In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices. To the right of the speakwrite, a small pneumatic tube for written messages, to the left, a larger one for newspapers; and in the side wall, within easy reach of Winston’s arm, a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. This last was for the disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes. When one knew that any document was due for destruction, or even when one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building.
He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.
- From George Orwell’s 1984
The reason Big Brother and his band of technocrat authoritarians spend so much time and effort erasing history in the classic novel 1984, is because they are a bunch of total criminals and they know it. Their grip on power is made so much easier if the proles are kept ignorant, confused and in the dark. This strategy is not just fiction, it is the philosophy of tyrants and authoritarians throughout history.
While the internet is an amazing tool for communication and free speech, we must also be aware of how it can be abused by those in power who wish to whitewash history. For more on this epic struggle, read the post, Networks vs. Hierarchies: Which Will Win? Niall Furguson Weighs In. In it, Mr. Furguson explains that the biggest threat to networks overcoming hierarchies is if government technocrats are able to gain a hold of the technological tools we now use to communicate with each other. He fears this is already happening with the NSA’s PRISM program and the complicity of all the major tech companies in the agency’s unconstitutional spying.
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