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Barron's Booknotes-1984 by George Orwell-Free Book Notes
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None of the superstates will invade any of the others because:

1. They won't risk a step that might cause serious defeat.

2. "Cultural integrity" must be maintained. Oceania, for example, must keep its people ignorant of other societies. If the average citizen met the "enemy,"

a. He'd find out the "enemy" is very like himself, and "The fear, hatred, and self-righteousness on which his morale depends might evaporate."

b. He'd find conditions in all three superstates are much the same, and therefore learn that there would be no advantage to victory and no point to war.

c. He'd find that all three ruling philosophies are much alike and that the systems they support are basically the same, with the same structure, the same worship of a semi-divine leader, the same economy existing by and for continuous warfare.

Remaining in conflict, the three powers prop one another up. With no real danger of conquest, they can deny reality. In the old days, Goldstein writes, "Physical facts could not be ignored. In philosophy, or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two make five, but when one was designing a gun or an airplane they had to make four." Efficient rulers learned from past mistakes, so they needed a knowledge of history. Confronting real risks, their goals were checked by reality.


With a continuous war in which there is no real danger, the citizen's grip on reality is determined by what the Party tells him. He's like "a man in interstellar space, who has no way of knowing which direction is up and which is down." Continuous war preserves the special mental atmosphere which a hierarchical society needs, for the Higher order to maintain power.

This is an important point because it's one of the underpinnings of Party philosophy in the novel. It certainly helps explain why O'Brien, in Part Three, tries to hammer into Winston's head that "two and two equals five"- a formula that Orwell uses to stand for all the other mental acts of surrender a Party victim must make.

Goldstein writes: "The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact." By becoming continuous, war has ceased to exist. The effect would be similar if the three superstates agreed to live in peaceful isolation, each "a self-contained universe, freed forever from the sobering influence of external danger." This is the inner meaning of: WAR IS PEACE

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