It's the part where O'Brien holds up four fingers and asks Winston how many fingers he's holding up. Winston says four. O'Brien asks him how many fingers it would be if the Party says it is five. Winston says it would still be four. What else could it be?
Winston is tortured until he says he sees five fingers, but that's not good enough. He is tortured again and drugged until he actually does see five fingers. That's when the torture stops.
That scene perfectly symbolizes the template of all evil. It defies every natural law of humanity and attempts to deny something that cannot be denied. It's not possible to control another sentient being, not in any true sense. All the techniques of torture and mind games and cruelty, the drugs and the sleep deprivation and all of the grotesque and deceitful mind shattering techniques that evil people engage in, are all phony cheats. They can get people to believe a lie, but it's still a lie. No lie changes to truth, no change ever takes place. Only the destruction of a sovereign entity's mind and body happens. That's nowhere near the same as actually achieving what they really want. They can't get what they really want. It's impossible.
O'Brien then goes on to tell Winston that they are going to purge him of his "insanity", meaning the truth, wipe his brain clean, meaning destroy his mind, and then give him the great gift of loving Big Brother, really loving him, meaning overwriting reality on his newly broken mind. And when that happens he will finally be sane and whole and right. Then they will kill him.
As if things weren't bad enough for Winston already, anyone with a grain of justice in their soul would think that Winston had given enough now. He'd given everything. Or rather, they'd taken everything there was to take. Why wouldn't that be enough? Why do they have to kill him?
The nature of the supposed crime was that Winston had once existed with thoughts in his head that were true. They were contrary to the Party which seriously threatened the party because the party is nothing but a lie. To think a thought that was not a Party thought was the one thing that could never be forgiven, ever. A contrary thought is taken as a murder attempt, because to reveal a lie is to kill it. The Party knows that everyone must believe the lie because if even one person doesn't believe it, the lie could be revealed and killed.
What the Party wants is impossible. It cannot ever actually happen that different individuals could live different life experiences that would bring them to think only lies, or rather, party thoughts. There is no possibility or probability of that happening naturally. It is contrary to nature, which means it's not optional. It just is. It applies whether it suits anybody or not.
The external and internal truth of every human being is that we are separate and independent from every other human being; experiencing all physical sensation through our own physical senses, thinking our own self generated thoughts, fully existing in our own self generated emotions; while synthesizing all that one knows and feels and understands and sees and touches and wonders about and hungers for and dreams of with the never ending turmoil of a teeming world of activity and discovery happening all around us every second of our lives; this is the first truth of existing. That's what being a human being is, it marks the beginning and the end of a life. It announces the legitimate arrival of a new sentient, independently functional human being. Your mind is you and every part of you is yours by definition. Nothing of what we are can ever belong to or be automatically obligated to anyone else because no one else had any say over whether or not we exist. We exist.
To not have any of that is to not exist. And to not have it be there by self genesis, is to not exist. We physically exist to function as autonomous, continuously self-creating beings. That is our primary function. Like washing machines wash clothes and can't do much else, we cannot help but do what we're built to do.
The highest crime between people is demanding by force, by law, by deceit, by manipulation, by threat, by imprisonment, by bribery, by withholding information, by telling lies, by ultimatum, by any means of coercion at all, that someone else must relinquish themselves, in essence cease to exist, and instead become a mere extension of someone else's will; carrying someone else's thoughts, ideas, desires, goals and philosophies. That is a crime against nature as well as a crime against the human species. We can offer, we can ask, we can request, but we have no right to demand and no right to force our will on anyone else. We have the right to defend ourselves from someone else's unwanted intrusion or attacks on our persons, but there is no right to wage such attacks or make such intrusions.
We don't seem to appreciate this nearly enough or understand the basic rules of coexistence. We confuse our own desires with a right to satisfy them. There is no such right if it involves or affects anyone else and they are not allowed to decide whether or not they want to participate. No such right ever existed, and it never will.
What "1984" shows us is how officialdom tries to sanitize their crimes against nature and humanity with claims to impossible authority and impossible rights to propagate official philosophy and condemn all alternative philosophies as evil. The Party turned all truth on its head and made natural rights into illegal things and illegal things into official rights, just like our own government does today and has done for a long time. What the Party was really trying to do to Winston was expunge his unique mind from existence. Big Brother demanded the mass murder of human consciousness.
It's easy to say that's insane, it is insane. It's evil, about as evil as it comes. What's not so easy is understanding why anyone would want this. It makes no sense. It's a contradiction to want everyone else's unique identity extinguished but still be surrounded by people. It reminds me of Narcissus gazing at his own reflection in the pond. If you want to be the only person on earth, then why don't you want to be alone? What is it that is so hard for you about other people not being you? What do you feel entitles you to torture and murder them for not being you when that is not a possibility, much less a crime? What is it that you really want?
People like this have filled volumes with their excuses and lies which they tell themselves and each other and then all agree it makes perfect sense and justifies their bad behavior. But it doesn't justify anything. There is no excuse or validation for serial killers.
By attempting to use force of any kind to deprive people of their primary function is to demand that they be expunged from existence. More precisely it's a demand to have never existed at all. It's a demand that cannot be met. No one can exist and then never have existed. It doesn't even make sense.
Even more, there is no reason, need or right to demand that anyone cease to exist. To demand that you stop being who you are is to demand that you kill yourself, mentally, physically, or both, so that someone else may feel happy because you are gone. That is not a reasonable demand. It is invalid.
To me that's natural law #1. If you exist you obviously have the right to exist. Period. Everything else comes after that, not before.
The thing about natural laws is that pretending they don't exist doesn't get you thrown in jail or punished the way breaking a man made law does. You can't break a natural law. You can try, and we do try, over and over again, but when a law can't be broken nothing you do will subvert or override it. Natural law can't be pretended away. It can't be changed or effected. You can choose to ignore it but it will still be there. If you're at all intelligent you can benefit profoundly from the wisdom of natural law, because it teaches instead of imprisons, it expands you instead of diminishing you, it heals you instead of hurting you. Knowing about natural law is like having an anchor so we know where we are in relation to everything else in the universe, but it's also like a piece of string we can pull on to get some light. It's not the same as "THE" answers, that's something else. Natural laws aren't answers, they're truths. They're starting points, realities, square one. They apply equally to one and all.
Independent sentience is the square one of human existence. It is who we are. It can't be removed from our existence, or be given to someone else. It is as hard to share our independent sentience with someone else as it is to share an arm or a leg with someone else. It doesn't work that way. Our independent sentience is what wills our arms into action and our legs to move our bodies across the room. We can't do that for anyone else no matter how much we wish we could, it's just not possible.
We can't feel anyone else's pain other than to empathize with them. We can't see what anyone else is seeing unless they tell us what it is and try to show us and we want to try to see it, but we can never directly see it ourselves through their eyes. We can come to know others, to understand them, to interact with them, even at incredibly intimate levels, but we will always remain separate, individual and unique no matter how close we become.
Interestingly, it has to be that way. We couldn't love anyone if we weren't separate and sentient and self-generating our every thought and feeling. We couldn't experience that other person if we were a single entity. Then we would be one self, one sentience, and there would be no "other" to know or feel anything for. We could not experience self and others if we were all one mind experiencing everything all at once at the same time. We have to be individually sentient in order to see or think or feel or communicate. Our own life has to be a unique, personal experience in order for us to exist at all. The magic all happens when everyone's doing that and we manage to find some way to interact, communicate and express ourselves to each other; and make our lives and our world into something that matters to us.
That's what Big Brother wants to eradicate from not just Winston, but every one else. Big Brother literally does not want anyone else to exist. It wants to end existence of all but itself in duplicated, repeating, identical form. A clone society of one person. The Party wants to kill sentience and have itself be the only sentience there is. Why that is, I don't know, but that is what it wants. It's not rational. It doesn't make sense. It wants to remake the world into a shrine to itself. I'd call that the definition of insanity.
"I want you to cease to exist so that I may be happy" is a serious disorder of the will.
It's easy to read "1984" and know these Big Brother people were in a raging disease state, and see that people who have this disease are also its primary carriers. What might not be so quickly apparent though is that it happens in lesser degrees, and all too commonly today, in the here and now. For some people it is a full blown disease. For Big Brother and the Party it was more like Ebola. For others it's anywhere from the equivalent of a sneeze to the common cold to the flu. It can even go pandemic, because this disease can be very catchy.
"I want you to cease to exist so that I may be happy" disease, the exact same disease state of "1984", can and does affect pretty near everybody to some extent or another at least from time to time; and it affects some folks very seriously, permanently and forever. We have a lot of names for the multitudinous ways this disease expresses itself, like racism, sexism, corruption, greed, deceit, oppression, domination, imperialism, fascism, modern capitalism, rape, murder, theft, fraud, war, cheating, bullying, manipulation, rudeness, inconsideration, selfishness, cruelty, disrespect, but while the expressions are all quite different they all spring from the same disease of the will.
There is something interesting I've noticed about this disease. That is its desperate, paranoid, even hysterical need to label itself as the ultimate form of perfect sanity. It must convince others that it is not a disease, not a disorder of the will, but instead it is the pinnacle of truth and perfected human thought. That assertion cannot be proven but to the infected, proof is irrelevant. Reality is irrelevant. Nothing is relevant but what the infected person thinks or feels. They can and do make it up as they go. They have no fear of being hypocrites or liars, and they cannot be shamed. They are able to stand before anyone in a state of raging disease, while it is crystal clear to onlookers that they are covered with crawling disease organisms that are truly disgusting and horrible, and they will say they are beautiful and healthy and that anyone who doesn't think so is stupid, or a terrorist, or is insane. They will say all kinds of things about others, but they will never consider any reason exists to look in the mirror.
Even more interesting is that those who are not infected see the disease and its false claims for what they are, and they cannot be tricked, fooled or in any wise convinced to believe it is anything but a disease. They recognize infected persons and know they are infected. It is only those who become infected who will suddenly believe they have not become sick, but they are now perfectly healthy. They too will spontaneously develop the identical paranoid to hysterical obsessive need to be perceived as perfect in their sanity. The slightest suggestion that they are not thinking clearly, that they are not objective, that they are wrong, that they are behaving badly, will never be received objectively or passively. On the contrary, it is risky to challenge infected persons because doing so cuts to the core of the disease and threatens to expose it, which would prove it is there. Proving it is there is to render it impotent. Knowing it is there is to threaten its existence. The response is predictable and always the same; rage.
The germs of "I want you to cease to exist so that I may be happy" disease float freely about us in great quantity at all times, just like so many other kinds of germs and pathogens. Our mental immune systems are not always geared up enough to fight off bouts of infection from this soul pathogen.
The cure is not complicated, it just takes conscious effort and the desire to get well, or if we are already well, to stay that way. No one is ever immune from being infected by this stuff. Interestingly though, because it is a malfunction of our own will we can always choose to not be infected. As soon as we realize we have it we can choose to not have it.
Being uncomplicated is not the same as being easy. It can be really hard to be honest enough and unselfish enough and mature enough to admit when and under what circumstances we have this disorder. It's not hard to understand that everyday people get infected with this because it comes from a natural and perfectly good thing. It's just that the perfectly natural good thing has malfunctioned.
My earlier quick definition of what a person is, an independent sentient being, is a being driven by self interest. It has to be in order to survive. But it also has to be driven by interest in others, because when it isn't, it malfunctions. It attempts to operate in opposition to reality. The reason it has to be driven by interest in others is because there are others. We exist and others exist. Any suggestions of greater or lesser right or worth or anything else are hot air. They can't be supported by natural law. We all exist in exactly the same degree, we have to acknowledge each other's existence in exactly the same degree. If there were no others it wouldn't matter, but then we wouldn't exist either so the point is obvious. You just can't get around this, it's simple common sense.
As simple as it is to understand, it's possibly one of the hardest things to manifest. Sometimes it can't be helped just due to sheer numbers, but many times it's only a choice we make to either acknowledge the existence of others or decide that doesn't count as much as getting what we want. When we negate the existence of others by conscious intent, with malice, with depraved indifference, it disrupts and damages the natural order of things and creates havoc, destruction and suffering.
Infected people are the cause of almost every wrong that people do in this world. It's not the same as making a mistake, anyone can make a mistake. This is specifically about the will of the infected individual malfunctioning. And like any systemic disease it doesn't just affect the will, it spreads to other components of the being and invades them, thus transforming them into willing accomplices which will aid and abet the disease's continued existence. No disease can go on existing unless it propagates and this disease is desperate to propagate itself. It must infect reason, logic, compassion, critical thinking, and most every function of the individual being.
The nature of this disease is to demand that natural law does not exist or that somehow it is wrong and they are right. Just as infected people insist they are not infected but are healthy, the disease can only stay alive by turning everything inside out and calling it normal. This disease exists in direct opposition to simple truth and plain old ordinary reality. The problem is, it cannot affect simple truth and plain old ordinary reality. Because of that it can only try to destroy them. It obsesses over destroying them. It goes on crusades to destroy them. Infected people's only recourse is to use force to eradicate simple truth and ordinary reality, because the exercise of one person's will cannot affect change in any other person but one's own self. Even this unchangeable natural law is one they deny and attempt to overthrow even though it is pointless.
Wanting to use our personal will to control the thoughts and actions of another person is common enough, but apparently not quite common enough for anybody who does it to recognize it doesn't work that way. Our will is confined to controlling ONLY our own selves, both physically and mentally. We cannot simply "will" another to do or be what we want. If we could do that, we would do that, but it's not possible.
What does that mean? It's too simple to believe it needs to be said out loud, but here goes. It means that it's wrong to do that. Wrong, meaning it is not within the realm of possibility. We do not possess the ability, and therefore we do not possess the right, to have our will control the thoughts, beliefs, feelings or lives of another person. Those are things we can control and are supposed to control in and for ourselves. We do it for ourselves, others do it for themselves. That's how this whole human existence thing works. That's how we function. Our will cannot affect the basic existence or function of any other being. You just can't do it.
Unless, of course, you do terrible things that hurt other people. You can use your will to make you get a grip and behave like a decent human being, or you can decide not to do that and use your will to come up with ways to use force or deception to make others do what you want. No matter what your supposed good reasons are, no matter how it is rationalized, it is still breaking the first basic rule of coexistence to do that. Just because you are able to use your own will to ignore and defy simple reality and truth does not mean you are right to do so. You are committing a crime against independent sentience when you use force or other cheats to get your way.
You're also causing damage to the person you use force against, and possibly to other people connected to them as well as yourself. There is physical rape and we all know that's a crime, but there is also mental rape and that's also a crime. Both physical murder and mental murder are crimes. In a way this is so simple that its hard. What's hard about it is really facing it, really getting it, and really understanding that we're not functioning right in this world unless we're trying hard to overcome those things in ourselves that make us want to deny the obvious and act as if our desires matter more than who we use to satiate them. There is no natural law to support that.
I know that some will say that's not true because, for instance, in order to eat we have to kill something. They will say that because that's true then anything we want to do toward fulfilling our desires is valid and there are no rules and killing isn't even wrong. That would be incorrect. That's like saying, "If this is an apple then everything is an apple". No it isn't. There is an obvious natural law that requires us to eat life to stay alive. We have no choice but to consume other living things, which means killing them, but those living things are food, not other people. We have to eat food but we do not have to rape or kill or lie. That's just stupid. Look for the natural law. If it's not there, it isn't there so quit being a twit. This is simple stuff. It is common sense. You don't even need to be able to read to know this. We can observe it all around us in our natural world.
There are rules. There is right and wrong. We are not masters of the universe. We are complex, diverse, sentient, individual beings living finite life spans on a world with other sentient beings and many other life forms. We're all here together. We like to pretend we're not a part of it all, but we are. The more effort, time and energy we put into pretending we are separate from our shared Earth reality, the more we prove ourselves wrong. The more we try to defy the natural, common sense rules that cannot be changed, the more harm we do. And boy are we stubborn and defiant. We hate not having everything our way. It should be pretty clear to everybody by now that we are guaranteed to kill ourselves as we continue killing the world we're a part of unless we knock it off.
Our personal desires may be strong, but they do not automatically manifest a right to be fulfilled. A desire to be fulfilled is not a right to be fulfilled. Our rights end at the outer edges of our own skin. That's the fact of the matter and it's a fact we sometimes really hate. We can hate it all we want, but that won't change a single thing. We are doing it wrong when we pretend there are no rules and there is no morality and there is no right or wrong. Of course there is.
The disease state of "1984" is in full bloom in the real world we all live in. Just like in the story, the infected Party power players have lied, cheated, stole, murdered, and turned reality on its ear in the useless attempt to legitimize their disease. They achieved the means to have it written down on paper and have their crimes protected by legal force from any attempts at correction, but they did not achieve the real goal they wanted of making it legitimate. It can never be legitimate, it is a disease state. The next step was to elevate the lie to a sacred truth that must never be questioned or doubted. This makes anyone who questions or doubts it a vile horrific enemy that they can then claim the right to brutalize, imprison, and even kill in "self-defense". It is absolutely self-defense. Every person with the truth inside them is a direct threat to their continued existence.
When the disease state controls our lives everything slowly dies because the disease brings death. That's what diseases do. Natural law facilitates life and growth and health, because that's what it does.
I know "1984" is a book of fiction, but all the same I would beg to differ. It's a fictional account of hard reality and it describes perfectly well the nature of the eternal struggle on this world. It shows us the exact definition of "wrong". It shows us how "wrong" masquerades itself as "right". It shows us how to get people to never look at the real issue and instead believe the wrong people masquerading as right people, and to embrace the masquerade wholeheartedly and think it is real. It shows us exactly why information control and non-diversity of thought turns people into automatons who don't think and who cannot think past their indoctrination. It faithfully depicts what happens to people when their birthright to think for themselves and to have their own opinions, beliefs and ideas is cheated and manipulated away from them.
As unpleasant as these things are to look at, they must be looked at. They must be endured long enough to make clear to us how important it is to know with all certainty what is right and what is wrong and why. Because as long as we fall for the rivers of bullshit and lies that are there to detour us from simple truth, to confuse issues that are not confusing, to excuse behavior that is inexcusable, we will continue to slowly but surely cease to exist. And if there is anything the vast majority of humanity would be quick to agree with is the fact that no one's demands that we cease to exist can ever be legitimate. We are never obligated to cease to exist to make anyone else happy.
That means that the very people who are most infected must also be allowed to exist. But at least once we know who and what they are, and if we care about being free of their infection in ourselves, we can choose any number of legitimate avenues to address this disease and perhaps even some day be able to free ourselves from the rampage of death and destruction it inflicts on our whole world.
We are given to believe that things are much more complicated than this; that nothing can be this straightforward and simple and be real; and that it would be idiotic to suggest that there aren't puffed up self-important people who are better than everyone else based on any number of personal beliefs. But a personal belief is not a genuine truth or a natural law. A genuine truth applies to one and all. It applies whether we know about it or not. It applies whether we deny it or not. It is not a matter of assertion or belief. It just is.
An example of a personal truth is that you are afraid of bees. The reason you are afraid of bees is that you are highly allergic to bee stings. If a bee stings you, you are very likely to die. This is a personal truth that is actually a truth. It is true whether or not anyone else out of the next hundred people is also allergic to bee stings. Even if nobody else is, you still are. That's a personal truth, not a general one, or what I refer to as a genuine truth that applies to all people everywhere.
Another example of a personal truth is that your mama says you're special and you believe her. She would never lie to you and tells you you're special every single day. You might really believe you're special and your mama might really believe it too, with all of her heart. But it doesn't make you special anywhere else beyond you and your mama. It's not a general truth and I'm not even sure it's a personal one, but in any case, it is certainly not supported by natural law. I'm surprised how many people don't realize that. It boggles the mind.
The same applies to the personal belief that you are better than others, or more special than others, or more entitled than others, due to whatever variable you want to assert. Your personal religious beliefs, a belief that money determines the value of a life, a belief that might makes right, that real men must be macho and should beat up women, these are personal beliefs, not general truths. They may be true to you, but that does not equate to being true anywhere else outside of your own head, even if you can get fifty seven other people who say they agree with you and believe the same thing. It still doesn't make it a general across the board reality. It is not a genuine truth. It does not apply to all. You can think it does but it doesn't and it never will. It's not possible. If it was a general truth everyone would know it wouldn't they? But too many people know it's not a truth in their own lives. A personal truth may or may not be true, and it may or may not be a genuine truth. These things are all different and not all supposed truths are true.
The truths that I'm talking about here are genuine truths. They do apply to everyone across the board. They are something we're all born with in exact equal measure. They just are.
Where we run into trouble time and again is in believing our own personal truths, beliefs, opinions, preferences and desires apply to anyone outside ourselves, which they can't, and don't and possibly never will, because they're personal. We may think they can apply to others who aren't interested or who reject them, but they don't, and they won't, and they can't. We have to get over ourselves and quit pretending that what we have in our heads, no matter how much we believe it, is not an automatic general truth that applies across the board just because we think so.
We also have to accept that not every desire comes with a right to have it fulfilled, especially not if fulfilling it includes anyone else but ourselves. There is no right to get our jollies out on somebody else's life. This is so not hard. Like I said, the hardest thing about it is making ourselves be honest about it, and for some people that's just too much to ask.
We can't make anyone else be honest or real about anything, we can only do that for ourselves. But we can tell who cares about being honest, who cares about the other people on the planet with them, and who consistently doesn't. We can choose to refuse to associate with people who want to be infected, we can try to present them with other knowledge and facts and ideas to explain how we see things differently, or we can choose to do something else. That's the free will part of being an independently sentient person; and the self same part that the diseased among us are always so desperate to stamp out. What a coincidence.
I offer this up today to be put on the record because apparently a whole lot of people have not been clued in. Regardless of anyone else's take on the subject, this is my take and I duly register it along with the statement that these are my rules, and if you break them you're wrong. Also for the record is the fact that this is only a part of this picture, there's a lot more attached to it and behind it and supporting it, but it is still a genuine truth that stands on its own. It's still true whether we're able to appreciate it and make headway with it or not. If we don't know this we won't get anywhere as human beings, but I think a lot of us know this, even if we've never thought it through or put it into so many words. It only makes sense. It's fair. It's reasonable, logical and hard to argue with. It's hard to come up with any genuine truths to support the opposite.
Unfortunately, what we know from "1984" as well as our own current reality is that the truth does not keep some people from trying to pretend their own truth is better or matters more. It does not keep anyone from denying it or violating it or trying to erase it. Which is why it is so important to be adamant about what we know is right and wrong and not allow ourselves to be hijacked out of our very purpose and reason for being alive. If we don't value our independent sentience enough to protect it and insist upon other's respecting it, nobody else is going to do that for us. Indeed, if we don't care enough about it, it will be hijacked and we will be expunged from sentient existence and we will become nothing more than animated meat puppets trained to respond on command as extensions to somebody else's will. That would never work for me but then I am aware of the rules, so it's much less likely to happen to me. But those who are not aware of the rules would not even know if and when it's happened to them. And that is something that scares me even more than "1984".