Such combination of words might seem ridiculous and erroneous. How is it possible to have peace through war? How is freedom, slavery? how is ignorance, strength? Those phrases obviously contradict with each other, so what are they suppose to mean?
In 1984, the famous novel written by George Orwell, the English Socialist Party ( INGSOC for short) rules Oceania citizens with this quote. INGSOC brainwashes their citizens making them believe that everything that is written and said by them is true. The people from Oceania believe those contradictory statements which is a clear example of doublethink. Doublethink, according to Orwell, is the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. This idea creates a mind-control over the people, making a totalitarian regime both physically and mentally possible. But what does all of this have to do with the INGSOC slogan?
Understanding doublethink makes the slogan comprehendible. We all know that war and peace, freedom and slavery, ignorance and strength are antonyms. They reflect the opposite. With doublethink, the Party makes the people believe that those contradictions have a clear meaning.
War is Peace basically states that through war, peace could be achieve. It is a paradox since we just couldn’t create peace if there is constant war. The Oceania citizens believe their is peace even though the book mentions that some wars are being held in unknown places. Ironically, some countries in the world have achieved peace through war, making the phrases actually true.
Freedom is Slavery is actually a way of saying that we are all slaves and that creates our freedom. However if we are slaves, there is no freedom, supposedly. In the book Winston states that there are no laws in Oceania, basically they have freedom, but if they write in a diary, for instance, there will be consequences. That sense of freedom is simply false. Nowadays we believe we are free but whenever we buy a car or house, we still need to pay for taxes. We still need to work and be slaves of others just to get our freedom. So at the end Freedom IS Slavery.
Finally, Ignorance is Strength. We know that if we are ignorants we just can’t achieve our flu strength. That makes the statement a clear contradiction. However, that ignorance represents the power of the government. Cuba is a great example. They are ignorant to their outside world, they live their reality and that ignorance reflects the power of their government.
Written by: Luis Polanco