Answer to Question #21837 in Molecular Biology for Nuri Silay
How is science portrayed in the Novel 1984 by George Orwell?
Science in George Orwell’s satirical novel, similarly to all other spheres of human life or activities is viewed by the totalitarian regime only as a tool of maintaining subordination and total control of the people. Therefore, anything that cannot serve these goals is denied the right to exist. Thus the range of scientific (and any other) thought is limited, with the regime requesting an orthodox frame of mind, and “orthodoxy means not thinking – not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness” (Book 1, Chapter 5). “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command” (Book 2, Chapter 10). Thus there could be no scientific discussions or any other ways of scientific progress; empirical methods of thought that facilitated the scientific achievements of the previous centuries were opposed to fundamental principles of “social expediency” that never paid any heed to the progress of science. However, there was a segment of policies and government activities that needed science as the basis for developing surveillance technology and instruments of the kind of TV screens, and this was what science was limited to. Actually, the situation in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union rang a bell, when a lot of qualified technical experts and engineers became unemployed as a result of losing their jobs due to the rapid reduction in research aimed at developing secret technologies and military equipment, the disproportionately expanded segment of science and technology that had become redundant.
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