JF Ptak Science Books Post 1953
"It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words … what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in itself. Take “good”, for instance. If you have a word like “good”, what need is there for a word like “bad”? “Ungood” will do just as well — better, because it’s an exact opposite, which the other is not.’"--George Orwell, 1984
"Orwell and Nabokov wrote nothing like one another and did that to perfection."--Not H.L. Mencken
[David Octavius Hill (1802-1870) and Robert Adamson (1821-1848), St. Andrews [East Gable End of the Cathedral with Tower of St. Regulus], [1843-1847]. Calotype. Source: Princeton University Library.]
There is nothing that limits action than the control of the stuff that describes it: words. Any dictatorship or totalitarian regime can appreciate this thought--many would try to eliminate even the thinking of this thought, let alone limiting the spoken parameters of discussing it. Removing the capacity to respond to what is happening in the world with other human beings by rephrasing the experience through the introduction of new words and the elimination of old ones is an excruciating form of absolute power that can be blatant as well as subtle, though I suspect that accomplishing this word control sotto voce would be the most effective/insidious method.
[A page of Orwell's corrected Manuscript of 1984; source: GeorgeOrwellsNovels.com here]
George Orwell describes a terrifying society of just this sort in his book 1984 (with the complete text available here), which was an adventure into a Mystopia of the near-future (of about the year 2050). He writes about a society, Oceania, that attempts to makes it members into one conforming biological unit for the sake of control it. One of the methods used to accomplish this is the destruction of words and the creation of other state-controlled words to replace them, a sort of single-channel television for the mind, a device using its own vocabulary which audially impregnates the listener with versions of correct thinking, redefining reality by controlling the ways of interpreting it.
This is a list of some of the words that Orwell's society creates--some of course do not stand well on there own, their deviousness appreciated in the context of the story, like the first example, "artsem", which through constancy has come to numbingly replace the idea of what the word represents. Others, like 'good", are old words with a new meaning, making them new words with a bad (or not-good) meaning. Or "free" of the old (or Oldspeak") meaning, where even the word "free" is used only to describe an absence, as in "this sentence describing the use of the word "free" is "free from the old meaning of free", like you'd want a baby to be free from germs.
Airstrip One: the new word for "England", which has been reduced to nothing but a terminal for the society of 1984, Oceania, is composed of the Americas, part of southern Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
insemination, which is the enforced and nearly the only method of reproduction allowed in the society, another brick in a structure that controls the expression of intimacy between people. Big Brother needs new people for the society to continue, but he doesn't want there to be any emotional connection between them outside of the prescribed feelings that people are supposed to emulate. Artsem further indoctrinates a no-contact policy between people. There was the possibility of sexual intercourse but only for the production of children when artsem was not applicable--this was called "goodsex", which was the opposite of "badsex", which was sexual relations for the joy of it. The orgasm was a hunted thing, to be tracked down and eradicated.
Brother. The major domo of Oceania, a hitler/g-d, an extreme presence of control.
"The story really began in the middle sixties, the period of the great purges in which the original leaders of the Revolution were wiped out once and for all. By 1970 none of them was left, except Big Brother himself. All the rest had by that time been exposed as traitors and counter- revolutionaries."
Bellyfeel: an unfeeling and enthusiastic acceptance of an idea, following without knowing or knowledge.
Blackwhite: "… this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink."
Crimestop: an idea-dump, a self-policing action to destroy any thoughts that could interfere with the action prescribed by BB. Even the essence of not getting rid of these thoughts is a Thoughtcrime.
Dayorder: Order of the day.
“Consider, for example, such a typical sentence from a Times leading article as “Oldthinkers unbellyfeel Ingsoc.” The shortest rendering one could make of this in Oldspeak would be: “Those whose ideas were formed before the Revolution cannot have a full emotional understanding of the principles of English Socialism.” But this is not an adequate translation. … Only a person thoroughly grounded in Ingsoc could appreciate the full force of the word bellyfeel, which implied a blind, enthusiastic, and casual acceptance difficult to imagine today.—Orwell, Appendix to 1984
Doubleplus--a way to get rid of adverbs and adjectives, chopping off unruly bits of descriptive or creative language. This toweringly bad idea would thus become a "plusbad" notion; or better yet, a "doubleplusbad" idea.
Doublethink: the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in the mind at the same time and to be perfectly at home with both of them.
"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink.'
Equal: does not mean "equality" which does not exist. There are "equal" measurements and dosages and so on, but since everything is supposed to be in a state of blissful egalitarianism in Ingsoc, there is no need for a word to describe it. More important, there is no word that describes the state of missing equalities.
Facecrime: given that all people were monitored at almost all times (a sort of facial recognition system via omnipresent 'telescreens"), the wrong appearance of a facial expression coul dbe conceived of as being a crime. "
"It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself -- anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called."
Free: does not mean 'free" int eh way we think of it today, but rather as a form of anti-freedome, as in "I am free of facecrime".
Good: is what is required of the Party; Orthodoxy.
Goodthink: is a sort of non-thinking, a blending-in, an amalgamation, with "good", or an adherence to orthodoxy.
Ingsoc: English Socialism.
Issue: a child produced by goodsex.
Joycamp: anything but. This is where one would become re-indoctrinated with the correct thinking of the Party, in a forced labor camp. This is one of those words that are perhaps the most chilling, and I think not nearly as often heard in idiomatic expression when Orwell's book is discussed.
Malquoted: since BB or the Party can never be wrong, anything that is conceived of as being not-correct in terms of orthodoxy and appears in the ultra-controlled press are simply errors in reporting, malquotes.
of Love”, where there was no love, as this was the strong arm of the society, the collective of secret and torture police.
of Peace”, which is another in the progression of changes in the idea (for example) of the American "War Department" morphing into the "Department of Defense"; this goes further, to the "Ministry of Peace", which was of course anything but.
Minitrue: ”Ministry of Truth”, where "truth" was created, and re-created, as necessary. If history needed to be changed to accommodate a newly established truth, then it was made so. Everything is fluid in Minitrue.
of Plenty”, which was actually the opposite of what it was as well, a kind of Stalinist approach to keeping people needing the existing government by manufacturing the shortages that are then provided by the government.
Misprints: is related to malquote, when something that is reported not being within standard guidelines it becomes a mistake, a "misprint", which would then be identified and removed, as well as all history of the idea leading to the misprint, including the changing of history and the printed record. Wreckord.
Oldspeak: the language replaced by Newspeak. English. Not-Newspeak.
Oldthink: ideas that are outside the standard way of thinking, generally remnants of the way people thought before the coming of BB. Old=bad=wrong.
Pornosec: unit that produces pornography for the Fiction Department of the Ministry of Truth.
a tasteless gruel of non-intellectual non-stimulation, entertainment for the people of Ingsoc, a relentless flow of Nothing to dull the mind. Like televised McDonalds.
Recdep: the main character of 1984, Winston Smith, works in the”Records Department” (which was a division of the Ministry of Truth) and where the deep-diving into the changing ("rectification") of historical records took place.
And so it happens that Winston also comes into possession of the most critical enemy of the state, a simple, short book by Emmanuel Goldstein, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, which does nothing more accurately describe the society of Ingsoc. Its first chapter is famously titled "Ignorance is Strength", followed by "Freedom is Slavery" as Chapter 2 and "War is Peace" as Chapter 3. (The Goldstein "book" is located here.)
Rectify: correcting the past to suit the present needs, used by the Ministry of Truth.
a kind of audio machine that transcribes spoken words;a little vomitoria used by the Ministry of Truth, words being regurgitated into a flexible tube for redistribution as the case demands.
Telescreen: an endemic surveillance apparatus, a two-way communication device, which basically spies on everything that happens to everyone in Oceania.
Thinkpol: The Thought Police, tasked with eliminating thought crimes via the telescreen, helicopters, and informants (which woul dbe just about everyone).
Ungood: Not good. Bad.
"After all, what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in itself. Take "good", for instance. If you have a word like "good", what need is there for a word like "bad"? "Ungood" will do just as well -- better, because it's an exact opposite, which the other is not."
to higher authority. This mostly (entirely?) is in reference to a chain of command, following the orders given from a higher level in the decision chain.