To Orwell Today,

Hello, great site.

RE: 43. Winston talks in his sleep and the passage:

"Besides, the Party was in the right. It must be so: how could the immortal, collective brain be mistaken?"

Immortal, collective brain.

Why did Orwell use this phrase? Is it used anywhere else in 1984? Is it a metaphor or meant to be taken on a literal level?

All of philosophy comes down to the question of the the soul, consciousness and mortality, their origins, motivation and right guidance...

Is the metaphorical collective brain working with a manifestation of an original source of consciousness/soul or has the message been rewired and the mass consciousness working towards a man-made rewiring misleading the majority of the population?

Does Orwell address this issue anywhere else?

If you look at our historical record we really no nothing for certain prior to the Renaissance. All primary texts of the major religions and philosophy date from translations done in the Renaissance and just as easily mistranslated or even manufactured and evented then.

The French philosopher Jean Baudrillard has written about the hyper-reality of the modern world, of simulacrum, where the fake, the lie, the fraud has replaced not only the truth and reality but even the desire for it.

At the end of his book 'Symbolic Exchange and Death' he utters kind of a Winstonian plea, that to fight our fabricated reality of war, economy etc., manufactured by the "giant deterrence machine" of global capital and the media, locking us into a hyper-rationalism that uses logic and group think/mimesis to support anything it likes -- that absurdity, a controlled madness in a sense, is the only way out.

And if our reality is not only fabricated but an intentionally misleading deception then not only is it the only way out but also the only way to potentially get at the right source...

Godel, the logician had come to a similar conclusion both about the limits and ultimate hindrance of modern logic and mathematics to explain the truth and also, in his research of Leibniz and the origins of modern logic/mathematics, about the near certainty of an intentionally corrupted historical record locking us into this hyper-rationalism and making us think, magically, via a magic impostion, that this is the only way to think...

Does Orwell address any of the history behind thought control in 1984?

Jean Baudrillard also states at the end of the same book that if you "control the imaginary of death, you control life"...Ie if you satisfy this ultimate question, mortality-immortality, that subconsciously motivates everything, or if you make people forget it and replace it with blind consumerism etc., you have driven people down a long road of somnambulism and control...

Our public schools are magic places. If via psychological and intellectual profiling at an early age you can get the top 20% of the populaion to believe a certain Machiavellian myth from their infancy and school days, marginlaize potential threats, and match this with an initiatory experience in adulthood that convinces the managers that they have access to immortality and/or a greater truth, ethics and morality than the majority, and then embeds defeat in the marginalized, then you have created a perfect scenario for capital (from the head) control...a form of control that is just as easily based on a fabrication and satisfies none of the ultiamted questions lying in our subconscious, deceiving the elite as well as the masses...

Ioan Couliano wrote in his book 'Eros and Magic in the Renaissance' that the modern state uses the same 'magic' that was being developed in the Renaissance for mass control, via imagery and manipulation of eros and desire: our modern state is a continuation of the very same Renaissance theories on control: "The total illusion of total satisfaction."

On a material level satisfying the population by first showing them via t.v. what they desire and then providing them with its satiation via sex, consumer products etc., an illusion of satisfaction, because the desire is continuous...And on the intellectual level satisfying the majority with the notion that this is all there is to life and satisfying those that think deeper with this Machiavellian paradigm initiated at an early age and just as easily based on falsehood...

The magic manifestations of a collective brain, a high initiatory experience is just as easily an intensified and insensate dupe as it is any highler Platonic form of objective reality, and considering the passions and charged energy, the positive energy and excitement going into works of ecstasy and evil, you have a scenario ripe for grand illusion where the elite are under a greater form, voluntarily, of mass hypnosis than the majority of the population even...

I think 1984 becomes a much deeper work when the hisory of thought control is taken into consideration and it would be interesting to know if Orwell uses other provocative statemenst similar to the "Immortal, collective brain..." anwhere else in his work...

Andrew C.

Greetings Andrew,

When Orwell wrote the words you question, ie "immortal, collective brain" from the phrase you quote, ie:

"Besides, the Party was in the right. It must be so: how could the immortal, collective brain be mistaken?"

he was being sarcastic. He was spouting 'the Party line', he was practicing "crimestop" - or trying to train himself in stupidity because he knew that's what Big Brother wanted.

The reader is expected to realize that Winston doesn't really believe 'the Party is in the right' because just a few paragraphs later Orwell writes:

"'No, somewhere, outside of oneself, there is a 'real' world where 'real' things happen.'"

Further themes you can read where Orwell discusses the difference between 'real' reality and what Big Brother wants the world to believe is reality are 28.Reality Control and 17.Falsification of Past and 40.Electric Shock Brainwashing and 41.The Party Tells 'How' and 42.The Party Tells 'Why'.

See also the recent email exchange WINSTON HID HIS HATE which explains how Orwell was using tactics to trick Big Brother into believing it had Winston's mind under its control.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~