Doublethink in 1984

Orwell describes doublethink as “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. ” In 1984, doublethink is the normal way of thought, and as a result everyone understands it and practices it. Doublethink is different from changing ones mind, lying, and self-deception in many ways. Doublethink involves believing in the two contradictory ideas at the same time. This is different from lying because lying is saying something that is wrong and knowing that it is wrong but still saying it anyway. For example lets say you broke a vase.

When your mother asks you who broke the vase and you say the dog did it that would be lying. The reason it is not doublethink is that you do not believe in two different beliefs at one time. You don’t believe you broke the vase and the dog broke the vase, you absolutely know you broke the vase and are trying to put the blame on the dog as to avoid trouble. Changing ones mind is also different from doublethink. Changing ones mind is accepting or believing one thing, then deciding to accept or believe something else different then what you thought before.

An example of changing ones mind would believe the earth is flat and then after seeing sufficient evidence that it is not flat but actually round. Due to the new evidence you would change your mind and now believe the earth is round as you previously thought it was flat. This is clearly different from doublethink because you are not believing in two ideas at the same time and accepting both. You are believing one thing, then completely change your mind and believing in another.

Changing ones mind involves completely dismissing one idea to believe in the other, which means you, cannot believe in both at the same time. Finally doublethink is also different from self-deception. Self-deception is to mislead or be unfaithful to the way someone perceives him or her self or to mislead the way they think about something else. Self-deception would be the closet to doublethink then the other two examples given before. However it still is different from doublethink. With self-deception you are fooling yourself to believe something that really is not true.

It is like your not accepting a fact or idea and replacing it with one that you believe, either if it is right or wrong. As said before doublethink is the belief of two contradictory things at once and believing both, and self-deception would be replacing one belief with another more acceptable to the self. An example of this would be thinking that you are such a smart person that you do not have to do any homework or studying and expect to do well in class. This is self-deception because even geniuses have to learn the material at one point.

Some people, such as geniuses, may learn it at a faster rate but they do have to learn it. So by thinking you are smart enough to do well in class without doing any work would be self-deception. Now that doublethink is distinguished from lying, changing ones mind, and self-deception, some examples of doublethink will be discussed and whether or not it is necessary and virtuous for contemporary American society. Affirmative action is an excellent example of doublethink. Affirmative action is the idea of ending discrimination by basically practicing it.

Affirmative action says that no matter how many qualified people there are for a job there has to be a certain number of minorities let in. Which means, in turn, if your white it will be harder to get a job due to affirmative action, because employers will have to hire a certain number of minorities even if they are not as qualified as you. This is to justify for generations of discrimination towards minorities by creating a new era of discrimination toward non-minorities. This is a clear example of doublethink in that one is led to believe that by discriminating you can justify for discrimination.

Interestingly enough, this idea has gained a great deal of support. It is the normal way of thought in many social circles, and as a result, many institutions have begun to practice it. Whether or not this form of doublethink is necessary or even virtuous for society is a heated topic. It is not necessary because people should be hired based on their credentials and not what their skin color is. However because of the history of the America discrimination has been and still is a real big problem.

Because of this affirmative action appeals to the morals of a lot of people in the country that makes it virtuous to society in the fact that there are minorities in the country and they feel they are treated unfairly. So in the case of affirmative action, doublethink is virtuous to some members of society because it helps their moral level to help them feel more equal even though some other people may be being discriminated against. So this shows that affirmative actions is doublethink because even though people who where once discriminated against are being let in to the workforce a lot easier people are still being treated unfairly.

People think it is ok to fix discrimination by discriminating against a different group of people. Jury duty is another example of doublethink in modern society. The idea here is to enforce justice by enslaving citizens. People selected for jury duty are expected to give up their time to come and work for the court for small pay. You really have no choice in deciding if you want to do jury duty or not. So in a country where your freedom is hindered to help determine the freedom of another human being is an example of doublethink.

Especially in big cases such as the O. J. Simpson trial they are quarantined and blocked from society. This is exactly what a prisoner in a jail cell is like. America is suppose to be the land of the free, however that freedom is taken away when trying to put someone on trial. This form of doublethink is a big necessity however in society because there is a need for a trial by peers in our society. Unless a new form of trial is going to be instituted jury duty is still going to be needed. The fact if jury duty is virtuous to modern American society is hard to decide.

For the people who have to be the jurors it can be very hard and emotional to sit through trials, which obviously would lower their moral. However jury duty can be looked at as virtuous because it can be a benefit to society. Jurors decide guilt or innocence and putting guilty people in jail helps society by keeping people who ruin society off the streets. Some examples of doublethink in 1984 are the principles of ingsoc. ‘War is Peace’ for example. To illustrate ‘War is Peace’ we must look at the term ‘keeping the peace.

America, the world’s savior, has a nasty habit of ‘keeping the peace’ in foreign lands. What this really means is that we send troops to these lands, armed with the latest in gun technology, and we threaten to kill everyone that goes against the interests of democracy. All in the name of ‘keeping the peace’. We mourn the troops who are killed by ‘friendly fire’ and remember that their noble death was earned in the cause of ‘keeping the peace. ’ And ‘Ignorance is Strength’, how does this fit in? The continued faith that the masses have in the government illustrates the principle of ‘Ignorance is Strength’.

Not many people are willing to except the sad state of affairs this country is in, and as a result they are willingly ignorant. This may not be the same as genuine ignorance, but there is no difference in the overall effect. This willful ignorance prevents the masses from making a change, and with no change the country’s ideals remain strong. Therefore, Ignorance is Strength, but not strength for the people, not strength for truth or justice, only strength for the American way. The final example of doublethink in contemporary modern society is the teaching of science and evolution in parochial schools.

In private religious schooling, they teach the ways of the bible and they also teach modern science. Clearly there are discrepancies between religion and modern science. For example, in religion classes they teach that made was put directly onto this earth by God. For some religions, such as Baptist, this is the only thing they believe in. Modern science, however, has proven the evolution of man in many stages starting from apes to the modern human form, as we know today. Religions such as Catholicism teach this also but where they differ is that they also teach science in their public schools.

Doublethink takes form here because in one class a child is taught that man, in current form, was put on this earth by God himself and then in the science class it is explained to them how man is evolved from primates. This is not virtuous at all for society. There needs to be a defining gap between religion and science. How are little children suppose to know which is right and which is wrong when they are told two different ways of how man has come upon this earth and they are contradictory. Religion however is deemed to be necessary by many people. They feel that people need some form of organized religion.

Religion does help many people get through hard times in their life and gives them hope. However, it causes problems when science is introduced into the life of a child who is experiencing life and trying to figure out the world. Doublethink is the idea of believing in two contradictory ideas but accepting both. There are instances of doublethink in our society that include affirmative action, jury duty, and religion. These all have positives and negatives on the modern day American society. Doublethink for the most part is not that necessary for society. It causes problems more often then not.