[FOUNTAIN]Let the 'truth' be toldOceania, which appears in George Orwell's novel "1984," is a fictional country where every aspect of life is controlled. In Oceania, writing is prohibited by law and everyone is watched by a so-called Big Brother.
Oceania prides itself on its system of control, with posters proclaiming "Big Brother is watching you" pasted along major streets and in every apartment in the country.
However, Oceania cannot be governed with only fear and government surveillance. Therefore, the ruling party of Oceania creates every kind of controlling strategy and ideology.
One example of such methods is maintaining a constant state of war with neighboring nations, which preoccupies the citizens' minds. Another example is keeping Big Brother from being worshiped by the people and keeping the language concise for the purpose of censorship.
In order to prove that the party is supreme, free from any errors, history is rewritten, and the citizens of the country are repeatedly encouraged to think that they should be ruled by the party.
George Orwell instead of describing utopia, which does not exist, has described men and women bound to a political system that they do not trust and which diminishes them by introducing, instead, a dystopia.
Ironically, George Orwell created a government section called the Ministry of Truth, whose duty it was to rewrite history. The reason the writer chose "Ministry of Truth" as the name for the organization to create a new history is easily understood on looking at the slogan of the ruling party of Oceania.
The party's slogan is "he who controls the present controls the past, and he who controls the past controls the future."
George Orwell is saying that the ruling system can change the past to control the present.
The main character of "1984," Winston Smith, works for the Ministry of Truth. However, in a country that bans writing, George Orwell describes Winston Smith, who has a privileged job, as an extremely inept person.
Some say that although diversity appears to exist in our society, it holds the mental features of a totalitarian state. With the presidential election just a few months away, ambitious comments, such as "I will create a new history," are being heard.
Reality and a fictional country, Oceania, may be different, but we should ask ourselves if there really is not a Ministry of Truth.
The writer is a JoongAng Ilbo editorial writer.
by Kim Seok-hwan