Glance over the atheist’s Twitter account below and note the constant topic of discussion.
Then, read the excerpt below from Chapter 5 of George Orwell’s 1984.
’How is the Dictionary getting on?’ said Winston, raising his voice to overcome
’Slowly,’ said Syme. ’I’m on the adjectives. It’s fascinating.’
He had brightened up immediately at the mention of Newspeak. He pushed
his pannikin aside, took up his hunk of bread in one delicate hand and his cheese
in the other, and leaned across the table so as to be able to speak without
’The Eleventh Edition is the definitive edition,’ he said. ’We’re getting the
language into its final shape — the shape it’s going to have when nobody speaks
anything else. When we’ve finished with it, people like you will have to learn it
all over again. You think, I dare say, that our chief job is inventing new words.
But not a bit of it! We’re destroying words — scores of them, hundreds of them,
every day. We’re cutting the language down to the bone. The Eleventh Edition
won’t contain a single word that will become obsolete before the year 2050.’
He bit hungrily into his bread and swallowed a couple of mouthfuls, then
continued speaking, with a sort of pedant’s passion. His thin dark face had
become animated, his eyes had lost their mocking expression and grown almost
’It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Of course the great wastage
is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got
rid of as well. It isn’t only the synonyms; there are also the antonyms. After all,
what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of some other
word? A word contains its opposite in itself. Take ”good”, for instance. If you
have a word like ”good”, what need is there for a word like ”bad”? ”Ungood”
will do just as well — better, because it’s an exact opposite, which the other
is not. Or again, if you want a stronger version of ”good”, what sense is there
in having a whole string of vague useless words like ”excellent” and ”splendid”
and all the rest of them? ”Plusgood” covers the meaning, or ” doubleplusgood”
if you want something stronger still. Of course we use those forms already. but
in the final version of Newspeak there’ll be nothing else. In the end the whole
notion of goodness and badness will be covered by only six words — in reality,
only one word. Don’t you see the beauty of that, Winston? It was B.B.’s idea
originally, of course,’ he added as an afterthought.
A sort of vapid eagerness flitted across Winston’s face at the mention of Big
Brother. Nevertheless Syme immediately detected a certain lack of enthusiasm.
’You haven’t a real appreciation of Newspeak, Winston,’ he said almost
sadly. ’Even when you write it you’re still thinking in Oldspeak. I’ve read some
of those pieces that you write in The Times occasionally. They’re good enough,
but they’re translations. In your heart you’d prefer to stick to Oldspeak, with
all its vagueness and its useless shades of meaning. You don’t grasp the beauty
of the destruction of words. Do you know that Newspeak is the only language
in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year?’
Winston did know that, of course. He smiled, sympathetically he hoped, not
trusting himself to speak. Syme bit off another fragment of the dark-coloured
bread, chewed it briefly, and went on:
’Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of
thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because
there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever
be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly
defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. Already, in
the Eleventh Edition, we’re not far from that point. But the process will still be
continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and
the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there’s
no reason or excuse for committing thoughtcrime. It’s merely a question of
self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won’t be any need even for
that. The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect. Newspeak
is Ingsoc and Ingsoc is Newspeak,’ he added with a sort of mystical satisfaction.
’Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest,
not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation
as we are having now?’
’Except-’ began Winston doubtfully, and he stopped.
It had been on the tip of his tongue to say ’Except the proles,’ but he
checked himself, not feeling fully certain that this remark was not in some way
unorthodox. Syme, however, had divined what he was about to say.
’The proles are not human beings,’ he said carelessly. ’ By 2050 earlier,
probably — all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole
literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton,
Byron — they’ll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something
different, but actually changed into something contradictory of what they
used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will
change. How could you have a slogan like ”freedom is slavery” when the concept
of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different.
In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means
not thinking — not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.’
One of these days, thought Winston with sudden deep conviction, Syme will
be vaporized. He is too intelligent. He sees too clearly and speaks too plainly.
The Party does not like such people. One day he will disappear. It is written
in his face.
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