1984, prescient as it was, has been shown to be overdramatic on some points.
We didn’t need state-imposed Newspeak to limit speech and reduce thought; our own addiction to the infotainment of the media has us willingly shrinking ourselves. Social fads have us willingly rejecting marriage and eliminating the desire for family life. More examples could be given.
Room 101 is the worst thing in the world. To you, the one thing you cannot face. There is no bravery in the face of it, only the impulse to self-preservation.
The reason every thought criminal must be taken to Room 101 is that, even after being broken, after confessing everything imaginable without reservation, one thing still stands between the citizen and utter total love for the state.
Winston and Julia believed they couldn’t get at your heart; the state couldn’t change their feelings for each other. That would be the real betrayal.
Room 101 turns a person against the person he loves. He is forced to betray the one he loves, wholeheartedly. And his love falls away. It is extinguished.
We do not need the state to strap us into a chair with a cage full of ravenous rats affixed to our faces in order to turn us into eager finger-pointers, condemning and informing on our loved ones.
We will scream,” Do it to Julia! Not me!” gladly, without duress, if you just tell us that we are on the right side of history. That everyone we identify with thinks there is only one way to think. And most importantly, that the people we’ve loved all our lives are others, on the wrong side, the callous wrong-thinkers.
Is there anyone reading my post who hasn’t learned this?