Thinking makes us human and enables us to progress, construct, and become civilized. Without the ability to think, advancement and cultivation of new ideas would have never occurred. The progression of society is only made possible with the development of new, cutting-edge, abstract ideas. However, in 1984 by George Orwell, the Party’s main goal is to destroy words to narrow the range of thought and ultimately abolish the ability to think and halt societal progression.
Similarly, in modern society, advancement in technology along with the invention of the Internet is quickly changing the way humans approach complex obstacles and making it demanding to think. In addition, the ongoing cycle of technological dependency is even being pushed down on the younger generation, restricting them from abstract reasoning. With the formation of social media, studies have shown that students who use social networking sites perform significantly worse in schools than those who do not (Lifespan, 1).
Therefore, as humans begin to depend more and more on technology, the student’s GPA and performance in school start to diminish as well as their ability to think critically. Seen in both modern society and the dystopian world created by Orwell, technology used solely for entertainment and to control and produce fear plays a negative impact our lives and the citizens of Oceania. In recent years, technology usage has dramatically increased from schools to personal entertainment to the point that students actually perform worse in schools due to their devices.
In our society today, many students all around the country has taken advantage of the free education and they care less about their performance in schools. Looking around the classroom, many students are just on their phones while the teacher lectures about a certain subject, choosing their phones and social media over their education. The Internet holds a vast array of information and having too much knowledge on your fingertips can be just as dangerous as knowing too little, if not more.
This information overload can eventually make it harder to analyze and problem solve. Students don’t think, they produce work like machines, and it is happening in lower and lower grades” (Floyd 1). The danger with this concept is that students are allowing their devices to do all their thinking rather than using it for help. Similarly, in Oceania, the Party controls the Proles by keeping them ignorant and happy by their lack of education. As Winston begins thinking about ways to destroy and overthrow the Party, his mind goes straight to the Proles. Oceania consists about 85% Proles and he thinks that the society’s hope for the future lies in them.
However, he has one problem, the Proles do not know any better to revolt. “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious” (Orwell, 74). Because of their lack of education, the Proles do not have any reason to revolt. George Orwell is warning the world that this deficiency of education is very dangerous in our society because the Party is using them exclusively for physical labor and the Proles do not even know they are being taken advantage of due to their ignorance. Winston soon finds out that the Proles will never revolt because they have all the essential needs of life such as, food and shelter.
This concept of ignorance can even be applied to our world today because as humans rely more on technology, eventually this so called artificial intelligence will soon outsmart humanity. In a new study conducted at numerous universities all around the country found that freshmen college students, particularly women, spend nearly half the day on their phones engaged in a form of media, mainly texting and social networking. Researchers have found that media use as a whole, leads to lower GPAs and many other negative academic consequences.
“We found women who spend more time using some forms of media report fewer academic behaviors, such as completing homework and attending class, lower academic confidence and more problems affecting their school work, like lack of sleep and substance use,” (Lifespan 1). The damaging effect of cell phone usage can clearly be seen from these data. Not only is technology affecting student academic confidence and performance, but they are also putting their future at risk. If human society does not stop this trend of technological dependency, the need for human knowledge will slowly decline and ultimately these machines will take over.
Furthermore, just typing it up on Google and clicking the search button can answer almost any question. This idea about searching everything on Google creates a false perception that problem solving revolves around this browser. The Party deploys a few Thought Police on the streets where the Proles live. The Thought Police kills any Prole who has gained too much knowledge and deemed as dangerous. “ But simultaneously, true to the Principles of doublethink, the Party taught that the Proles were natural inferiors who must be kept in subjection, like animals, by the application of a few simple rules.
In reality very little was known about the Proles. It was not necessary to know much. So long as they continued to work and breed, their other activities were without importance… A few agents of the Thought Police moved always among them, spreading false rumours and marking down and eliminating the few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous” (Orwell 71). Orwell uses the Proles to warn humanity against the consequences of being too apathetic to the government taking advantage of the mass population and gaining too much power.
In addition, the Proles symbolize the idea that if the majority of the citizen endures the suffering brought onto them by the government, the only way to reverse is to rise up and resist them. In the near future, technology could simply dominate and overpower humanity similar to the complete supremacy of the Party. Consequently, these advanced devices are slowly turning the younger generations into mindless, ignorant humans just like the Proles. Technology, such as the Internet and the telegrams, are quickly changing the way humans, especially children, think and approach complex problems.
Children are most at risk of negative impacts due to their developing and malleable brains. “Frequent exposure by so-called digital natives to technology is actually wiring the brain in ways very different than in previous generations” (Taylor 1). What is frightening about this situation is that researchers do not really know the about the long-term effects because of the lack of knowledge in this field of study. As a result, people might not be able to think for themselves because of their dependency on modern technology.
Comparatively, the citizens of Oceania could never think for themselves due to their perpetual fear of the brutal Party. Additionally, in the Research Department of the Ministry of Truth, workers are destroying hundreds of words each day to ultimately eradicate the ability to think. “We’re destroying words — scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We’re cutting the language down to the bone… It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words” (Orwell 51). Language is an extremely powerful force and enables us to think, express ideas, and communicate. If someone were to take away our knowledge of words, the society will truly collapse.
Thusly, George Orwell is cautioning the world that if you allow the government to eliminate words, the minds can effortlessly be controlled. As the destruction of words narrows the range of thought, technology is restricting a person’s ability to critically think. “Such dependency on technology has created an oracle of entertainment and knowledge that runs deep into the cultural foundation of the everyday lives of students. It is robbing students of their ability to think abstractly, destroying social interaction, and creating a false sense that all problem solving revolves around Google” (Floyd 1).
Newspeak eliminates individual thought and to think freely. Likewise, technology forces humans to think in a certain way by restricting abstract thinking. Furthermore, social media conforms people to fit into the societal standards. Technological devices are also causing social skills to decrease and infrequent interactions of among peers because they rather conceal their faces in the screens instead of human contact. Comparably, Winston does not bother to make any friends because he lives in a society where nobody can be trusted. You did not have friends nowadays” (Orwell 48).
If society as a whole does not stop this tendency to use phones over human contact, the world will definitely shift towards Oceanian lifestyle. In schools today, interaction between peers and presentation in front of the class is slowly beginning to disappear. “Getting students to stand up in front of their peers and share an opinion is seen as cruel and unusual punishment. Children are diagnosed with anxiety disorders, and they get special labels that excuse them from stressful thought-building exercises.
Furthermore, the “stress” of interaction, discussion and debate are being allowed to disappear” (Floyd 1). Schools should focus more on social interaction rather than allowing technology to replace discussion. Furthermore, society is allowing these machines to interfere with children from the earliest age, when personalities are just being formed through human interaction. Advancements in technology seem to be helping the world, however these devices causing a negative impact in school performance and humans’ ability to think.
Not only does it affect GPA, but also their academic confidence. Society is allowing technology to take over the schools from the earliest age. Additionally, social skills and human interaction is drastically declining due to the extensive usage of phones. If society does not stop this trend of technological dependency, these devices will soon take advantage of humans similar to how the Party controls the Proles. In the end of the day, humans should more rely on other humans rather than the artificial intelligence.