Newspeak and double think

We are told what to think almost every day. We are less often taught how to think.

From mainstream media to social media. From “real” news to “fake” news. From Facebook political pokes to Twitter Trumpisms. It’s getting more and more difficult to navigate the wide-open waters of the information age.

But when it comes down to it, it is our responsibility alone to think clearly. It’s not our chosen news outlet’s responsibility. It’s not our teacher’s responsibility. It’s not our political party’s responsibility. It is ours and ours alone. Paraphrasing Aristotle , we must be capable of entertaining a thought without accepting it. Lest we become victims to the thoughts of others.

Newspeak is a term coined by George Orwell in his book 1984 . Newspeak is dangerous because it is the opposite of the first amendment: freedom of press. It is all about thought control and thought suppression. It limits the freedom of thought while keeping the individual under the delusion that he/she is thinking freely.

Governing the precept that orthodoxy is unconsciousness, it stands to reason that unorthodoxy is consciousness. It further stands to reason that not questioning the orthodoxy is falling victim to unconsciousness. Therefore, to be conscious, to be woke, as the kids are saying, is to question the orthodoxy.

Also coined in 1984 , and subtly different from newspeak, doublethink is a strategy that attempts to keep thought trapped inside the double-bind of the orthodoxy. It keeps a person in a constant state of unconscious cognitive dissonance. It goes Meta with the idea of Newspeak, where the lies we tell ourselves are always one step ahead of the truth we willfully suppress. In the book, the three slogans of the Party –War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength, are good examples of doublethink.