quite sure.
    Go to work, get married, have some kids, pay your taxes, pay your bills, watch your tv, follow fashion, act normal, obey the law and repeat after me: "I am free."

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  4. #4
    Ach, thank you ever so much, way to write a first post!

    Atheist, thank you likewise for adding up to the debate!

    What you two have said does make sense, coming to think of it. And makes the book yet more terrifying.

    One more thing: where do you stand on O'Brien's ESP capacities? He knows exactly what Winston thinks at times, but that can perhaps be explained by his refined reading of non-verbal language, namely body language. But how about the prophetic dream that Winston had, 'We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness' (quoting from memory, might have a mistake or two)? Granted, it adds up to O'Brien's monstrous, manipulative power, but isn't it a little bit far fetched? Or can we assume that O'Brien sent some kind of subliminal message that caused Winston to dream about it?

  5. #5
    Orwellian The Atheist's Avatar
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    Very good question, which I think you've answered yourself - it's more a testament to O'Brien and The Party's total control of the situation, even before Winston himself was aware of it.

    It emphasised O'Brien's ability to be in Winston's head. I think that's signalled in O'Brien's lack of surprise when Winston came out with the "in the place where there is no darkness" at O'Brien's house.
    Go to work, get married, have some kids, pay your taxes, pay your bills, watch your tv, follow fashion, act normal, obey the law and repeat after me: "I am free."

    Anon

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
    I think that's signalled in O'Brien's lack of surprise when Winston came out with the "in the place where there is no darkness" at O'Brien's house.
    Why, that's right! Hadn't remember that. Thanks for the instant feedback!

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
    I think you nearly nailed it:



    More importantly, while it contained some truth, it contained the type of truth which Winston and Julia wanted to see and which was consistent with Winston's memories.

    To complete the destruction of Winston and Julia as human beings and turn them into mindless slaves of The Party, it was necessary for the Thought Police to know every part of Winston & Julia's minds. Accordingly, to ensure Winston, in particular, gave every part of his mind to the telescreen, a high degree of realism was used in the book.




    Perfect.



    Can't agree on the insanity.

    I can certainly show, using completely accurate logic, why the Party and its means as outlined is an excellent answer in achieving a goal of permanent rule. I can also put an excellent case by argument from the common good to show that it's necessary. I think it's a perfectly sane way of achieving the goal. (I also hope that human morality precludes it ever happening, but I'm a cynical atheist, so I take no bets on it!)

    This is where both Hitler and Stalin added to 1984. Both were godless heathens (although Hitler gave the appearance of being a theist - RC to be precise) who saw their own immortality in the "Thousand-Year Reich" and the USSR. Even quite prophetically, 1984 allows a glimpse of what actually happened during the 1970s and '80s when a succession of USSR leaders were alive in tv pictures only. Leonid Brezhnev had a large helping of Big Brother's blood in his veins, I'm quite sure.
    Hi.

    Regarding insanity, I understand your point. I call O'Brien insane for two reasons. First, at least one of the underpinnings of The Party's ideology is "doublethink". Logically speaking "doublethink" is itself illogical, regardless of whether or not it is essential to the aims The Party. Secondly, in my opinion at least, just because something is logical doesn't make it sane (I've long believed that the world can tolerate only so many geniuses for exactly this reason). As you mentioned, and I think we can agree, that we HOPE human morality will prevent the days of "1984" from ever becoming reality. I guess I'm using human morality as the yardstick by which we measure sanity.

    Thanks for the additional insight on the USSR. I wonder how many people at that time actually beleived what they were seeing, or didn't really believe it but felt powerless to change it, like Winston?

  8. #8
    Registered User darwin's Avatar
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    I am not sure if my answer is helpfull at all, but I have multiple ideas. First, the book could be used as a way of being the counter to INGSOC, like if you know what you are not, then it could help you deside who you are. Second, Orwell could have added it as a way of explaining how the government was run. The section of the book goes farther into the society than otherwise possible in teh rest of the story. You cannot just randomly start explaining how everything works, nor could you expain everything throughout the book. The Brotherhoods book, was a way for him to fully explain what kind of society Winston was living in. Third, the book is a mockery of any and all rebels. The book is saying that the Party has so much contol, that they even contol the rebelion.
    Just my thoughts.

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    Ok, guys just to rock the boat a bit - how do we know that O'Brien is telling the truth (or his version of it) when he claims to have co-written The Book? How do we know that he is just saying it to upset Winston's veiw of the world and reinforce the idea of complete Party control?

    In terms of the insanity question, it is a difficult one, but my opinion is that (from a psychological point of veiw) O'Brien is psychotic; he is fanatical, he has no qualms about killing and torturing in the name of his "greater good" and he fails to see the contradictions in his thinking. The interesting part is that he has been trained and has trained himself to enter this mental state, rather than it coming like a disease, it has been artifically implanted. Just my theory though, make of it what you will.
    "If there is hope, then it lies with the proles."

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    I think the purpose of the book is twofold: to help train new Inner Party members, and to entrap people like Winston. Like Charrington's shop, the book is set up to lure thoughtcriminals; their curiosity itself is thoughtcrime, and the Party can find the criminals quite easily. After Winston has read the book, O'Brien does not have to take time to explain all the principles in it.

    Of course, Orwell also needs to explain INGSOC to his readers, and the book is a vehicle for this. Since the novel is written from Winston's point of view, he cannot tell us these things himself; Orwell speaks to Winston (and hence to us) through the book.

  11. #11
    Orwellian The Atheist's Avatar
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    Nice to see lots of differring opinion, but I think you're missing some things in your analyses:

    Quote Originally Posted by darwin View Post
    I am not sure if my answer is helpfull at all, but I have multiple ideas. First, the book could be used as a way of being the counter to INGSOC, like if you know what you are not, then it could help you deside who you are.
    In a normal world that could happen, in Oceania, never. It's clear that the book is a fabrication by The Party and nobody gets to read it until they've been marked for arrest. By that stage, what W&J think is irrelevant, they are going to Room 101 to be re-programmed.

    Quote Originally Posted by darwin View Post
    Second, Orwell could have added it as a way of explaining how the government was run. The section of the book goes farther into the society than otherwise possible in teh rest of the story. You cannot just randomly start explaining how everything works, nor could you expain everything throughout the book. The Brotherhoods book, was a way for him to fully explain what kind of society Winston was living in.
    That's partly true, but he used the appendix for explaining Newspeak and could easily have added "Goldstein's book" there - it's ready-made as an appendix. The problem is that the way The Party rules isn't of crucial essence to the story. W&J had to read it, to see a version of the truth, but even more impotantly, to increase their feeling of usefulness and brotherhood, only to ensure the furthest fall when taken to the Ministry of Truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Frogs View Post
    Ok, guys just to rock the boat a bit - how do we know that O'Brien is telling the truth (or his version of it) when he claims to have co-written The Book? How do we know that he is just saying it to upset Winston's veiw of the world and reinforce the idea of complete Party control?
    Good point, because as O'Brien himself admits, he can simultaneously believe that he wrote it and know that he didn't. That O'Brien wrote it fits, though. He may have even written is especially for W&J.

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Frogs View Post
    In terms of the insanity question, it is a difficult one, but my opinion is that (from a psychological point of veiw) O'Brien is psychotic; he is fanatical, he has no qualms about killing and torturing in the name of his "greater good" and he fails to see the contradictions in his thinking. The interesting part is that he has been trained and has trained himself to enter this mental state, rather than it coming like a disease, it has been artifically implanted. Just my theory though, make of it what you will.
    As long as you see O'Brien's actions as diseased, (and they are by our standards) you're quite right, O'Brien's doublethink allows him to do his job regardless of his own inner feelings.

    In terms of insanity, though, the problem is that his actions aren't just condoned by The Party, they're essential to its survival. Once one has bought into it to the extent of Inner Party membership, he's just following the rule-book. O'Brien is no more insane than Winston.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coco View Post
    I think the purpose of the book is twofold: to help train new Inner Party members, and to entrap people like Winston. Like Charrington's shop, the book is set up to lure thoughtcriminals; their curiosity itself is thoughtcrime, and the Party can find the criminals quite easily. After Winston has read the book, O'Brien does not have to take time to explain all the principles in it.
    I think you've missed a very important point - one cannot "become" an Inner Party member, they would be born into it only. As a result, there aren't really any "new" members, because they would all have grown up in doublethink, so it wouldn't teach them anything at all.

    The book certainly doesn't lure them, it's far too late by then.

    One interesting point you raise is the curiosity shop. Did Winston attract the Thought Police by going there the first time? Did the shop only exist to lure him to it? Was the shop a constant means of entrapment? Personally, I suspect that the shop was placed there specifically for Winston..
    Go to work, get married, have some kids, pay your taxes, pay your bills, watch your tv, follow fashion, act normal, obey the law and repeat after me: "I am free."

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post

    One interesting point you raise is the curiosity shop. Did Winston attract the Thought Police by going there the first time? Did the shop only exist to lure him to it? Was the shop a constant means of entrapment? Personally, I suspect that the shop was placed there specifically for Winston..
    That would mean that they knew exactly what was happening in his head even before his revolution started. They could guess his moves without actually knowing him. Let's open shop, Winston will surely visit it!
    I find that hard to believe; if they knew from the beginning who was good and who had some doubts, then they could just take those others proles and reintegrate them or just kill them.
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  13. #13
    I wouldn't say specifically for Winston, but I think it was indeed a snare for whoever sought refuge from the Party, and Winston was unfortunate enough to fall for it. I wouldn't rule out The Atheist's theory, though, seems plausible enough that Winston's downfall was meticulously arranged by outer entities.

    As for knowing exactly what happens in Winston's head: if the Party can induce dreams into its members, I'd say that they pretty much control their minds...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bazarov View Post
    That would mean that they knew exactly what was happening in his head even before his revolution started. They could guess his moves without actually knowing him. Let's open shop, Winston will surely visit it!
    I find that hard to believe; if they knew from the beginning who was good and who had some doubts, then they could just take those others proles and reintegrate them or just kill them.
    No, I don't think it needs to go back that far, but if say, The Party had suspected Winston for five or ten years before 1984, it would have been relatively easy to create an old shop near to where he's likely to roam.

    I don't necessarily think it was there specifically for Winston, but it equally could have been. How many other Outer Party members would have dared to enter the shop?
    Go to work, get married, have some kids, pay your taxes, pay your bills, watch your tv, follow fashion, act normal, obey the law and repeat after me: "I am free."

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    Ataraxia bazarov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
    No, I don't think it needs to go back that far, but if say, The Party had suspected Winston for five or ten years before 1984, it would have been relatively easy to create an old shop near to where he's likely to roam.

    I don't necessarily think it was there specifically for Winston, but it equally could have been. How many other Outer Party members would have dared to enter the shop?
    In my opinion, it's too expensive in every way to hold a store for many years just because of a suspicion in one member and a hope he'll come to shop; or even more, a hope that he won't visit it.
    Also, if they are denying history, why are they opening shop? So everyone can remember that actually once things were much different? Cervantes once said: If you want to keep secret, then you firstly have to keep it from your self. This was the way of showing to everyone that there was something before, and that was something that nobody needed to know.
    Proles maybe wouldn't notice the shop,( because what's the purpose of it when you know you can't afford nothing from it), but other Party members would, so maybe someone else like Winston would appear with his doubts and suspicions? I know, that was the purpose of shop, but it's totally irational.
    Without those shops, books etc. in, let's say 70-80 years, they could totally erase idea of history from everyone; young Party members and Proles. And they would finally get their great faithful society.
    At thunder and tempest, At the world's coldheartedness,
    During times of heavy loss And when you're sad
    The greatest art on earth Is to seem uncomplicatedly gay.

    To get things clear, they have to firstly be very unclear. But if you get them too quickly, you probably got them wrong.
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