Technology and Individualism

Konopka, Jakub 2013. Technology and Individualism in The City and The Stars by A. C. Clarke. Bachelor thesis. Supervised by Ladislav Vít. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy. University of Pardubice.

The more technology advances, the more it: "...threatens to slip from human control" (1977, p. 5). He argues that the impact technology has on humanity is enormous; hence the humanity is in danger of becoming almost lost. (Konopka 2013: 8)
Curiously, this is exactly the narrative that goes along with discourse on advances in surveillance technology. Namely, that in Orwell's time it was natural to presume that there are people on the other end of the telescreen, who plug into your telescreen at will. Today, we're heading down the road of having automated systems or ultimately even artificial intelligences keeping track of our every move, and not only through webcams, but due to everything we do already being done with computers and handheld devices. In some video about Orwellophobia on youtube it was even speculated that we may one day change roles with the robots we currently build in computer labs and humans will exist only in a zoo or a special habitat while A.I.'s run the show. Grade A fearmongering, sure, but probably not an impossible premise.
Truth, for Heidegger, is what he calls 'revealing'. It means that truth is not composed only from the knowledge; but it embraces all the ways in which a person can relate to things of the world (1977, p. 11). Heidegger explains that humans are not genuine knowers; people perceive the world also through emotions, desires, goals and so on. In other words, in order to be rich in spirit, a person needs to experience a great variety of truths. Otherwise, one risks a danger of potential dehumanization. (Konopka 2013: 8)
This sounds like pluralism. I don't really deal with "truth", but the idea seems valid enough: that people relate to the world in manifold and multiplex ways, not only through the referential function (whether a proposition is true or false), but also through the emotive function (people have feelings about some aspect or another of the world, and express their emotions accordingly), the conative function (have desires, goals, motives, purposes, wants, needs, aims, and other forms of orientation pressing upon the world). Even the other three functions are applicable in this connection: people relate to the world metalinguistically, pondering the name or label of one aspect or another; phatically by "connecting" with the world at large, achieving contact and communion with it (e.g. looking for your place under the sun, wanting to be part of the world community, etc.), and of course poetically/aesthetically by, well, seeing the beauty in what exists. The scheme of language functions can indeed be metaphorically applied on most anything.
Another comment on modern technology Heidegger has is that it looks at everything according to its possible use. He argues that for modern technology nothing is simply 'good' on its own, but 'good for' something. He calls this concept 'standing-reserve'. According to Heidegger, technology transforms humanity into standing-reserve. He demonstrates his thoughts on an example of the profession of a forester. The forester, who previously worked for himself, begins to be commanded by the lumber industry, which in turn is at the mercy of the print industry. The print industry or any other manufacturer of goods, then, transforms the reading public or any other consumers into a source of its own profits (1977, p. 18). (Konopka 2013: 9)
Isn't this just utilitarianism? Applied on modern interconnected society, but utilitarianism nevertheless. It makes sense from a structural point of view, but empirical reality looks different, for there are also unemployed people and people without any useful skills who stand in reserve for nothing but consuming and surviving, meagerly. Same goes for the opposite pole of extremely rich well-to-do people who contribute little to the world. The same applies to technology. Not all of it is useful for something. E.g. useless inventions and all sorts of unnecessary gadgets. (Just think of all the smartphone apps that aren't good for anything but tricking people into paying for them.) // But I guess I'm taking this too literally and in an absolutist manner. Below I find a similar sentiment in one of my favourite thinkers (Ruesch).
Therefore, the technology turns mankind into resources that need to be exploited and exhausted. (Konopka 2013: 9)
Is this a Foucaultian reversal? I would think that technology is the resource that humans exploit and exhaust, not vice versa. Technology does not have agency yet, does it?
At the end of the first edition of Utopia, there was a poem about the island of Utopia. This poem helped to clear the meaning of 'utopia' greatly by distinguishing its three main features:
(1) it is isolated, set apart form the known world; (2) it rivals Plato's city, and believes itself to be superior to it, since that which in Plato's city is only sketched, in Utopia is presented as having been achieved; (3) its inhabitants and its laws are so wonderful that it should be called Eutopia (the good place) instead of Utopia (VIERIA, 2010, pp. 5)
Even though the term was established in the sixteenth century, it does not mean that the notion of an ideal society had not appeared until then. (Konopka 2013: 10)
I was just thinking that More's Utopia is certainly not the first utopia. Campanella's The City of the Sun comes to mind as an example that fulfills all of these conditions (especially the third), but now that I look it up I find that it was published in 1602, not around the 14th century as I had falsely remembered.
An early example that influenced many utopian writers to come is Plato's book The Republic. The dialogue depicts an austere society where the governing class called 'guardians' devotes itself to serving the interests of the whole community. Plato argues that private ownership of goods would corrupt their owners by encouraging selfishness. (Konopka 2013: 10)
Huh. Although there (probably) isn't genetic relation between Plato's Republic and Orwell's Oceania, it is an interesting congeniality that the guardians can be compared to the thought-police and discouraging selfishness to the newspeak crime of ownlife.
Moreover, Jacob Talmon, Herbert Spencer and others claim that the utopian impulse itself is inherently dystopian since utopianism searches for perfectibility, and thus, it is incapable of accepting anything below it standard. Such ideology might easily result in punitive methods of controlling behaviour which inevitably leads to some form of a police state. (Konopka 2013: 11)
This most likely concerns the epigraph of Huxley's book, but I'm pleasantly surprised that Spencer dealt with this topic. I recently had my first acqaintance with Spencer's writings and found him to be a wonderful read in itself. Although the common sentiment is that nobody read Spencer already by the 1920s, I wonder if I should take up reading him more extensively. The phrase "punitive methods of controlling behaviour" is bold because this is exactly what I'm writing my thesis about. The sentiment is actually similar: in a totalitarian context these punitive methods are irrational and unjustifiable while modern forms of technological surveillance and terrorist hunting is widely framed as rational and justified. (Although this concerns mostly U.S. foreign politics of the 00s.)
In the middle of the century Karl Marx introduced the concept of alienation, an assumption that the division between the social classes would inevitably become wider and the conditions of the rich would side with utopia while the poor would be pushed towards dystopia and mechanization. (Konopka 2013: 12)
In Oceania, governed by oligarchical collectivism, this is very much the case: only the 15% of the population, the Party, is considered civilization while the Proles are treated like animals, all while steadily spewing propaganda about improving their well-being. But then again Orwell was essentially writing a critique of (Stalinist) communism.
Some futuristic fantasies of the late nineteenth century such as Richard Jefferies's After London; or, Wild England, or W.H. Hudson's A Crystal Age accepted the notion that the most fundamental social evil - "the essential seed of dystopia" as Stableford calls it - was the separation of human beings from a harmonious relationship with the natural environment and its inherent rhythms. (Konopka 2013: 13)
So a critique of urbanization? Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic comes to mind. In any case it does seem to be the case that a lot of dystopias (Zamyatin's We; Huxley's BNW, Bradbury's Fahrenheit as well as Orwell's 1984) are set in an isolated city (Glass City, London, an unspecified city, and London again, respectively). Still one of the most extreme examples of this direction is the Estonian dystopia Kurbmäng Paabelis, which as a "surrealist baroque novel" can legitimately invent a mythical Tower-world which is a City-cosmos in itself, embedding what little nature there is (e.g. the desert level) as decorative architecture. In ot her words, some dystopian works take this idea to its logical conclusion by excluding anything but the city - everything is city.
Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four was written after the Second World War. His world-state was darker and used punishment and fear instead of the manipulation of a pleasure (CLAYES 2010, p. 119). (Konopka 2013: 14)
Yup. That is pretty much it. Huxley even wrote to Orwell, saying that his own horrible vision of the future is better, since the policy of boot-in-the-face cannot last for ever, and that more likely the dys/u-topian conditions will be achieved by people willingly taking up barbiturates and self-hypnosis (e.g. soma and hypnopaedia). He was not far off, as modern trends towards prescription medicines and ideological echochambers (e.g. Ritalin and Bullshit Mountain) demonstrate. Still, thinking now about Jon Stewart's "Chaos on Bullshit Mountain" and how Fox News operates by systematically inciting anger about made-up bullshit, it does present a striking similarity to the Two Minutes Hate, but in the form of a 24h news cycle.
The dystopian genre has not spread only in literature, but hand in hand with the rise of science fiction genre it also has appeared in the emerging cinematography. (Konopka 2013: 14)
This. It is scary how well not only the general idea but some very unnoticeable details of Orwell's 1984 are captured in the movie Snowpiercer. I've even tried watching everything on 4chan /tv/'s Dystopian Film Chart a few years ago but only made it halfway through before giving up because some of the movies on that chart are culturally iconic but by modern standards just horribly naive and ill-conceived - e.g Death Race (1975) and Judge Dredd (1995).
Thomas Whissen in his book Classic Cult Fiction: A Companion to Popular Cult Literature explains that this delusion is achieved by dehumanization, uniformity, fear or lack of the knowledge about the outside world or simply by inability to change. (Konopka 2013: 15)
In Orwell's world all these factors are present, but "lack of knowledge about the outside world" can very well be supplemented by a lack of knowledge about the inside world. In fact, this aspect is present in the three I'm most familiar with (Orwell, Huxley, Bradbury). History is rewritten or destroyed, the inner workings of the government is unknown, and the social order seems to be propped up by a thin veneer of lies and hidden truths. This is most characteristic of Winston's attempt to find out what the world was like before the revolution. He reads a children's history book and interviews an old Prole, but neither source is reliable. So it is with the Brave New World, where everything before the World Order is viewed as savage, much like in Oceania the revolution was not preceded by the industrian age and renaissance, but directly the middle ages. This is of course a lie, but such is the history in that world. To quote Orwell: "How could you tell how much of it was lies? It might be true that the average human being was better off now than he had been before the Revolution. [...] Day and night the telescreens bruised your ears with statistics proving that people today had more food, more clothes, better houses, better recreations - that they lived longer, worked shorter hours, were bigger, healthier, stronger, happier, more intelligent, better educated, than the people of fifty years ago.Not a word of it could ever be proved or disproved." (Ch. 7)
In most of the dystopias there is also a group of people who are not under the complete control of the state. It is this society that the main hero of the novel puts his or her hope in. (Konopka 2013: 15)
This would be the famed Brotherhood, a resistance movement of thoughtcriminals. Winston makes the fatal mistake of misinterpreting O'Brien's "flash of intelligence" with him during the Two Minutes Hate as a sign that he is part of the Brotherhood, and O'Brien is more than welcome to espouse that belief by giving him Goldstein's book, only to push him over the edge, to get a confession out of him in the guise of a pledge of allegience to the Brotherhood. This is what makes 1984, as some say, bathetic - that is, anticatharctic. You hope, along with Winston, that the Brotherhood is real and there will be a revolution, only to be bitterly disappointed when Winston is duped and tortured. This is something that I like much more in Olev Remsu's Kurbmäng Paabelis - he plays with the same theme, but there the resistance is real and although the hero dies anticlimactically with grenades in his pockets, out of exhaustion, it is the case that the main character's brother, who is a member of the equivalent of the thought police, e.g. someone like O'Brien, turns out surprisingly to also be part of the resistance movement. Since it is a surreal novel there is also the case of "doubles" - the main character is always mentally contending with his rival who in the end turns out to be himself, after the revolution and a stay in the mental hospital. Although complex and convoluted, it makes for a much more interesting read due to the fact that Remsu is a scholar of dictatorship and resistance, sprinkling italian terrorist catchphrases here and there. (I am saddened that this great work is not and probably will not be translated to English, since it is not a popular book even in Estonia and it would be expensive and difficult to translate a 500 page brick, made only more difficult by Remsu's frequent neologisms and archaisms, not to mention loanwords from various languages. Why must some good literature also be so darn difficult?)
The main protagonist is usually different from the rest of the population. Unlike others, he or she understands that something is wrong with the society and questions the existing social and political rules. He or she also tries to change the system, but fails. (Konopka 2013: 15)
To quote the part that I left out (in [...]) in my previous quote from Orwell: "The only evidence to the contrary was the mute protest in your own bones, the instinctive feeling that the conditions you lived in were intolerable and that at some other time they must have been different." (ibid, Ch. 7)
The loss of emotional response can be seen in already mentioned Fahrenheit 451, for example. After Mildred has passed out, the maintenance people came with the stomach pump and the blood transfusion machines. They were not even doctors and they showed no emotions while saving the person from a certain death. (Konopka 2013: 17)
I had a slightly different interpretation. The relevant passage reads: "And he thought of her lying on the bed with the two technicians standing straight over her, not bent with concern, but only standing straight, arms folded. And he remembered thinking that if she did, he was certain he wouldn't cry." (Bradbury 1953: 40) I don't think it's about emotions. The "impersonal operators" standing over his unconscious wife are just as emotionless as Montag himself, whose relation with Mildred is mere facade. Rather, I think what hit him hard was finding out that these technicians performs this same casual life-saving operation nine or ten times a night. I think it's the extent of the problem, not the casualness of the solution, that gives Montag a reality-check. But that's just my impression and the difference is not really all that important.
Human connections have also been affected by growing consumerism. Relationships between people are perceived as an ordinary matter that needs to be consumed, not taken care of. There is no difference between relationships and consumer goods anymore. The role of the relationship is to be satisfied with the person one chooses. (Konopka 2013: 17)
This is certainly not the case with 1984, where there are only faint traces of consumerism in the trash produced for the Proles to keep them satiated (e.g. machine-created popular music, kaleidoscope-written poetry, and Party-produced pornography). Consumer goods and human relationships intersect in another way: deficit products (e.g. shoelaces, razor blades) must be acquired from the "free market" (which is forbidden), and the ersatz chocolate, sugar, and coffee can in very rare cases be briefly punctuated by the real things through connections with the inner party (or, you know, steal from them). The human relationships in 1984 are strained in a wholly different manner: anyone can be a spy and/or just report your unorthodox behaviour and get you unperson'ed. That is why there are so many instances of checking, controlling, concealing, suppressing, etc. your facial expressions and other physical symptoms of having an inner life of your own. There is no place for feelings, desires and intelligence in a "horrible brainless empire", as Orwell elsewhere described the goals of Hitler, but which very well suit Oceania.
Similarly to Heidegger, Neil Postman argues that the western cultures have become obsessed with the scientific facts; he alerts that if the development does not change its course, many societies will become what he calls a 'technopoly'. Technopoly is a society that is obsessed with the benefits of technology to the point where everything needs to be measured and assessed on the basis of how efficient or logical it is. (Konopka 2013: 18)
I know of a slight variation on this theme in the work of the Swiss-American social psychiatrist and cyberneticist Jurgen Ruesch: "The new world is structured around systems made up of man, machine, and the environment surrounding them (Boguslaw 1965). Technology no longer serves people exclusively; it is also subservient to robot and gadget. Persons no longer own land; they have lease and share in rotation whatever facilities they need, and special arrangements have become collective and discontinuous. Man has ceased to be king pin in the modern order. The individual has become anonymous, and history is being written in terms of social movements or technological achievements." (Ruesch, "Psychotherapy in the Computer Age", 1972[1968b]: 763-764) In other words, is steadily indeed becoming like one of the first quotes above about the role reversal between humans and technology: increasingly it is the case that machine does not serve man, but that man serves the machine. Norbert Wiener's groundbreaking book on cybernetics, The Human Use of Human Beings could soon probably be supplemented by "The Machine Use of Human Beings". Hashtag fearmongering.
Postman explains that technopoly is not only a state of culture. It is also a state of mind. (Konopka 2013: 18)
Cue stereotypical stoned hippie voice: Whoa, man, far out. Technology, like, isn't just outside in machines and shit. It's, like, inside of you, too, where you think and stuff. That's deep, man. (Also this.)
To specify his definition, Postman notes that technopolies often redefine what its inhabitants think of religion, of art, of family, of politics, of history, of truth, of privacy or of intelligence (1993, p. 48). This shift in meanings takes place because such person is, as Heidegger explains, enframing the world only by a logical discourse of science and technology. A person who feels comfortable in technopoly is a person that is convinced that technical progress is humanity's prime achievement and the instrument by which one's most profound dilemmas may be solved. (Konopka 2013: 18)
Oh dang, I might be a technopolist. I do feel that computers and internet makes a large portion of traditional culture (including theatre, museums, and other cultural institutions) pointless, can overthrow religion (e.g. growing atheism among mormorns who now have access to unbiased facts about their church's establisher), and so on.
The difference between the two cultures is that Diaspar is far more developed. In fact, Diaspar has reached its final step of development, there is nothing more to invent. Because of that, Diaspar's aim is just consumption and 'being'. (Konopka 2013: 19)
This is reminscent of Cracked.com's interpretation of Star Trek: their technological society has invented everything there is to invent, all social problems have been eradicated and humans are all homogeneous, reliving old historical periods as a form of entertainment and sending discovery crews out into the space to find something new to entertain them.
In addition, each piece of art is evaluated by the society and the fate of the artistic work depends entirely on how many votes it receives. If the masterpiece gets enough votes, it is stored in the memory banks of the city, otherwise the art is dissolved. (Konopka 2013: 20)
This feels scarily accurate in other tendencies in modern internet as well. Just think of reddit! Everything passes through the filter of upvotes and downvotes - news, pictures, videos, ideas, comments, questions, everything. We can only take solace in that what is downvoted to obscurity is not "dissolved" or deleted, but remains somewhere in the archive, and if it has any merit it can always be dug up. It's kind of like the law of poetic conservation: manuscripts don't burn.
The central computer represents the final and greatest technological invention and the end of evolution since it is perfect: "The Council ruled Diaspar, but the Council itself could be overridden by a superior power - the all-but-infinite intellect of the Central Computer" (2001, p. 66). The complete trust in technology is also proven in times of danger. (Konopka 2013: 21)
I guess Diaspar must have been the influence for a Stargate SG-1 episode in which the team discovers a polluted planet with a safe environment dome and a utopian central-computer-controlled society in it. It turns out, of course, that the energy resources are decreasing and the central computer has steadily been sacrificing people and minimizing the dome, but all knowledge of unperson'ed people is erased from people's minds through their mind-links (which are like bluetooths with neural interface and internet). When the team discovers that the central computer is doing this, they try to convince the people to take off their mind-links, but by that time they are convinced by the central computer that taking off their mind-links would kill them. (cf. S07E05 - "Revisions")
The consumerist ideals can be captured by hypnopaedic proverbs: "'But old clothes are beastly,' [...] 'We always throw away old clothes. Ending is better than mending'" (2007, p. 42). (Konopka 2013: 22)
To this one can contrast the anti-consumerist, I mean really anti-consumerist, ethos of P.O.S. in his track "Music for Shoplifting": "So what you think? New shit, or fix what I have?" When I was a teenager I chose to mend my favorite wool-gray hoodie, colour it with my own drawings and wrote this line on it. // On second thought I would put emphasis on the word "beastly". According to a BBC documentary on Orwell, when he wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four, it was exactly this word that he kept in mind. Curiously, the word itself appears only two times in the whole novel and both in relation with Winston's traumatic childhood: "'A rat. I saw him stick his beastly nose out of his wainscoting." recounts Julia (Ch. 12), and later "'I expect you were a beastly little swine in those days,' she said indistinctly. 'All children are swine.'" (Ch. 15) A relation with Animal Farm is possible, but the implications about Winston himself being a rat are astoundingly complex: he describes all other characters as some sort of "creature" or another, so it would not be unimaginable that between the lines Winston himself is just as animalistic; this is reinforced when he gives the general impression of people working in the Ministries as "little dumpy men, growing stout very early, with short legs, swift scuttling movements, and fat iscrutable faces with very small eyes" (Ch. 5); further, the colloquial meaning of "rat" is snitch, which he certainly is in the end when he betrays Julia; more illustrations could probably be found - the whole listless life Winston leads is very rat-like.
No emotional attachments to the objects are possible because everything is a product of a mass production and therefore any object loses its uniqueness. When item's purpose is fulfilled or the item is damaged, it is destroyed or replaced by another one, completely identical to the previous one. Consequently the technology offers only the material satisfaction, not the emotional tone. (Konopka 2013: 23)
In other words, objects do not have a stamp of personality on them. From the anthropological theory of how people make functional objects like tools "their own" this is indeed impoverishment. In Orwell's case there is one instance when Winston buys a round piece of glass with a coral in it. The old thing is beautiful, but also incriminating. If he was found having it, he'd be sure to be sent to forced labour camp.
In both technopolies, people are rather being entertained than being active participants. Such state of mind does not require any cognitive effort; therefore people are passive in thinking or their cognitive processes are limited to prescribed ways. (Konopka 2013: 23)
I've heard a similar viewpoint about current technology, e.g. laptops versus tablets. One enables creation - you can write with a laptop; while the other enables only reception (and very limited input) - tablets are convenient for watching videos and scrolling through 9gag, but inconvenient for reading long pieces of texts and even more so for actively participating in the reception of the text as I am currently doing by responding, writing my own comments. It's one thing to read a text, but a wholly another to react to it, to have a conversation or dialogue with it.
When John, the Savage confronts the world controller Mustapha Mond, he complains about the dullness of such entertainment: "'Othello's good, Othello's better than those feelies'" (2007, p. 194). The world controller acknowledges John's statement but explains that any high art can threat the stability of the World State and therefore it is forbidden. (Konopka 2013: 23)
To this one may respond that if art is capable of threaten the stability of social order, then that is one feeble social order indeed.
Second of all, the stability represents unchanging safety and only what is unchanging can outlast forever. (Konopka 2013: 23)
Poppycock. Cultural history demonstrates the exact opposite, that what lasts the longest is in fact the stuff that changes with time, adapts to new conditions, new ideas, new points of view. Christianity, for example, could never fit in today's society in its "catacomb" (1st - 2nd century) or even "desert fathers" (4th - 5th century) forms, but in its modern forms it does just fine. It is even more likely, as demonstrated by the Sanskrit grammar, than stuff that gets too rigid, achieves perfection and becomen unchanging, is sure to be abandoned. // Change is the only constant.
Orgy-porgy is promoted from the childhood so that it is considered as a common aspect of one's life. The name of the activity rhymes so that it supports the idea of sex being an innocent game. (Konopka 2013: 25)
Oh how I dislike that paronomastic phrase. It reminds me of A Clockwork Orange style unnecessary rhymes in 4chan /r9k/ autism greetexts. E.g. >cashed my good boy pointy-wointies with my mummy-wummy to get some tendy-wendys - I think they use this technique sometimes to intentionally emphasize the infantile character of the robot autismo. Some goes for "Orgy-porgy" - it's not so much innocent as it is infantilized. In BNW this makes sense, as children play "erotic games" as a normal course of action.
Unlike in Diaspar, in the World State sex is completely a matter of consumerism. It is reflected in the use of the term 'pneumatic', when a female person is aesthetically appealing to a male [...] (Konopka 2013: 26)
I think this is a slight misinterpretation. It is not aesthetic appeal or attractiveness that is at issue, since the higher casts are attractive by default. "Pneumatic" is by dictionary definition related to being moved or worked by air pressure, as pneuma is literally "wind" in Greek. I think it more likely that what is meant by "pneumatic" is more like physical fitness, e.g. being good at sex. If you're socially obligated to have a lot of sex with a lot fo different people, it makes little difference how they look like, what matters is how well they perform. The immediately following conclusion that Huxley's use of "pneumatic" when describing an arm chair to emphasize humans being products is perfectly superfluous. The word itself is already a mechanical metaphor, e.g. not humans as products but humans as machines. But, again, it makes a very insignificant difference how one interprets it.
When she realizes that John loves her, she quickly takes her clothes off and is prepared for him to take her. All her clothes are rapidly off thanks to zippers. A zipper represents how easily one can take off his clothes, in other words, how easily one can have an intercourse with another person. (Konopka 2013: 36)
"She [Julia] stood looking at him [Winston] for an instant, then felt at the zipper of her overalls. And, yes! it was almost as in his dream. Almost as swiftly as he had imagined it, she had torn her clothes off, and when she flung them aside it was with that same magnificent gesture by which a whole civilization seemed to be annihilated." (1984, Ch. 10)
Secondly, Huxley uses the behaviour of the head nurse to represent the irony of the contradiction between the old and the new because a nurse as a profession is in the real world generally looked atthe one that is supposed to help people and care, but the head nurse in the book expresses no sympathy with John or his mother. (Konopka 2013: 37)
Now that I think about it there is an alternative interpretation possible, regarding the congeniality between Huxley and Winston with regard to sexual indiscriminacy. Namely, both Lenina and Julia represent the new order - Lenina is conditioned by hypnopaedia and Julia has adapted to Ingsoc principles while maintaining her corrupt sexuality (she is a sexcruminal, a person who enjoys sex), while both John and Winston represent the unique individual disillusioned with the official orthodox dogma. When the women unzip and give themselves up for sexual intercourse, they are in a sense destroying civilization, but in the specific sense which comes with introducing an extraneous connection to the argumentation. Namely, both Lenina and Julia represent the Western, specifically American, sexual mores. This is perhaps more apparent in Huxely than in Orwell, where it is almost between the lines that England is now "Airstrip One" and its own currency and traditions have been replaced by the dollar and the traditions of "the other end of Oceania" (America). This connection with sexuality makes sense only insofar as one considers that both Huxley and Winston were Victorian Englishmen, and with Huxley, who travelled around America extensively, this is especially probable that he experienced first-hand the looser sexual mores of Americans, who at that time (during the 1930s) already had, for example, the practice of "petting", which was introduced to England and the rest of Western Europe when American soldiers were stationed there. That is, the sexual culture of New World is contrasted to the one of the Old World. But I doubt if anyone has studied this, as it would necessitate looking at the authors' biographes and making unsound, or at least unverifiable, conjectures.

Personological Classification

Piatigorsky, Alexandr M. and Boris A. Uspensky 1975. Personological Classification as a Semiotic Problem. Semiotica 15(2): 99-120.

0.1. Personology is a usual preoccupation of the ordinary person. For example, we say 'This person is lucky' or 'This person is decent', or even 'This person could be decent', and by this we are actually implying some sort of intuitive, unexpressed personology. (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 99)
In this sense when Winston reads other's faces it is not so much about the politics of physiognomy as it is about the personology of survival in a totalitarian environment. E.g. "this person is a thoughtcriminal", "this person is destined to disappear", etc.
There is no sharp distinction between the practical personology which everyone practices and the personology which is practiced by a linguist, a psychologist, or a semiotician. There exists a long line of gradation, and the purpose of research in that direction can be formulated primarily as a problem of explicit, conscious description of the distribution of people into groups or according to features. (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 99)
Surely the "Swiftian" scientists of thought police, who are a mix of psychologists and inquisitors, practice a kind of personology for sifting out thoughtcriminals.
One can say, furthermore, that all personological theories, the naive one as well as those pretending to a scientific description, are based on the analysis of a text in a general sense of the word (the text of behavior). Here one has in mind a real, existing text (closed text) as well as a text being potentially generated (open text). In other words, the behavior of a person is considered as a definite sequence of signs (belonging to different levels) and in one way or another expressing his personological characteristics. (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 99-100)
Curiously, these are the same categories that I see in "body language" discourse: the "naive" variety is that of writers and other artisans who must have something resembling a theory to operate with signs, and the pseudo-scientific schemes of popular books on body language. The two are not necessarily exclusive, but they can be distinguished by the degree of naivete, so to say, or historical origin. When it comes to the textual status of behaviour, I wonder if the opposition between text-qua-sequence and text-qua-sign is a possibility here.
0.2. Speaking of the text of behavior, it is important to note at this time that we have no possibility for any kind of 'natural' division of the behavior of a given individual into 'pieces', i.e., we are not given the segmentation of behavior (and the segmentation of situation as well), and there are no justifiable criteria for such a segmentation. Actually, we call 'behavior' any segment of behavior (no matter how large or small it is) and we call 'situation' any segment of a situation. (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 100)
This is almost like what I meant - that the whole sequence of behaviours in a given situation can be considered as a singular sign. But I would argue against the dismissal of segmentation. Perhaps there is no "natural" division into "pieces", but there certainly is - through human observation, interpretation and description - a segmentation/transformation of continuous behaviour into discrete linguistic units. Saying "she smiled" in this sense crops the relevant piece of behaviour from the continuous multimodal sequence of actual behaviour and invests this single item with significance. When reading a linguistic description of bodily behaviour in a novel, for example, the reader is confronted with exactly these kinds of segmented pieces, not a total description or the continuous behaviour itself.
Precisely because we do not have here a segmented text, the problem of the personologist is to determine a certain mechanism of behavior which conditions (in one way or another) the behavior of the individual in general. (If the text of behavior were segmented, we could study the behavior of the individual at a certain given moment or in a given situation, and then determine the general type of the behavior of the individual, deducing it from the particular behaviors). (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 100)
When dealing with a verbal text, though, the relevant conditions and segments are already there, and the analyst must merely have the theoretical tools to work out the details of that mechanism. Be it "the politics of physiognomy" or "micropolitical structure", in any case it is possible to generalize. (Although I don't probably mean the same thing as Piatygorsky with the word "mechanism".)
0.3. Thus, it is possible to single out two problems of the personological theory: the problem of establishing certain types, connected with the discovery and examination of various mechanisms of behavior which were mentioned above, and the problem of finding out, or recognizing personological types by means of the text, i.e., the correlation of a certain text of behavior with a certain independently determined personological type. (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 100)
In case of 1984, it may be possible to establish these personological types on the basis of the newspeak terms we are familiarized with: thoughtcriminal, facecriminal, sexcriminal, duckspeaker, goodthinker, oldthinker, etc.
Let us say that one person evaluates in some way the actions of another (for example, he says that the other is 'intelligent').
In general, we must, it appears, assume that when one person unifies the behavior of another (typologically), he is using metalanguage established by a third person (as some kind of external force).
In other words, metalanguage is present as the point of view of an ideal 'third' person, who alone fixes the typological, personological criteria, whereas the 'second', i.e., the immediate observer, simply uses them as applicable to the observed ('first') person.
This is why in discussing the question of personological classification and the qualification of objects in relation to the selected classification it is very important to point out the locus, from which point the relation to a particular type is being made. (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 101)
Even Piatigorsky falls victim to the metaphorization of the concept of metalanguage. Metalanguage is not simply language about something - that is object-language; metalanguage is language about language. Language about persons could very well be called person-language, or, in a more technical bent, we could talk about personological descriptors. In case of 1984, if we consider some newspeak terms as personological descriptors, then the "third person" is replaced by the newspeak dictionary, which is composed by a body of bureaucratic linguists. In any case, the point about locus stands - who uses the descriptors, from whose point of view a behaviour is described, etc. are relevant questions.
0.4.2. Secondly, the point of view of the third person can be constant or variable. In naive phraseology it is possible to determine an 'unscientific' (relatively speaking) approach - i.e., an approach which is found in everyday personological practice - as an approach which uses the variable point of view. (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 101)
For my purposes, it could be stated that Big Brother (metonymically standing for thought-police or the Party in general) has an (omnisemiotic) constant point of view, while Winston as a "surrogate narrator" has a variable point of view, his own limited semiosic capacity.
The 'scientific' approach is usually understood as an approach that uses the constant point of view (in this the traditional scientific approach is identical to the religious). (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 101)
E.g. the "Swiftian scientists" or the divination of Big Brother (1984 manifests worship of a leader who is created with divine attributes). The term "omnisemiotic" seems more appropriate here than anywhere else.
0.4.3. Within the structure of these three points of view, if one analyzes them as three types of behavior, one finds that Maximum disorder is evidenced in the behavior of the observed; maximal order in the behavior of the observer, inasmuch as he is limited by the metalanguage (or theory) which is assigned to him; and finally, absolute order (autonomy) is evidenced by the third-person observer, since, in this analysis, his perspective cannot, by its very nature, be altered. (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 102)
Thus, there is "maximal disorder" in the characters that Winston himself observes; his own behavior has "maximal order" - mostly because his point of view is available to us as readers; and there is "absolute order" in Big Brother - his perspective cannot be altered because in the strict sense he does not exist (he is absolute).
1. As a basis for our initial personological classification we have taken the feature of known behavior as its semioticity.
Speaking of the semioticity of behavior, we may consider, on the one hand, the generation of a certain text of behavior, which appears as a sign in relation to a certain other text, or, on the other hand, the comprehension of certain phenomena of reality (in general, of phenomena of the surrounding world) as signs - specifically, as belonging to a certain conventional sign system or relating to some other reality, which conditions the meaning of the given phenomena. In these cases, accordingly, it is possible to speak of the generative and the analytic models of semiotic behavior. In both instances the semioticity of behavior may be substantially different in different individuals. (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 102)
E.g. generating signs and interpreting signs. The signs I'm working here are verbal signs, e.g. certain phenomena of reality (bodily behaviour) as they belong to the conventional sign system of language (or literary tradition, or universe of discourse). I must consider whether the Santaella-Braga-inspired threefold distinction between description, narration and thesis are generative in the First and Second, and analytic in the Third.
These two aspects may be interrelated inasmuch as the perception and evaluation by the individual of his own behavior (connected, naturally, to a greater or lesser degree, to the analysis and evaluation of the external world) may determine and shape his behavior. Let us note, however, that the connection between self-evaluation and behavior can be most varied among different individuals. (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 102)
Oh snap. Autocommunication. Self-judgement. Self-censure. All that jazz.
2. Concerning research dealing with the outcome of semiotic behavior, it is possible to establish the most general personological classification, depending upon whether or not the individual shows a tendency in his behavior towards the singling out of actions, that become signs for other acts of behavior which are included in the given situation or connected with the given inner state. (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 103)
We of course are not forced to deal with "the most general personological classification" and may very well choose the newspeak terms as our "metalanguage", or even more looser terms that Orwell uses in describing various characters. Since there is more rigor in the newspeak terms, I would go with these. E.g. Winston is a thoughtcriminal, Mrs Parsons is a facecriminal, Julia is a sexcriminal, O'Brien is goodthinkful, the shopkeeper is oldthinkful, and the man in the cafeteria is a duckspeaker.
Type 1: 'semiotic
This type consists of two subtypes: I A and I B.
Subtype I A: 'semioticizing'. People who show the above-mentioned tendency for singling out sign elements in behavior shall be put into that subtype of people who semioticize behavior. This subtype of behavior can, furthermore, be represented as consisting of two subtypes: I Aa and I Ab.
I Aa is 'interiorized'. This subtype is characterized by a tendency for definite complication of behavior, as is apparent in the fact that the non-sign elements become sign elements and thereby stimulate and enrichh the sphere of self-communication and self-signalization.
Psychologically, the 'interiorized' type of behavior is characterized, moreover, by the fact that it includes people who have a definite tendency to create 'integral' situations, i.e., to reproduce (at times deliberately, artificially) situations which seem to be easier to designate, which are unified more naturally, which fit under the selected sign. Apparently, the quality of such signs of behavior is close to what in contemporary psychology is called 'ego identity'.
I Ab is 'ekteriorized'. This subtype includes people whose tendency toward semiotization results in their striving towards acts of behavior which are signs of other acts or situations, these acts being conventional in relation to such signs, and usually belong to collective communication. In the 'exteriorized' type of behavior the identification of 'I' is usually worked out through the identification of that 'I' by other people (i.e., it is important here that others notice it). In other words, the internal self-assertion in this subtype is achieved through the assertion of the give npersonality of others. (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 103)
Oh lord. Winston is definitely Type 1 and moreover 1A, as he interiorizes how to behave (he strives to understand correct behaviour), while Julia is 1B, as she has no problem with appearing goodthinkful (it's a game for her). By and large, it could be stated that for Winston it is work, for Julia it is a game.
Subtype I B: 'desemioticizing'. Representatives of this subtype definitely tend towards the curtailing of cats of behavior which can be determined by other acts. Their behavior is de-structuralized in a certain sense. Such a person strives 'to live as is', and, despite the fact that it is obvious that his attitude towards life and himself may in no way differ from the attitude of the semioticizing subtype, his behavior is regulated by the need of simplification in the direction of the elimination of determinability.
It is possible that, for such a person, it is hard to live in a sign world, or, living in a sign world, it is hard for him to develop in his chosen direction. It is important to note that in any given situation the behavior of such a person is already regulated by the elementary structure 'sign - non-sign', and the behavior of a person with a tendency toward desemiotization of reality can be, from the point of view of the observer, quite semioticized. (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 103-104)
This sounds like Mr Parsons, although I cannot be sure yet.
Type II: 'asemiotic
Representatives of this type are found very seldom; most probably, we are dealing with some kind of inherent ability resulting from the psychophysiological state of personality, and not from a stereotype of behavior. In other words, it seems that it is possible to become either semioticizing or desemioticizing, i.e., in some way to regulate one's behavior in this respect. However, asemioticity is an inherent quality, probably precluding the appearance and development of tendencies to semioticize or desemioticize (this, of course, is no more than a hypothesis). By the same token, Type II is excluded from the preceding scheme of classification inasmuch as in its formulation we began with the presence of the semiotic process in behavior (in the sense that it may be co-ordinated with the 'plus' or 'minus' sign, while in this case it is 'zero').
In the most general aspect, the asemiotic quality is characterized by a person who has a tendency to look at events, things, and situations neither as signs nor as non-signs, but as things in themselves. It is possible that such a psychological phenomenon is complemented by the complication of behavior on other levels. The life of such a person may seem simple to the 'semiotic' observer..., however, it is possible that for that person himself it possesses a number of other complexities. (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 104)
This sounds like a characterization of proles. The difference between Parsons and the Proles is that Parsons does not "overthink" his behaviour and strives to act in accordance with what is expected of him, but his behaviour is still semiotized - which inevitably leads him to room 101. The Proles, on the other hand, have no need to semiotize their behaviour because they are not regulated like Party members are, although they have their own means of semiotization, the old ways, which Winston is only slightly aware of. // In comparison with Lotman's typology of cultural codes, it would appear than: 1) Big Brother is sem+syn-, as "He" determines the so-called "metalanguage"; 2) Mr Parsons is sem-syn+, as he behaves "correctly" but has no idea what any of it means; 3) the Proles are sem-syn- as they care for neither pole; and 4) Winston is properly interested in both how to avoid being caught (behaving "correctly") and what it all means.
3. Now we shall discuss certain problems connected with the examination of analytical behavior, i.e., the examinationof how the perception of the world gets semioticized. Here it is possible to speak of both the evaluation by the individual of any real situation, and of his construction of certain ideal situations. It is natural to assume that the ideas which a person has about such ideal situations are determined, to a great extent, by his personological traits, and therefore, determine his evaluation of real situations. (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 104)
The problem being that Winston's initial interpretations of O'Brien and Julia are both incorrect. In this light O'Brien is actually correct that he is "insane".
4. We have been discussing the personological differences in the realms of generation and of analytical behavior. It is apparent, however, that the characteristics of any variation of behavior depends upon the individual. It is also apparent that it is the self-perception, i.e., the perception of the 'I' that represents that area where the realms of analytic and generative behavior cross and mutually influence each other. Of course, the generated behavior is in some way perceived by the subject himself, while the consideration of how one's personal behavior is perceived definitely influences that behavior and in some measure conditions it. As a result, a certain balance is established, a certain compromise between behavior and the perception of that behavior by the individual (when some aspects of behavior are not perceived by the individual himself, being perceived only from the point of view of an external observer), while the nature of this compromise (balance) may be conditioned personologically. (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 108-109)
Self-communication (autocommunication). Details.
In personology, one is directly interested in a whole series of cases connected with the examination of 'masks'. It is particularly important to examine the following cases for personological characterization:
  1. Realization or non-realization by the individual of his 'mask' on the whole, or of its particular features.
  2. Function of the 'mask' in the communication of the individual, in other words, who is the 'mask' intended for, in what situation of contact does it serve as intermediary?
Thus, for example, the 'mask' can be used during the individual's contact with socium or with other people in general, during his contact with divine hypostasis, or during contact with himself (i.e., during self-communication). (Piatigorsky & Uspensky 1975: 109)
Huh. An aspect of autocommunication I have not yet considered yet. E.g. how one presents oneself to that future self.

Some Utopian Studies

Jacobs, Naomi 2007. Dissent, Assent, and the Body in Nineteen Eghty-Four. Utopian Studies 18(1): 3-20.

A series of bodies mark the progression from hope to despair in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell proffers several versions of an oppositional body capable of resisting dystopia: first, Winston's rebellious body that refuses to submit to the everyday discomforts of life, then Julia's naked body in lovemaking, and finally the powerful body of the proletarian mother singing at her household drudgery. But in Winston's emanciated body after torture, Orwell's final vision is of the body as inherently flawed, permeable, incapable of sustaining any enduring opposition to social control. Together, these bodies appear to comprise a persuasive anatomy of the powers and limitations of the human body and, indeed, of the human being. However, I will argue that the devastating pessimism of Orwell's great novel is based upon an inconsistent and ultimately impoverished model of the body. Orwell underestimates the body's recuperative powers as well as the extent to which the meaning of bodily experience is malleable, shaped by social relation. A disjunction between his rhetoric about the body and his representation of it underpins these limitations in his great work. (Jacobs 2007: 3)
So, adjective + 'body' yields some kind of typology? What are the criteria for bringing out these exactly "bodies"? Why not "drunk body" when Winston drinks Gin? Why not "careful body" when he approaches Julia at the cafeteria? This seems all too arbitrary. I can only hope that Naomi Jakobs elaborates what she means by Orwell's "rhetoric about the body".
The problem of the body is central to utopian literature, which attempts to reconcile the desires of individual bodies with the needs of the body politic; at the heart of the utopian endeavor is the projection of new ways to manage populations of human bodies and to re-form the individual body, with its inchoate and often antisocial drives. In any vision of an orderly world in which suffering is minimized and pleasure maximized, the materiality of the body comes to the fore - both as an obstacle to success in its stubborn disordeliness, and as the territory upon which any new order must ultimately be mapped. The body itself must be the locus of utopian or dystopian transformation, whether that transformation is to be brought about by liberating the body or by more effectively subduing it. (Jacobs 2007: 3)
Winston is inchoate and antisocial. But does the materiality of the body come to the fore in 1984? Right now I'd say this is more relevant to Brave New World. When it comes to orderliness and subduing then Zamjatin's We would be more interesting. Although some elements of it - such as morning exercises and constant surveillance - are present in 1984, it lacks extreme homogeneity and literal glass houses.
In our own century, the body has continued to be characterized as a source of liberatory energy. Though the mind may be corrupted or contaminated by societal constraints, a fantasy has survived that the body can retain its purity and serve as a reservoir of natural virtue, a motivating force for action against totalitarian control. Perhaps the most familiar version of this view focus on the sexual aspects of bodily experience: for example, the links drawn between political and sexual liberation by fin-de-siecle anarchists, psychologist Wilhelm Reich's argument that sexual repression supports fascism, or D. H. Lawrence's utopian claims for the powers of eroticism to regenerate not only the individual, but society (Koh). In dystopian and anti-utopian fiction, this conflation of erotic and utopian energy is clearly present in works such as Zamyatin's We, where D-503's love for I-330 leads him to question the social order, or Ayn Rand's Anthem, where love similarly leads the protagonist to break with a collectivist society that restricts erotic connection. (Jacobs 2007: 4)
"I hate purity, I hate goodness! I don't want any virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones." [Winston] / "Well then, I ought to suit you, dear. I'm corrupt to the bones." [Julia]
However, such concepts of the revolutionary body tend to rely upon a naturalistic notion of the body as "the pre-social, biological basis on which the superstructures of the self and society are founded" (Shilling 41). As the considerable theoretical work on the body in recent decades has argued, to see the rising of the body as a throwing off of social meanings or strictures is to neglect the ways in which the body expresses and responds to social meanings in the construction of which the body itself has been implicated. The body may be, as Nicholas Mirzoeff comments, "a key site of that resistance provoked by any exercise of power" (11), but it is so precisely because it is also the site of that exercise of power. These issues contribute to the fissures in Orwell's dystopian logic. (Jacobs 2007: 5)
Why does this sound like we're dealing with chunks of meat, though? A body always belongs to someone or is someone. The bold passage could very well read "the ways in which people express and respond to social meanings in the construction of which they themselves are implicated". Without selves, we are left with automatic processes - the body expresses and responds because it just does. It becomes a site, a territory, a material, lost of what makes human bodies interesting in the first place - that they are human, that they contain complex nervous systems capable of learning and communicating. The body does express and respond, but that is mere Secondness. It is Thirdness that I am after.
Although Orwell is justly famous for his evocation of the practical techniques and psychological effects of totalitarian rule, the body is central to his explorations of the workings of power. He begins his novel by establishing in striking vividness the bodily discomforts of life under Big Brother. In this fictive world, the body and its sensitivities are brutally repressed. The physical discomforts and displeasures are unremitting: bad smells, bad food, coarse fabric, and ugly surroundings. The human body itself has been degraded, and a debased physical type dominates: "Nearly everyone was ugly ... small, dark, and ill-favored" (52-53). Winston himself is gray, thin, ill, and prematurely aged. (Jacobs 2007: 5)
If this truly were so then it should come as a surprise that the concept of facecrime has gained very little attention (as compared to thoughtcrime).
But for Orwell as for others, the body serves as a symbol of the social order, and a degenerate social order must produce an inferior physical type. Thus the citizens of Oceania - like those of a British industrial city - display in their very flesh the corruption of the regime. (Jacobs 2007: 5-6)
Paraphrasing the vulgar saying "does the carpet match the drapes?" we may now ask, "does the individual body match the state of society?"
The prevailing weakness, sickness, or "softness" of the bodies Orwell describes may be understood against the background of the ostentatiously healthy and powerful bodies of fascist and Stalinist propaganda. (Jacobs 2007: 6)
A worthwhile point for a discussion of literary "realism" - in this specific case against the background of Soviet Realism.
As Mirzoeff notes in his discussion of Nazism, totalitarianism is "profoundly distrustful of the body as the individual expression and component of the body politic, fearing that it might harbour all manner of weakness and corruption" (91). Under late capitalism, this distrust takes the different form of an obsessive concern with and self-policing of the body, which is re-created as spectacle and object for consumption; the body's drives are channeled into the self-hypnosis of the health club, the consumerist trance of the shopping mall. Capitalist propaganda presents young, hard, "good" bodies as images of individual freedom and happiness, while in fact individuals under late capitalism become increasingly less healthy. Similarly, totalitarian propaganda presents healthy bodies as images of national strength and productivity, while in fact individuals under totalitarianism endure a debilitating lack of access to the food and medicines needed for good bodily health, and a restructed access to physical pleasures generally. (Jacobs 2007: 6)
This distrust seems quite natural, perhaps even as a variant of the Christian "denial of the body". As Winston himself explains at some point, love (sexuality) is the greatest weapon against totalitarian control. There is probably self-policing in some form or measure in all societies. In Orwell's 1984 it takes on the characteristic of self-censure (a la Scheflen), e.g. avoidance of facecrime. The question of healthy bodies as representation is still relevant today - the border guards around North Korea are chosen for their height, musculature and health on both sides.
In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the political logic of these denials of the body is laid out explicitly. By denying a satisfying bodily existence to its members, the Party intensifies the importance and effectiveness of Party-designed experiences such as the group ecstasy of the Two Minutes' Hate. The only love allowed, that for Big Brother, is also the only pleasure allowed (Paul Robinson 152) other than the sadistic pleasure of hatred. There is certainly a bodily component in the latter, but it is brief; these frenzied expressions of loyalty to the Party provide but a temporary distraction from the endless discomforts and physical self-restraint to which the citizens then return. (Jacobs 2007: 6)
I believe that the Two Minutes' Hate should be viewed in its historical context - in comparison with the actual exercise of hate-mongering to British soldiers to make them hate the enemy. This called a public outcry in Orwell's days, which is most likely why it is included in 1984. In the universe of 1984 it may indeed serve the purpose of channeling bodily pleasures, though. Winston cannot help himself but to chant along with others - a symptom of mass hysteria (perhaps Elias Canetti should be consulted?).
To all outward appearances, the bodies of Party members have been successfully controlled by Party discipline. Doublethink requires denying the reality of bodily experineces, rejecting the "evidence of your own eyes and ears" (60), as Winston says. And orthodoxy, or at least the appearance of orthodoxy, requires repressing any unsanctioned emotion or impulse. According to Goldstein's book, "A Party member is required to have not only the right opinion, but the right instincts" (174). Yet the body cannot be so completely controlled. (Jacobs 2007: 6-7)
This is the stuff of facecrime. But I think this is best approached in terms of ideology and perhaps Bourdieu's doxic situation. It is up to my study to make out how much of this repression (regulation, as I call it) and control there is.
When Winston refers to "the mute protest in your own bones" as a source of knowledge that things were once better than they are now (63), he is experiencing what Alison Jaggar calls "outlaw emotions" - those feelings at odds with what we expect to feel or believe we ought to feel. Such emotions can "provide the first indications that something is wrong" with accepted understandings of the world and contribute to the development of oppositional subcultures (Jaggar 161). It is at the prompting of such outlaw emotions that Winston writes "Down with Big Brother" in his diary, his hand moving without the direction or even the assent of his mind, as if his dimly-felt rebellious impulse could be brought to consciousness only through an independent act of the body. Through its engagement with the physical realities of this world, Winston's body knows things his conscious mind has suppressed. Such 'tacit knowledge ... does not result from the transferring of data from one mind or book to another or from tracing the logic of a syllogism. Rather, it arises from, and through what Polanyi calls 'indwelling,' or the active engagement of the body with the factors comprising our subsidiary awareness" (sorri 19). (Jacobs 2007: 7)
It seems a bit at odds with what we know from real-life totalitarian regimes. For example, one North Korean woman reportedly (in a recent Daily Show interview with a woman who visited NK) thought constant hunger was normal and didn't doubt in her government until the moment that she got a food package from South Korea and saw the expiration date on it - the very fact of there being an expiration date, the idea that food can be in surplus, that it is not eaten right away, sparked her doubt. It's similar to how physiological arousal and emotions are viewed nowadays - hunger itself is just hunger, just as adrenaline rush is just an adrenaline rush; until, that is, when the person conceptualizes his or her hunger or, in those experiments, what may have caused the arousal - whether it is attributed to the injection and matter-of-factness or to the uncomfortable social situation in which the subject is placed after the injection. In the same line of thought we find discourse on surprise as an emotion, or rather a precursor of emotion - because surprise lasts for a flash, only to be replaced by an evaluation - whether the surprising phenomenon is good or bad. Likewise, the goodthinkful think that their sorry situation is actually good. Human mind is malleable.
At a very basic level, then, Winston's first acts of resistance to the regime are motivated and manifested by his irrepressible body. He is quite aware that these outbreakings of bodily energy are dangerous. "Your worse enemy ... was your own nervous system" (56) he thinks, in reference to individuals who cannot control their facial expressions and so make their unorthodoxy visible as "facecrime" to the Thought Police. Even when the face is successfully controlled, "you could not control the beating of your heart" (67). Instinct, then, is more powerful than intention, driving the body to act against reason; this is both the body's virtue and its ultimate vulnerability. (Jacobs 2007: 7)
Now I think this aspect could be explained well with reference to (Freud's) "psychohydraulic" theory of emotions (according to Ruesch).
The instinctive responsiveness of the body leads Winston to begin his first tentative gestures of resistance in the solitary physical act of writing down his thoughts and experiences in the forbidden journal. (Jacobs 2007: 7)
I have considered dealing with the diary-writing aspect in conjunction with Zamjatin's We and Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground, both of which are written in diary form, just as Orwell's 1984 was supposedly intended at the beginning, and in terms of autocommunication (one of my favorite topics). It is interesting that between these dystopian works, the significance of the journal/diary increasingly lessens. We know of Underground Man only because he wrote his journal. D-503 wrote a journal, but it is unclear (to me) whether the whole work is a journal. And what role does the journal play in 1984? In any case this matter can be dealt with in terms of autocommunication and in all cases the journal is written exactly because of solitude - Winston is not sure for whom he writes his journal, as it often is (I pondered the question of "addressee" often when I kept a daily diary-like blog myself as a teenager).
In the novel's representation of the liberatory potential of sexuality, the disrobing of Julia's body plays a crucial role. When first seen, Julia emblematizes the nature of bodies under the rule of Big Brother: dressed, like all other members of the Outer Party, in drab work clothes that obscure her individual features, she is yet marked out from the crowd by the crimson sash of the Junior Anti-Sex League, which displays both her sexuality - the curve of her womanly body - and her sexual unavailability. In a fashion described so well by Foucault, desire is created by its proscription; the sash that seems to mark Julia's submission to the anti-erotic policies of a Party that aspires to "abolish the orgasm" (220) also makes her an object of desire for Winston, whose sexuality is bound up in his nascent resistance to the regime. Thus, when he fantasizes Julia's clothes coming off, he thinks that the gesture of disrobing could "annihilate a whole culture" (29). To imagine the removal of clothing and the revelation of the hidden body as having such political power is to imagine the body itself as untouched by the layers of civilization that cloaks its "naked thruth." In this view, civilization, no matter how oppressive, can be thrown aside like a garment when the body acts upon its own "pure" desires. (Jacobs 2007: 7-8)
I planned to deal with this issue in a (sub)chapter titled "The perks of appearing goodthinkful" (against "The folly of being goodthinkful"). Julia's doubleact makes for an interesting case study of deceitful appearances, of conformity and subversion. And in the end isn't all culture something we throw off when we give in to animalistic "pelvic magic"? Sexual intercourse is largely a "reptilian" routine (although it is evolutionarily more archaic than the "reptilian brain").
To Winston, both the simple animal instinct - the act itself - and the primitive emotions and intimacies to which it gives rise carry a revolutionary potential, nurturing a place in the heart that the regime can never touch. Many of Orwell's readers have accepted at face value the text's characterization of sexuality as a natural, instinctive expression of animal nature. For example, Connelly states that "Sex is the most uniquely individual instinct and, liket he belief in the soul, a threat to the organization bent on destroying the self" (139). Similarly, Anne Mellor argues that "Sexual desire and consummation affirm nature over culture, human instinct over rational or technological control. ... Julia's celebration of her own body, of sexual desire, of the primal animal instinct of human beings, is thus a denial of all forms of mind control, a powerful political rebellion" (119). (Jacobs 2007: 8)
This I planned to deal with in a (sub)chapter titled "Motifs of anti-emotion (in dystopian films)". I believe this aspect in 1984 is the influence for so many modern dystopias bent to prove that emotions cannot suppressed because in the end "love conquers all". The most vivid example is Equilibrium, although it's far from the only illustration - The Giver is a recent example. The 1984-insipired Equals coming out in 2015 is - as far as I can make out - much about the same stuff (it will concentrate on Winston and Julia's love story instead of the "rewriting history" and "boot stomping on faces" ordeal). Now that I think about it, the Party's boot-in-the-face policy could be tied to facecrimes. In a simple reversal, it is the Party that commits a crime against the human face by stomping on it, for ever. It is also a matter of nonverbal ethics and quite gloomy in the prospect of future face-reading technology (if and when FACS becomes a "thing", if it already hasn't).
For all Winston's fantasies of disrobing, Julia's body is vaguely generalized as "white, youthful" (92). Although Winston believes that "the animal instinct, the simple undifferentiated desire ... was the force that would tear the Party to pieces" (105), their lovemaking is never describen in any detail. In fact, what follows is largely a clichéd romance of star-clossed lovers, who set up a monogamous love-nest complete with domestic trappings and quickly lose their sexual urgency. The revolutionary rhetoric in praise of promisquity is replaced by a nostalgic rhetoric extolling the virtues of private life, a stance hardly conductive to the common social action necessary if the regime is to be overthrown. (Jacobs 2007: 9)
This is quite in line with the discontent of some readers with Julia's character arc as such - in the beginning Winston is interested in Julia and her Weltanschauung, but this soon dissipates and is replaced by, well, "domestic trappings". I wonder how Equals will deal with the lack of description in the sexual intercourse department.
And indeed there is no direct link established between the affair and Winston's taking steps to join the Brotherhood. Julia has long indulged her sexual instincts to no political result. The two have only aimless discussions of the possibility of active resistance. In fact, Julia thinks the Brotherhood is a propaganda fiction, and Winston has no real reason to think otherwise. Had the "summons" never come from O'Brien, it seems likely that Winston and Julia's expression of their "animal instincts" would have brought about no result more dramatic than any of Julia's other exploits: a private rebellion with no ramifications beyond pleasure. Conversely, given Winston's unjustified trust in O'Brien and attraction to him, he might very well have accepted such a summons even had he never known Julia. Thus the claims for the revolutionary power of the body remain rhetorical ones, never embodied in action or description in a way that would grant them fictive force. (Jacobs 2007: 9)
Ah, so that's what she means by rhetoric of the body. Welp, as a self-identified anarchist, I feel that all talk of revolution is ultimately rhetorical in this sense. The revolution is the Second Coming of Christ for the oppressed and discontented.
When Winston imagines a revolution carried out by the proles, his optimism is once again founded in an unsustainable idealization of the body, for he believes that the proles' embodiment of human decencies is rooted in a blind, instinctual physicality. "If there is hope ... it lies in the proles," Winston had written in his diary. "They needed only to rise up and shake themselves like a horse shaking off flies" (60). His own class, he imagines, will keep alive the mind as the proles will "keep alive the body." They are "people who had never learned to think but were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world" (181) and who pass on "from body to body the vitality which the Party did not share and could not kill" (182). (Jacobs 2007: 10)
An interesting take on the mind/body dualism. But if the proles are the body and the outer party is the mind, what of the inner party? (Or should one lump outer and inner party together without distinction?)
As he had done with the desiring bodies of Winston and Julia' Orwell aligns the body of the prole woman, and by extension all the bodies of her class, with Nature. He makes them represent an irrational, rebellious life force with the potential to counteract the socially constructed mirage of totalitarianism. The body and its desires provide the impetus for opposition to the regime: indeed, the body's very lack of rationality becomes a virtue, for no reasonable person would be so foolish as to attempt to oppose the absolute power of the Party. (Jacobs 2007: 11)
Is it a mirage though? The torture sure is "all too real". It would be interesting to try out the TMS distinctions between culture/nature and culture/non-culture, but I'm not sure that these can be aligned with class distinctions pure and simple.
In the extended torture that follows his arrest, Winston learns first-hand that the power of the body to oppose the mind's will to resistance is stronger than the body's power to oppose the mind's will to submit. Discussing the political uses of torture, Renato Martinez has written that "the exhibition of pain is a language" (86). In addition to its functions of punishment and extortion of information, torture serves to communicate to the general public the power of the regime, its absolute right to treat the bodies of its enemies as it sees fit. But in Nineteen Eighty-Four, this communication is wholly private; the display is made only to the tortured himself; for the goal of this government is to win over souls, those "few cubic centimeters within [the] skull" that Winston had initially believed were his own (26). To the public is exhibited only the benevolent face of Big Brother, the penitent faces of the reformed rebels - never the destroyed body itself. Publicly, this regime exibits its power to reform and to forgive, rather than its power to destroy. Privately, the regime exhibits the effects of torture only to the subject of that torture. (Jacobs 2007: 12)
Contrastingly, Elaine Scarry writes that pain destroys language. And contemporary society displays an opposed attitude towards torture: it is not so much a language as a faux pas - a mistake, an error. I think this attitude comes from the knowledge that CIA's torture programs were far from successful.
Julia's loving body had been reduced to a phase, an occasional naked breast or soft, yielding waist; the prole woman's to her wide hips and tuneful voice. But Orwell describes in dreadful detail Winston's body after torture. The gray, dirty flesh, the "battered" cheekbones, the inflamed ulcer, the skeletal ribs and emaciated legs and "scraggy" neck; all are chronicled at length and with a clinical exatitude that grants great persuasive force to the dystopian view of the body as a treacherous entity that "swells up until it fills the universe" so that "In the face of pain there are no heroes" (86, 197). (Jacobs 2007: 12)
The body is treacherous in several senses. It betrays, as in facecrime. And it cannot be relied upon in the face of torture.
The rhetoric of representation in Nineteen Eighty-Four destroys all possibility of resistance to totalitarian oppression. In the everyday resistances of Winston's protesting body, in the brief utopia of eroticism when bodies are disrobed and touch each other tenderly, and in the vitality of the prole woman's sturdy physicality resistance seems possible. But in the protracted descriptions of a man being broken and then re-formed by pain, we are told that resistance is doomed. In this is the great failing of Orwell's great novel. For we know - as, of course, did Orwell himself - that minds do not always break under torture, that some people suffer appalling pain and fear and yet refuse to betray their loved ones and their comrades in arms. (Jacobs 2007: 14)
I think this is so because it is a tale of warning, not a tale of hope. It could also be mimetic of Zamjatin's We, which similarly ends not with the savages' (people outside the city walls) triumph over the city, but with the annihilation of fantasy, that which spurred D-503 to disobey the system.

Jacobsen, Michael Hviid 2004. From Solid Modern Utopia to Liquid Modern Anti-Utopia? Tracing the Utopian Strand in the Sociology of Zygmunt Bauman. Utopian Studies 15(1): 63-87.

UTOPIA LITERALLY MEANS 'NOWHERE'. Most often, however, utopian thought and practice have pointed to a 'somewhere', a tangible and definable expression of the 'nowhere' and have often been presented as a positive mirror image (a eutopia) or a deliberately distorted and negative picture of contemporary reality (a dystopia or anti-utopia), the 'here and now', but today these previously flourishing 'somewheres' everywhere appear to be gradually dismantling, dissolving, or disillusioned. Thus, as Bruce Mazlish recently and poignantly pointed out, "utopian thinking, except in the form of messianic or fundamentalist aspirations, appear either to take other shapes or be in the tepid condition or non-existent" (43). (Jacobsen 2004: 63)
Orwell's 1984, in this light, seems more like a negative picture of what could come in the future. As far as I know, it was meant as a tale of warning. Otherwise, I'd think that utopian thinking is still virile.
[...] the demise of utopia is primarily associated with the spheres of either politics or science, and particularly social science, which have become disenchanted in the process of 'de-utopianisation' and have lost the vision and utopias which for centuries guided the founders, pioneers and practitioners of these domains and pointed in the direction of 'the common god', the 'just society', etc. (Jacobsen 2004: 63)
I didn't know that social science had a utopian streak, although it does make sense. Even semiotics sometimes demonstrates a want to better society, as when Charles Morris or Jurgen Ruesch suggest that semiotics should be used to improve learning (in schools) and social administration (e.g. how to deal with delinquents and psychiatric patients).