Christopher Patrick Nolan, Richard Bremmer, Hara Yannas, Tim Dutton and Mark Arends in 1984. Photo: Tristram Kenton.
Ideology shapes the way that we think and behave as members of society. An ideology is a set of conscious and unconscious ideas and beliefs that a group of people hold about the way that the world works. These ideas shape their sense of what is right and wrong. They shape their sense of what is normal and abnormal behaviour. They define their ambitions and their goals. At a deeper level, they shape their sense of reality.
Gavin Spokes, Christopher Patrick Nolan, Hara Yannas, Mark Arends, Tim Dutton, Stephen Fewell, Mandi Symonds and Matthew Spencer in 1984. Photo: Tristram Kenton.
Language is more than simply words. It shapes the way we think. In the appendix to 1984, Orwell tells us that Newspeak is a language deliberately designed to limit the range of people’s thoughts and to make certain ideas unthinkable. It can be argued, however, that all languages, like Newspeak, limit the range of ideas that it is possible for people to understand.
Prof Alex Callinicos reveals how Orwell's politics and the world in which he lived shaped his vision of 1984.
George Orwell's Burmese Passport Photograph
Watch Simon Critchley’s lecture Barack Obama and the American Void in full here
There is something desperately lonely about Barack Obama’s universe. One gets the overwhelming sense of someone yearning for connection, for something that binds human beings together, for community and commonality, for what he repeatedly calls “the common good”. This is hardly news. We’ve known since his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic national convention that “there’s not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America – there’s the United States of America.”