Thursday, 6 November 2008

Why The Photo Was Important

A reader recently got here by googling "Why was the photo of Jones, Aaronson and Rutherford so important?"

Easy. The photo is used by O Brien to prove to Winston the power of doublethink and the impotence of traditional approaches to "the past". Winston, under pain of torture, can do nothing but tell the truth - he saw the photo, O Brien held it in his hand - and O Brien, with one sentence, announces the arrival of a far more powerful mode of thought: "I do not remember it."

Freed from the slavery of truth, the Party mind can be as flexible as the situation demands, and it can forget anything it needs to, whenever it needs to, even to forgetting the act of forgetting. The photo demonstrates that nothing exists apart from what the Party calls into existence and destroys, and that lunacy really is being a minority of one. The photo's destruction and forgetting is a brutal display of power over reality, in a way Winston does not come to understand fully until later.

2 comments:

Crushed said...

Of course, stuff like that really happened.

Remember the picture of Lenin, where the podium was extended to cover up Trotsky?

The Tin Drummer said...

Yes, of course. And that people were expected to behave as though nothing was wrong. But they were not confronted with the truth and told that it did not exist.