When i was young i read a historically controversial book called 1984. I remember being fascinated yet horrified by the draconian society portrayed yet remained absently detached as this was so far removed from the world of my then existence. Literature portraying dystopian society has always fascinated us, perhaps by its very contrast of the world we live in.
Or is it?
Fast forward to 2020 and events of recent years lead me to wonder if perhaps this book was somewhat prophetic in nature and if perhaps the society within were not some kind of pending possibility.
I find it hard to equate modern society with our history of fighting for freedom of word, thought, deed and intention. In past times those subjugated were not just of colour but of gender, intelligence, belief, physicality and opportunity. Gradually years of rebellion have strived and continue to strive to free all of those who might normally have been relegated to being ‘less’.
So how then have we come to be so intolerant despite all of our hard won victories. How do we live in a society where freedom of speech is a crime, for there will be sure to be someone who will take offence if their opinion differs to your own. We endorse this. We validate it and we give people permission to take offence, even when there was none of this in its intent. We are a people offended. We seek it. We find it where it doesn’t exist. Because we need it to make us feel better about who we are. We need to create our imaginary purpose.
The written word, once so enlightening is now the most guilty of criminals for it fails endlessly to express its intended meaning. Have 1000 people read the same sentence and you will get 1000 different interpretations of it, yet who of us is to decide which interpretation is correct. Perhaps only that person who wrote the sentence in the first place, yet there are many who will claim that they know better than the writer , the meaning and intent behind it. Have we become so determined to be offended by everything we see and hear that we are guilty of becoming Orwellian thought police after all.
Perhaps we need to be more tolerant and celebratory of each other and respect that individuality for which we fought for so long. Perhaps we need to respect that not everyone will agree with what we think but be open to the views of others whilst staying true to our own.
This is true diversity.
There will always be those people who take their own personal views to the extreme and seek to deliberately to give offence where perhaps in the past none would have been taken. These are the people that need to learn that views are personal and we need to allow others to have opinions of their own rather than those forced upon us.
BE that tolerant society.
Accept that everyone is different and that is what makes us unique. That is what makes us so diverse, so challenging and so interesting as people. Not everyone will agree with every opinion but it does not make anyone’s ideals any less valid than your own. One of the biggest dangers to this free world is bandwagonning. We run to jump aboard, whether we agree with what we are signing up for or not. Because we don’t want to be seen not to. We don’t want to be that person who doesn’t and by our very failure to conform, become the focus of the hatred and the backlash purported by the once so fantasised thought police.
Perhaps Orwell had some vision of the future that the rest of us had not. Perhaps he saw where society was heading if we did not cling more tightly to that which makes us individual. Me, i prefer not to ride on the bandwagon but prefer to walk steadily at my own pace to the tune of my own marching band.
My name is Amanda and my thoughts are my own.