By: Monica Castro

“War is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.” These are three slogans of the Party, Ingsoc. But what do they mean?

Ingsoc sloganSONY DSC

“War is Peace” means that while Oceania is at war with other countries, the people will maintain united because they have a common enemy. Therefore, by keeping war, people don’t have enemies inside the country, because they are busy fighting enemies outside the country. In 1984, the war isn’t even necessary, but is kept as a means to control the people.
The contradiction with this quote is that obviously war and peace are opposites. People can’t have peace when they feel threatened by a war, even if it is a foreign war. In 1984, people feel threatened by rocket bombs and Eurasian soldiers, when the real threat is the Party itself.
While it is true that war may incite nationalism in a country, and people unite, it causes more tension and suffering than union.

“Freedom is Slavery” means that the man who follows his will isn’t really free, because he is unprotected from the failures he Freedom is Slaverycan get from bad decisions. Not following the Party is slavery, but by following the Party people are given the notion that they are getting the rights they need and that their life is better than it used to be. For the civilians in 1984 it makes sense, because they barely know what the past and freedom are. The Party had delineated freedom as the corrupt, what they shouldn’t do anyways.
The contradiction in this quote, as in the previous one, is that we are equating two opposites. People need freedom in order to know what freedom is. Freedom enables you to do as you want and believe. If you are a slave, you don’t have an identity because your master sets it for you.
While it is true that when you have freedom you can take many bad decisions, failing is a part of being human. No group of humans, not even Party members, can perpetually prevent people from failing.

“Ignorance is Strength” means that the least the people know the better, because they will not be able to contradict the Party. The Party calls any thought that goes against them “Thought Crime”, when in reality, people may just think what is factually true, not what the Party says is true. Besides, there is no way the people can contradict the Party witIgnorance is Strengthhout seeming to be wrong. The strength of the party relies in the ignorance of the people.
The contradiction in this quote is that as we see nowadays, the more knowledge you have the more powerful you are. This is because the person who has more information has more advantage in managing a situation. It’s easier for that person to convince others to follow him/her. Without knowledge, people are subject to obedience.
The Party is really clever in preventing some information to get to the people, because ironically knowledge is personal strength while ignorance is Party strength. So they aren’t really wrong in saying ignorance is strength, they are just wrong in making people believe that ignorance is the type of strength that is favorable for everyone.

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