What are some examples of double thinking

In the case of Doublethink

He fought alongside Ernest Hemingway, Ludwig Renn and Ernst Busch in Spain against the Franco fascist coup. He was a socialist and a free thinker. George Orwell, real name Eric Arthur Blair, hated and opposed the colonial politics of his democratic homeland Great Britain, he hated hypocrisy and lies, and he died at the age of 47 of an abducted pneumonia. With his utopia of horror, "1984", Orwell left behind an ingenious warning and an intellectual model that every generation has to work on anew.

In the GDR, "1984" was a banned book, and the reasons for it cannot be accepted, but can be named. It is relatively easy to find elements in the monstrous society designed by Orwell, which can be understood as a harsh and also quite precise criticism of the conditions in the GDR. In conditions that were by no means the glory of this state. Organizational structures dominated by the state, militarization, surveillance, hindrance, if not persecution of those who think differently, tendencies towards unification of ideas, prevention of open debate, one-way street in the flow of information, movement of monstrances during demonstrations, subjugation of the law to power, ideological campaigns - these were by no means the only parallels between Orwellian and the GDR.

Warning of dangers in all directions

Especially in the third part, however, the plot of this utopian novel turns into an orgy of practically aimless and limitless cruelty. That cannot be applied to the GDR - it was not like that, nor did it have any inner tendencies for it, and in this respect those people, for whom their socialism was everything, would not have to relate that to themselves.

Orwell himself has emphasized that this book is not about the assignment of political blame to one side, but that he wanted to warn in all directions of dangers. The German-American philosopher and social psychologist Erich Fromm (1900-1980) in particular set important limits to the usually complacent Orwell reception in the West: Anyone who sees Orwell's description merely as an exposure of Stalinism is overlooking a fundamental characteristic of Orwell's analysis. The decisive factor remains generally and globally valid: How are language and thinking crippled when the truth is transformed into something that depends on political or power interests.

Orwell devised his ingenious construct "doublethink" for this. What is meant is the imposed and trained ability to represent opposing positions at the same time. According to Erich Fromm, there is nothing cynical, ironic or playful about it. And that's what makes "1984" still worth reading today. A person who has been driven out of all of their own internal standards has fallen prey to double thinking. Only then can it be controlled like a zombie by a superior force. Zwiedenken lives from the destruction of memory and from the fact that there are no general standards by which the behavior of people or states can be measured.

Only - one owes this objection to the truth: Such a doublethink does not arise - as seen in 1989 - in authoritarian states à la GDR. If at that time a child was watching Western television at home and was instructed not to talk about it at school in order to speak to the teacher, that is, if this child practically put on a "second face", then that was not an expression of doubts. That was just mimicry, the lie that is part of application training today. The delusion, a pretense of pretending to belong to the present way of life. Mimicry is not only not a dichotomy, it is actually the opposite of it. What separates mimicry and lies from doubts is that those involved are aware of the mendacious process.

And the consequences became apparent in 1989. Because there had been no massive doubts in the GDR, their agitation led to the void or even the opposite of what was being sought: The envisaged standardization contributed to the society's longing for individuality and differentiation. In social practice, tendencies towards militarization ensured that in their final years the young generation was more pacifist than ever in German history.

Find what you are looking for in today's political patterns

This has nothing to do with Orwellian doubts. Rather, one would have to look at today's patterns of politics and their performance, and one would find it in an amazing way. The result would not only be that "Western thinking" is prone to double-thinking, but even that this thinking has long since been eaten up by double-thinking.

Three apparently absurd formulas dominate the Orwell state in the novel "1984": "Ignorance is strength", "War is peace", "Freedom is slavery". As strange as it sounds, it isn't even particularly difficult to prove the validity of these formulas in today's political life.

After all, who can it have bypassed that the attack and the bombing of Yugoslavia, the subsequent attacks on entire regions should be everything but not a war? The attack on the Libyan army also goes through the media as "missions" under all circumstances - as if development workers were active in the fighter jets. NATO - founded as a defense alliance - developed into an aggressive coalition. Your war is peace. By the way, Orwell's War Department is called the Peace Department. This expression of dual thinking is the twin brother of barbarism. The law of the strong has triumphed over international law developed after 1945. Western politicians no longer speak of international law; the word has been removed from the political arsenal. The intellectual preparation of society must keep pace with this. A young generation incapable of realizing the crimes of the West as such is essential to success.

Even in the world described by Orwell, critical thinking towards one's own side is switched off, and it appears as a completely natural process that friends become enemies overnight. It doesn't have to have anything to do with their behavior. Is that alien to us? Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Egypt's dictator Mubarak, Chile's Pinochet - they were all friends and allies of the West for many years. Were given guns and money awards from politicians who are apparently not at all embarrassed. France literally showered head of state Gaddafi with amiability before sending its fighter jets down on him. The Moor will be sent to the Libyan desert when he has done his duty.

Much more than a simple lie

And even in Erich Fromm's time, doublethink was a pillar of Western thought. "What is not going to happen under the free world? understood? ”asked Fromm, pointing out that the murderous dictatorships endured or even installed by the West adorned the circle of the“ Free World ”as a matter of course. In Asia, Africa and Latin America, the calibrated powers of freedom have resulted in the oppression and slavery of millions of people over the past 150 years. And this process experiences the spiritual rounding off in the refusal to look at the crime history of the West as such. In the democratic mother country USA, freedom and democracy got along with slavery and genocide (of the indigenous people) for 100 years. If the slogan "freedom is slavery" does not apply here, where does it apply?

A few years ago there was a storm of indignation in Germany. A document exposing the GDR regime in its misanthropy was found in the Stasi records authority. It discussed what to do if a child should be harmed at the guarded GDR border. Mind you - the case had not occurred, it had been a matter of mentally adjusting to such a situation.

The fact that the Americans in Vietnam did not talk about child murder, but actually slaughtered half a million children on the altar of freedom, did not cloud Germany's relationship with this state for a second. According to the United Nations Children's Fund, 40,000 children per day perish from hunger and malnutrition in the backyards of the »Free World« should not play a role in the assessment of this world. Steadfast ignorance is a matter of honor at this point. Because ignorance is strength. And Orwell didn't say otherwise.

Doublethink, Zwiedenken has long been celebrating triumphs. Unfortunately, it's more than just a lie. According to Erich Fromm, it shows the way into a world of automatons, without a trace of individuality, love or critical thinking. Into a world of creatures that do not even notice this loss, let alone suffer from it.

And of Orwell's legacy, Fromm wrote: "He means us too."

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