1984 presents a dark vision of the world with all its oppression, government surveillance, and limitations on individual expression. The most powerful tool used by “Big Brother” in 1984 is Mind Control. 1984’s protagonist Winston Smith is subjected to Mind Control throughout the novel, with an emphasis on “Double-Think”, which can be understood as a combination of “reality control” and “thought control”. 1984 suggests that Mind Control is the fundamental basis for censorship, authority, and nationalism.
1984 also demonstrates how Mind Control can be used to produce complacent citizens without potential or will to oppose government propaganda. 1984 describes Mind Control in terms of systematic psychological programming enforced by the state. This programming begins at infancy and continues through adulthood; it alters what people think and feel about the Party and Big Brother and influences their actions and decisions.
Winston’s life reflects Orwell’s view on how Mind Control has become easier because modern society relies so heavily upon technology. 1984 provides examples of various methods employed by the Party including Pyschological methods such as hypnosis, direct verbal suggestion, and subliminal messages; chemical methods such as the use of soma, which is described as an intoxicant that produces a sense of mental peace and quiet; and physiological methods such as sleep reduction.
1984 also illustrates how Mind Control can be used to control not just citizens but entire populations by inciting factionalism, war, or famine. 1984 suggests that Mind Control programming begins at infancy through the educational process under the influence of authority figures including parents, teachers, and Party members. 1984 demonstrates this idea when Julia explains to Winston how children are taught to repeat slogans without questioning them: “And all their lives they’re watching some kind of dreary game with rules you can’t understand”.
Later on in his life, Winston reads 1984, which reminds him of the “two plus two equals five” slogan from his childhood. Winston remembers this slogan because it was drilled into him without any explanation or justification for why this equation is true. 1984 summarizes that children are subjected to a variety of propaganda techniques while at school and while socializing with friends:
As a child, Winston Smith is taught under the influence of an adult authority figure, the Party’s Inner Party member and Ministry of Truth employee Mrs. Parsons In 1984’s 4th chapter titled “The Parsons Family”, Julia describes to Winston how her family has political conversations only when certain topics are addressed by all parties involved in order to avoid confrontation among family members. This demonstrates how children are conditioned through unconscious peer pressure by adults and their peers to support the state. 1984 describes Mind Control occurring in various ways such as altering individual’s perception of reality through fictional sources such as Newspeak, doublethink, and revisionist history; changing people’s emotional responses via social engineering; and manipulating people into engaging in behavior that is against their will.
1984 provides examples of how 1984 citizens are conditioned to accept Big Brother as a savior figure. 1984 also illustrates how 1984 can use Mind Control to warp its citizens’ language and mental agility in order to control them: 984 uses Newspeak and doublethink in order to successfully alter 1984 citizens’ perception of reality by limiting what words exist in the English language so that eventually nobody is able to properly think about specific concepts or challenge lies through verbal means. 1984 demonstrates the idea of 1984 citizens being unable to use their language skills to articulate thought or challenge Big Brother’s lies through the character Syme, who is involved in the creation of Newspeak.
1984 describes Syme as an intellectually driven man motivated by his love for language and words. 984 shows how 1984 citizens are conditioned to accept things for how they are without question through an incident involving Winston talking with Mr. Charrington about whether he believes that the Party will always rule England. This discussion leads them both to realize that their conversation was recorded unbeknownst to them by microphones hidden throughout Charrington’s antique shop. 1984 concludes this chapter by explaining how 1984 can use Mind Control technology developed through technological advancements such as microphone surveillance systems to create an omnipresent Big Brother who 1984 citizens are unaware of.
1984 shows how 1984 can use Mind Control to brainwash 1984 citizens into believing that 2+2=5 by discussing the idea of doublethink, which is defined as “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them”. 1984 discusses this concept through Mr. Charrington who reflects on how he used to think about certain events before they happened but now because the Party has undone his memory of thinking differently, he believes whatever it wants him to believe. 1984 explains how 1984 citizens are conditioned to love the Party through Winston’s conversation with Mrs. Parsons, whose son died fighting for the Party during a civil war that ended up being fabricated by the Party.
1984 demonstrates 1984’s use of Mind Control involving altering 1984 citizens’ perception of reality by changing 1984 history in order to control 1984 citizens though revisionist history through the character of Syme, who discusses how the Party is rewriting English history using Newspeak. 1984 describes this process as “the continuous alteration of the past”, which is then followed by an example given by Syme that explains why Big Brother never died during WWII despite claiming that he did on multiple occasions prior. 1984 also employs Mind Control in the form of brainwashing 1984 citizens into believing anything they want them to believe without question through doublethink and revisionism while discussing psychological manipulation techniques used on Winston while he was imprisoned in Room 101 for torture after being caught trying to escape from London with Julia.