‘1984’ showed belief more valued than truth

It’s been a long time since I read “1984,” George Orwell’s cautionary tale about a dystopian future.

Those of us who were required to read it in high school will recall that its hero, Winston Smith, was conflicted over the mathematical proposition “Two plus two equals five.” His problem was that he was hung up on the logic of the natural world. He could not reconcile himself to the prevailing axiom that “reality exists in the human mind and nowhere else.” (So if you believe a thing, then it is true, and you can proceed from there.)

A modern Orwellian writer on the American scene would have to treat the subject differently. Winston Smith would be much better adjusted. When faced with the proposition “Two plus two equals five,” he would think, “Well, of course it does. It always has. Any fool knows that!”

Charles DeBruler


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