In these days we dealt with the theme of the dystopian novel. I had already heard about what a dystopian novel was, but I was not interested in it so much because the word dystopic, was not so attractive. But I must admit that the dystopian novel are not bad at all. I mean although they are novels in which the society is the worst society that you can imagine, where you cannot think, express your opinion, you are constantly control, words like love, freedom etc., do not exist anymore, these kind of novels really trigger in you a thinking process. And once you have started thinking and asking yourself why this, why that, you won't stop because whatever answer you give makes you ask yourself another question and this leads to another one and so on. So if you really want to develop a thinking process, you need to read this kind of novels. We need to make a difference between a dystopic novel and an anti-utopian novel. The may sound similar, but actually they are not. A dystopic novel is a novel where we know that the society is a bad society and people live there and they do not have the possibility to think freely like in the novel by George Orwell “1984”, whereas in an anti-utopian novel we do not know that the society, that is described, is a bad society but we find it out later on in the novel.
I would like to write some personal ideas on the totalitarian regimes. We may think that totalitarian regimes, like the ones that are described in the novels cannot exist in our reality. But we are wrong. Think about the ones we had during World War II. This kind of totalitarianism are those who inspired novel like “1984” by Orwell. But after 70 years of evolution we may think that totalitarian regimes do not exist any more. But we are wrong again. Totalitarian regimes still exist nowadays like the ones that we find in Russia or China or even in North Korea, just to name a few.But the question that I ask myself is how can it be possible that people are still capable of being a totalitarian leaders? I mean a totalitarian regime did not bring something good and the won't ever bring good things, but unfortunately people are still incapable off seeing it. In a totalitarian regime things are not the same that we have in our country for example, and those things are described by George Orwell in his novel. In these country unfortunately things are controlled, you cannot do anything except for what you are told. I think that totalitarianism born only because people do not have any other chance. I mean if you are in a bad situation you want exit it as soon as possible, and it does not matter how, the only things that matters is to exit. And if a totalitarian regime is the solution you opt for it, because you want to exit. The same thing happened when the Nazis were born. Germany was in a very bad situation, especially financially speaking. Hitler gave them a solution, and the citizens, did not look at the consequences that their decision would bring after, but the only thing that they wanted was to exit their bad situation. What Hitler gave them was hope. But after he took it away from them. This I how a totalitarian regime born. A film that explain exactly how totalitarianism born is “V for vengeance”. The leader was elected because people need him, they trusted him, but then, power blinded him and everything went worse then before. So people opt for this kind of regime just because they need a way to go out of their bad situation. And I think that the same happens nowadays. The differences is that, now, we know the consequences that this kind of regimes bring, but those who vote for them do not see them and trust these regimes. And this shows us how we cannot understand and improve after years and years of terror.
Today we dealt with the novel 1984 by George Orwell. We had to read this novel during the summer. This novel is really well done, I mean not in the plot because as a reader I have to say that there are much better plots, but is really well done in the way Orwell express his idea of totalitarianism, the way it acts, the way he born and the way people live. One of my classmate asked the teacher why people are so obsessed with having power and control other people. At the moment I answered immediately saying that people are so obsessed because it is in human nature to be superior to the other. But then during the day I started to asking myself if it was the correct answer. I mean is that the real answer, is there a real answer or not?Having the power means having control on everything. It means controlling what others do and it mean knowing whether they are a problem or not. Having power means not only this, it means being able to do whatever you want, because you can do it. If you control things it means you know, if you know nobody will stop you. But the real questions is, do leaders really have the power to control things, or it is the opposite, does power have leaders in it hands? We need to think about it, it is not easy to answer. Because are we sure that leaders have really the qualities to hold the power. It is not easy being in control of everything. If you can control everything you are good at it, but we are human and we cannot control everything. And sooner or later this power will take over us. And we have seen it too many times. We saw it during the second world war, we see it in the past when there was the Roman Empire, we see it nowadays and we will always see it. We should reflect upon this. I think that books like “1984” really trigger in you a thinking process that have no ending and it is something really positive. We should think and look for the answer ourself. I am thinking about one thing we did in a novel in the German classes. In this novel journalists control news and sometimes they create them. It is absurd, if we think about it, but this shows us that we cannot trust media at 100 per cent, we need to double-check news.
Today I want to talk about brainwashing. In 1984 brainwashing is something that happened every single minute of every single day of people's lives. In this book brainwashing is made through the “telescreen” which are little screen that broadcast continuously the news. But the fact is that this news are not true. Those people are incapable of thinking and they accept for real things that we as readers cannot believe at all, because they are really impossible. If you listen every single day of your life to the same news over and over again, you get used to it and you stop thinking on our own. Brainwashing is really important for people who want a totalitarian regime, because you have under your control thousands and thousand of people, that do what you want and do not go against you. Brainwashing does not only happen thanks to television, it also happens thanks to the radio. We saw it even in the two wars that we had the last century with propaganda. You look at those big posters and you start think that what they said was true, that was right. And the fact that as soon as you are brainwashed, you cannot think freely, you do not have your way of thinking, therefore you say what the other want you to say. You hear what the other wants you to hear and you believe in what the other want you to believe in. People are like zombies ( if I can use this word) because they live without living. I mean they are still alive people, but they cannot do what they want, they do not think on their own, they are just puppets controlled by puppeteers, who use the real knowledge for the detriment of human kind. They have no will, they cannot rebel and they cannot do things without being observed. If you can control people, you can do whatever you want without any problem. If we think about it, we are brainwashed also nowadays, without knowing it. When we see the news, we are given sometimes just a part of them, which means that we do not know them all. So we in some way are controlled. The differences are that we have the possibility to go and look for all the news and see everything on the internet. But the fact is that we are so lazy that we do not go and look for them, and we accept everything we are told. This means that we accept to live in the shadows and in the ignorance. I personally thing that we should always double-check what we are said, because we never know what the truth is. If we look for the information we can come out with our answer and with the most possible truth fro us. But if we don't, we accept the truth we are given, even if it is completely the opposite of what it is in reality.
Today I was thinking about 1984 and how people are brainwashed and I thought about another book that I have read for school. It is “The Circle”. It is a dystopic novel that I read three years ago. In this novel people were control by little camera invisible at naked eye. You could not see them but they could see you. I think that being control would make everyone feel uncomfortable, but they are created to control people and to create somehow a better society. Sometimes when things are created to have a better society, they somehow create new things that are negative. I mean think about guns. It may be banal and someone takes it for granted, but guns were created to protect ourselves, although we all know that a gun can take away a life. But look how they are used now, they are used to kill people, and the majority of the time innocent people. Think about how the last discoveries on illnesses lost their truck. At the beginning we needed to find out a way to fight some illnesses and wipe out them. But now researchers find out a way to use illnesses against others, with this I mean obviously the chemical weapons. We are surrounded by these things. And people in the twentieth century didn't even know about these things, but they were able to envision them and write them down in novel to warn us. These dystopian novels say something that we already know about our society, so it sounds weird when we listen to these things, but we have to think that they were written when people could never ever imagine a society like those written in 1984, Brave new world etc., so they had a strong impact upon the reader. They were so good at it.
Another aspect that we dealt with in class was the language and how it is used to influenced people. There is a statement that we read in class, which was “language is power”. I personally think that it is true. I mean think about all the greatest but also, unfortunately, bad people who were kings, who ruled a country. They were there because of their capability to involve people, to communicate to them. For example Mussolini or Hitler, they were not at the power and the were not there to run a country because of nothing. They were there because they were really good at speaking and they were capable of making people hear what they wanted them to hear. They had a very strong impact on people but also they had knowledge, more then we think. But we do not need to go that far back in time. We can see it nowadays. Look at our government, but look also at the American election. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are voted and substantiated by people who love them. Why? Because they are good at speaking and they can involve people. Another one is Gandhi, who became the spokesperson of India. Nelson Mandela is another great man who fought against apartheid and racism, who fought for equality. Rosa Sparks, Martin Luther King are other example of great men and women who had a great knowledge. For them language was power, every single words that they said was stronger then the one before. So language is power. If you know you, you can do whatever you want. Language has the power that weapons or muscles do not have. Knowledge is more important then we think, if we do not have it, we would be were we are now.
There was a sentence that was said by a character in the novel and was “..our range of words is decreasing every year. Our vocabulary is the shortest in the world”. I was thinking about this when I was coming back home and I decided to write a few things about this. To link with what a wrote some days ago, language is power only if you have the words to express your own idea but if you do not have the words you cannot speak up your mind. And in a novel like 1984 you do not have the possibility to have a large range of words, with which you can express your own ideas. Why is this so? Because in this way you cannot rebel. If you do not have words, you do not have knowledge. Every word has its purpose, if we delete some of them, it won't be easy to speak and say what you want to say. Think about it. Even today we are creating new words to express new things, new terms etc. So why would anyone delete words and do not give people the possibility to speak up their minds? And of course the answer is someone, who does not want you to go against him. It is a way to control you and to put you in a room where you do not have the right keys to go out. If you do not have the right key you will be trapped and you will not have the possibility to go away. Without words and knowledge we have not the possibility to think and say what we are thinking, it would be as if we were in a maze without exit.
I have seen the speech of the film “The Great Dictator” recently. In this speech, Charlin Cheplin said a sentence that make me think a lot about the dystopian world and 1984. “Greed has poisoned human's soul”. I think that this sentence explain why people are so obsessed with the idea of gaining power and controlling other people. And this is the reason why we have dictators, who control people. Human's soul is really unstable, if I can use this word. I mean we are extremely influenced by our emotions. We are greed and envy, and we think that the solution is gaining power and being superior to the other. In this way we think that we can avoid the feeling of being in the second place. Charlin Cheplin said also another sentence which I linked with what I said before, “we have the power to make this life a beautiful adventure”. I think that it is true. Our soul was poisoned by greed, but I think that although there are bad people in this world, we have also good people and I think that these people can make a difference. I mean they can make the world a better place. But I think that if we want to change we need to start now and WE need to change. This world can still give something.
I have seen another video by a famous film, which is “V for vengeance”. In this film the protagonist at the beginning make and important speech. It was extremely inspirational, and I invite everyone to see it. I cannot write down all the speech but some words yes. He said “.. words will always retain their power, words for the means to meaning it for those who listen the enunciation of truth...”. This film talks about dictator and I liked it with the novel 1984. With such a speech a immediately related to the novel. Words will always have their power, because they are intangible and immortal, as long as someone reminds them and use them. I linked this with the novel because in this novel the range of words is limited. Words have their power if they are a lot and multiple, not if they are just a few and always the same, because then you repeat yourself and you do not have the power that the words endowed you to have. Words have the power to create but also to destroy. They can influence people. Words can be used in different ways, good and bad. It is up to you in which way you use them. Words are very important to describe things, to explain your point of you etc., you just need to use them.
There was a questions that was difficult for me to answer. How can we change language? It may be simple but it is not. We can change language by introducing new words to increase our vocabulary. But there is something I have read that astonishes me. We can change our language also through the use of acronyms. I have never thought about this. But this is true, instead of using the words European Union we can write or say EU which have the same meaning but it is not the same. Our language changes every day, we use English words, such as computer, meeting, media etc. in Italy where the mother tongue is Italian. This is another way to change our language. The fact is that as long as we change our language because of necessity, I mean because we are evolving and we need new to use new terms to refer to new things, it is good. But when we decided to change our vocabulary because in this way we can control people, just for the detriment of human kind this is not good at all. But the real question is why should we change our language? Is there a purpose to change it? We are living in a world where we are getting in touch with every country, so there is the necessity to change our language.
We have dealt with the word “history” in class recently. In 1984 history is literally created by men, and it is controlled and manipulated. How is it possible? I was thinking, what if whatever they have told us is a fake and what if we are living in a world where whatever we do, is controlled and decided by others. I cannot imagine something like that. I love history because it taught a lot to human beings, but I cannot imagine that all I have studied did not happen at all. I think that history is important for us because we can learn from it to become better, although this rarely happens. There is a film that explain us what I said, which is “The Truman Show” by Jim Carrey. In this film the character lives in a world were everything and everybody are fake. Things had being programmed before the birth of the protagonist. This is the same that happens in 1984 or in other novels like “brave new world”. I am terrified by the lack of freedom that we missed in a society like that.
Today we talked at school for a while about the history and the holocaust and I immediately link that with 1984. Let me explain why. In the novel history is control, better said is created and changed and manipulated whenever the party want it. If it was so in our society things like the holocaust would be imagination, would not exist at all. We may think that these things did not happen in our society, but we are wrong. This links me with what we did in the history classes about “Denial”. Some people deny that the holocaust exist, deny the fact, that all the people that died in the “ working camp”, existed. But this is insane. The holocaust is real, people really died in those camps. History must be kept alive forever because otherwise, like one old philosopher named Hegel said, if we forget history it would be as if we had to live those terrible events again and personally speaking I don't want to live the holocaust again. History taught us a lot, but human beings are not good at learning. We continue to make the same mistakes over and over again.
We have dealt with the novel “Animal farm” by George Orwell recently. This book in comparison to 1984 is an anti-utopic novel. The difference is that at the beginning we do not expect that after the animals has rebelled against the farmers, in the farm is established a dictatorship. But little by little we understand that the living conditions of the animals did not change at all, instead they became worse. I think that this is what happens when a dictator gains power. I mean it does not always happen but we can learn it from history. Think about Hitler, he promise to solve the unemployment, people vote for him, but then when he gained the power he did not do anything else but starting a war. I think about a film which is “ V for vengeance” and here we see the same that happened 70 years ago. People voted for a man to solve their problem without thinking about the consequences. So I think that we should think deeply and properly when we need to vote and see whether I should vote for someone or not. The same happened in this novel. Napoleon was the leader, he was at the power and all the other animal agreed, but the differences is that he has the knowledge and all the other animals don't. They trusted someone, because they thought that he could solve their problem but then he started thinking for himself and nobody else.
Today we dealt with the theme of knowledge and language. And as I wrote few weeks ago knowledge is extremely important if we do not want to be cheated on. If we lack the possibility to speak and speak up our ideas then we are trapped. But we are also trapped if we do not have the knowledge to understand what somebody else is saying to us. I mean if we cannot understand what the other person is saying to us we cannot see things clear, better said we believe whatever we are been told. And the same is in the novel, all the animals but the pigs cannot neither read nor write. That means that they are cheated every time. I think that knowledge is what keep us on truck. I mean knowledge is a way of understand things from different points of view, think clearly, choose the good instead of the bad. Somebody underestimate the power of knowledge but this is something that unfortunately not of us has, in fact somebody cannot neither write nor read. The way to knowledge is a hard way, but it is worthwhile. As I said few times ago knowledge is extremely important.
Today I want to deal with the theme “ power blinds people”. This theme is also dealt in Animal Farm. The pursuit of power was always something everybody wanted. When somebody gains it, he can lose control. With this I mean that they are so blinded by power that they cannot realized what they are doing. Power is something that everybody wants, but not everybody can control. The same happens in the novel, when the pigs gained power they realized that with it they could do whatever they wanted, but at the end they couldn't control it and they “perish” to it. We think that when we have power we can control things and we can do whatever we want, “who has power can rule” someone said, but it is not so. Power is a double-blade knife, it can improve someone's life but it can also ruin it. Only few people deserve to have power, but of course those who have it are always the wrong one. They think they can manage to control it but sooner or later they succumb to its strength. When you have the power you think you can control everyone and everything, but you forget the majority of the times, why you gained it, why you have it, and this explain way it blinds people.
The new novel that is part of the dystopic world is Brave new world. The themes are a lot, and today I want to deal with the theme of consumerism, which is the main theme among all the other. In the novel consumerism is something that cannot be eliminated, but it can only increase. The only thing that makes people happy is buying things, over and over again, even if they do not need them. It does not have an end. Consumerism is something wonderful for those people. Imagine, you can buy whatever you want, whenever you like and as much as you wish. That would make people really happy. But the fact behind it, is that through consumerism you are controlled by the system. But it is not the same control that we used to have in the novel 1984, this is exactly the opposite here you can do whatever you like. It is as if the freer you are, the happier you are. If you are free to buy everything you want, you do not rebel because you are satisfied with yourself, with what you buy and with what you are given. It is a good way to control people. A film that crosses my mind was “The Grinch” it does not exactly deal with the dystopian world but it deals with the them of consumerism and it is a critic on it. Consumerism is something that cannot be stopped, because as long as we consume and buy things, it will exist, but the only thing we can do is to slow it down by not buy things. Consumerism is a part of our society and we need to accept it. We are part of it and we increase it, because we buy things. But the differences is that in our society we are buy not as much as the people in the novel do. Why? Because we do not spend our many on everything we see, but we buy things that are useful, not every times, and that do not cost very much.
Another theme of Brave new world is the theme of happiness, which means that everybody can take without problem a drug called “soma”, which is similar to our ecstasy. With this drug people are happy and to please themselves even more they have an orgy, called also from the other orgy-porgy. People here are happy and they can take drugs with no problem. The society that is sold to us from the author is a wonderful society, I mean you can buy whatever you want, you can have sex whenever you like, you can take drugs and you are happy. It is a wonderful society. The fact is that we see just the cover of the book not what is written in it. In fact through the novel we realized that the society we were described at the beginning is not so good as we thought, there are things that disgust as if we think rationally about them, but for those who live in a society like that, things are normal because their capability of free thinking and critical thinking is cancelled from their birth. There are different way to control people, in my opinion this is the most functional because in this case you are sure that nobody will rebel because they have what they want, you do not deny anything to them, they are happy and they do not realize it, whereas in the novel 1984 or Animal Farm, those who are controlled are denied everything and they are unhappy. They cannot speak up their mind, they cannot write, they cannot read the truth, they believe in whatever they system tells them and so on. We should reflect a lot on these things. The majority of the time we take them for granted, because we supposed to know things and we do not even look for them to see if they are true or not, and this is our mistake. We must always double-check things, we are never 100 per cent sure.
Another theme that is present in the novel “Brave new world” is the theme of “experiments”. If we think about experiment we usually think about those chemical experiment that we do in the lab. The experiment in the novel are actually run in a lab but they are run to control people since they are born, not from a natural birth but they are actually test. Tube children. I will deal with this later. So these experiment are run to make children hate nature and books. This is absolutely abnormal if we think about it, how is it possible to run test on children just to make them hate nature and books? This is a way to control people, from the very beginning. Children are known to be very good at learning. If we make them hate something from the beginning they will hate it forever. And what must we do to make them hate something? We let them see something and through pain we teach them how to hate things. This is wonderful if we see it through the eyes of a totalitarian leaders. You wipe out any attempt to rebel from the beginning, which means that you don't need to thinks about it later. This is something that is absolutely abnormal, unbelievable today. Our morality says us that this things are insane. But those experiments were done not more then 70 years ago, when Hitler was the leader of Germany. He used to run experiment on children to find out a way to change the colour of the eyes. But was not only that, he also did other more horrible things. Soldiers used to put children on a line give them toys and at the top of their happiness they would kill them. It was similar to what happens in the novel. While in the novel they are electrified in order to make them hate some things, here they are killed. The difference is that in the novel people are very important for the system, which does not mean that the system cares about them, but they are useful because they buy things, drugs and so on. Previously I mentioned the test-tube children. In the novel there are no more natural birth, there are only birth that are control from the beginning. You can decide whether the child must have green eyes, instead of blue ones, you can decide whether the child must have black hair, instead of brown one. You can control everything. The consequence is that all children are alike. This fact make me think about how human being can be crazy. What right has someone to change the characteristic of a child. You have no right to control people and decide for others. It is something against nature. I mean, on one hand changing little think is good only if we want to correct some genetic disease that a child could have, but on the other hand changing the colour of the hair or eyes, that is not the right use of knowledge and technology, that is a misuse. At the beginning things are done in order to improve things, but then they lose their truck. There is a thin line that divide what is good from what is not, and it is so easy to surpass it, and we do not realize it. But in the novel this is not the case. I mean they surpass on purpose the line, to have power and to control people. The same thing happened in the novel “Frankenstein” when the monster is created. In this novel science is used in a bad way, better said is use to create a monster to prove that God is not the only one who can give birth to a man, but everything has its cost. In fact in the novel the monster goes against his creator, only because Dr. Frankenstein abandons him without giving him the right education. In “Brave new world” science is used in the same way, but not to do the same thing as in “Frankenstein”, but to have more “slave” if I can use this expression, because let's say it, they can do whatever they want. But the fact is that in the background there is the system that makes them do what they want them to do. In the novel there are people, who are not controlled by the system. They are born in a natural way and they are free to do what the want, but of course it is not the same thing that people in the city do. They are free and their thoughts are the opposite of the ones that are in the city. Let's say it, if in the city consumerism is something positive, here people do not have it. Their thoughts are more similar to the ones that we in our society have, instead the ones that the people in the city have, are the opposite of ours. Another fact that stroke me is that in the novel women are described as they were cows. As I said before there are no more natural birth, but children need to be fed and they need milk. Women are used to produce milk, which means that they are in a special room where there are machines that suck out of their breast milk. This explains why women are described as they were cows. And the fact that is the most absurd is that they are happy to do it, they do not even think about how disgusting this thing is. Because they think that this is something normal. In the novel there is a passage where Mustaffa Mond, the director of the city, the man, who controls everything, from the birth, to the brainwashing of the children etc., says to a group of student that in the past birth were natural, that having sex was something only for having children was something abnormal, that living with your family was abnormal. And these student were disgusted by hearing these things. And the first thing that I thought was “what?? Are they serious?”. If we think about it how can it be a natural birth something abnormal. It is the most natural thing in the world. But we need to thing that we are in an anti-utopic world. But this make us think about how history can be controlled, manipulated and changed, from those who have power, which is the same thing that happens in the novel 1984.
We have dealt with the novel “The lord of the flies” recently. In this novel the protagonists are children, who had to survive in a desert island. It is a little bit weird knowing that the protagonists of the novel are children. We usually read novels where the protagonists are adults or at least teenagers. Children are usually the symbol of innocence, but in the novel it is not so. At the beginning children are all united, because they know that staying together means being strong, but sooner they find out the fear can control everybody. This means that they think that in the island there is a beast and they are afraid of it. We all know that children are afraid of the beasts, whatever beast could be. In the novel there is a child that know that there is a beast, although it is just the imagination of children, and he want to hunt it. The fact that they are afraid of this beast make them do something they could not possibly do before, which means killing another child. Fear can control people, fear is what makes people do what they would never ever do. It could be everything. People are afraid of they do not understand. How many time it happens? Sometimes we are afraid of something very stupid. Other times we are afraid of something we cannot understand. Think about death. We are afraid of dying and this makes us do everything possible not to die in order to survive. We want to live and we are looking for everything possible that will make us live forever. But this is not possible. We are all afraid of something, and we all made something because we were afraid of it. The re is no difference between we and the children in the novel. It does not matter how old are we. The only difference is that we fears different things, and the more we are afraid of something, the more this thing make us do the worst things possible.
Fahrenheit 451 is another distopian novel that we read at school. As every books there are some main themes and the one that I want to deal with is the importance of books. Books are the symbol of knowledge, through books we read, we learn and understand new things. Books are not only history books, though through them we know how history went. But there are different kind of books: fantasy, science, autobiographical, dystopia, etc. It does not matter what kind of book we read, books are important for what they represent. If we read books, we learn new things, if we learn new things, we learn better how the world goes and we see it through a different prospective. In the novel books are forbidden, people cannot read books, so they cannot have the right knowledge. The author himself said that if you want control people, you just need to forbid people to read books. Though in the novel books are forbidden because they are “potentially dangerous”, the novel itself is a exaltation of the importance of books. Because this novel tells us how would be a society without books and how would be people without the knowledge that books give them. So the book itself is important, not only for what is written inside but for what it represent.
In the novel Fahrenheit 451 books are burned, because in this way you wipe out every possibility for people to have knowledge, to learn new things. If you burn books you do not only wipe out the knowledge, you can also wipe out history. This so called book burning, is not just fantasy, it really happened in 1933, under Hitler's power. The book burning in Germany was meant to wipe out every kind of references linked to Jews. Hitler tried to burned every single book written by Jewish people. There is a film that is linked to this fact. This film is “Monument men”. In this film an actor said: “if you kill a folk, they will always find out a way to get back home, but you burn their books, if burn their art, if you destroy their culture, it would be as if they had never existed” and I think this is extremely linked to the reason why burning book was important for Hitler. I personally think that burning book is the easiest way to wipe out proof of something. We saw it when the Nazis lost the war, they immediately burned the proof of what they had done. We saw it in the novel 1984, they burn the paper where there was written history. If you burn things, then you have no other chance to take them back. Once they are gone, they are gone. This way of thinking amazes because I could never imagine that human being could go so insane. Another reference to the past is what did Stalin in Russia. When people started to disappear, the proof of their existence were removed, burned. I mean photographs, stamps, and whatever was linked to them. Now we think that with technology we are safe. I mean we do not lose things, and we do not run the risk that these things are burned. But we are wrong. Technology, on this side, perhaps, is more dangerous then the fire. Because fire burns things, and that is all. Technology do not lose your things, but if your things are hacked they can be used against you, or they can be substituted with something worse. So this make us think about a lot of things. Food for thoughts I say.
Books are important because through them we read, learn and study new things. They are a way of gaining knowledge. It is a pleasure to read them. When I read I could stay hours and hours there lying on my bed. Books must not be taken as a burden, “we need to read”, “school sucks” etc., but they should be taken as a way of getting aware of facts you didn't know before. They are a pleasure. And talking about this, today I want to talk about the first line of the novel Fahrenheit 451. The first line says “it was a pleasure burning books”, here the author plays with the fact that reading books is a pleasure and the fact that in the novel book were not allowed. Every time that I think about it I laugh because I can understand the play on words that he does, but I cannot understand why forbid to read books. I mean they are the most beautiful things on the face of this planet, I would get lost without them, I could not think properly without them. Maybe it is exactly this, the reason why book are forbidden in the novel. We take for granted the importance of books, because we were born with them, we use them everyday. But the real fact is that without them we would really get lost. The main protagonist of the novel himself could not resist the power of books. In one scene of the novel he was supposed to burn books, and while taking the books in a pile his eyes read a short line. He could not even resist to read it and the most surprising thing is that he, person who was supposed to destroy books and do not even read one, read just one line in a second and he could not forget it! Later in the novel he starts reading novel, and finds out the pleasure of books himself. So the moral is that we cannot resist the power of books, language, literature and words.
One theme I want to deal with today is this “ controlling with fear and terror”, which is one of the theme in the novel Fahrenheit 451. As we saw it lots of times in the novels I mentioned, people do not react when they are controlled by fear. We see it also nowadays. In the novel people are controlled by terror, because they are not allowed to read book, and if they are caught red-handed, they will be capture and put in prison. Fireman, who are the are supposed to extinguish fire, set books on fire. In fact the main character, who is Monday, is a fireman. They are not afraid to set person on fire too. That's way people have fear, and they do not read books. This make me think about one fact that told Heinrich Heine, a German writer and poet. He said that when people would start burning book, they would also start burning people and this is exactly what happened in the novel, but also what is more terrifying in the reality when Hitler was the leader of Germany. This gives me always goose-flesh, whenever I say it. I have already said it before in an another excerpt that I have written, but I want to expand it. Without books, we don't have knowledge and if we don't have knowledge we cannot rebel, so that's why people in the novel are not allowed to read. If I weren't allowed to read books, I would go insane, I mean books are important because they give you knowledge. They give you the possibility to see thing and the world through a different prospective. They give you they possibility to have an opened mind. What I want to say is that we should take books a little bit more serious, and read them with passion, and not read them superficially.
I have seen an episode of the TV-series “Black mirror”. This TV-series is a series that deal with dystopia. This episode was fraught with themes of the dystopian novel that I have written in this diary. In this episode there was consumerism, the control of people, sex etc. in this episode I could see everything we done at school. This episode was link with the novel 1984 for the fact that people were obliged to watch the TV, otherwise a siren would start to ring loudly, till the person decided to watch the screen again. They were control and they could not do anything else but cycling on a virtual bike to gain virtual money, to use it to pay what they eat, what they used, what they watch and so on. They could also buy new item for their avatar, which is absurd I think. They spend their all life there without doing anything else but cycling and buying things, they don't even use, because they are just virtual. This morbose buying is link with the theme of consumerism, and this makes me think about the novel “Brave new world”. In the episode they buy and buy without even think about it. For my perspective is a little bit alienating all of this, I mean I would go crazy if I lived in such a world. Even if this might be cool, I mean you can buy whatever you want and you are not even judge for what you buy. And then there is conformism. In this episode there were people who realised where they were. Someone just stayed there and behave as if it all of that was normal, others instead tried to do something to rebel but they all felt in the attempt to doing that. They did not die but they were obliged at the end to conform to the system, because it does not allowed anyone to escape or rebel. Either you are in it and you respect the “rule” or you are out, and with out I mean you are dead.
When we read a book we should not only read a book on for the sake of reading, we should think. Books are a way to develop our critical thinking. Reading expand you way of thinking, because when you read you start thinking about what is written in the book, and you start thinking about what you think about what is said. You start thinking about every possibilities. Books also allow you to discuss with other people, which means to know their opinion, see their point of view and perhaps create your own or change the one that you have. Books are a very important thing in our society. We must not think about books like a burden we have to carry on our shoulders. But like a chance we have to improve our personality, our way of thinking, our way of behaving, etc. Just think about it, how many time happens, tat after reading a book we know something we didn't know before, and we started investigating about what we read? And how many time we changed our mind about a subject or we created our own opinion about something. We should not underestimate the power that books have. As a love eating a always say to my friends “you are what you eat”, but in this case I would like to change it in this case “you are what you read”, which is much better.
We have dealt with Charles Dickens recently and I want to spend a few words on the age we are talking about. We are in the second half of the 18th century and we are facing the second industrial revolution. It an age of transformation and innovation, but also an age of colonialism. In fact in these years the great powerful men of Europe started to compete with each other to colonize new lands and expands their horizons. It is an age of reforms and compromises if we are talking about England, with the new queen Victoria. She is also called “The big white mother” which refers to the fact that those, who were colonized were educated because they were considered savages because of their culture, and they would always be helped by this “white mother”, because she would always take care of them, not because she actually care of them but because of the lands and the materials England needed from them. This is an age of a lot of change. The society is changed and the people with it. The majority of the time we are given the “upper society”, which means the society that everybody look in order not to look the “underworld”, that Dickens describe us in his works. So we need to face all of this. On one hand this age is an age of extremely important transformation, on the other hand lots of people suffered because of this and they were always the poor ones. The fact is that we all take it for granted or we do not even care about it, which is more terrible. At the end of the century the alienation that we have is growing, people are alienated. They do not think like a single but they think like a mass. This is caused by consumerism and everything is control by the capitalist world. If it weren't for them there wouldn't be money to invest on something and there wouldn't be object to buy. Consumerism is caused also by the fact that we are in the second industrial revolution where there are lot of technological discoveries that endowed us with the possibility to produce more object then usual and to increase consumerism and the money that the capitalist could invest on industries.
In the novel “Oliver Twist” by Charles dickens we are described the conditions child lived in but also the so called underworld of London, known by everyone and ignored by everyone except for those who lived in, because they had to face this life every single day. It is really terrible if we think about it. Think about the children who had to live there, where there was mad, pee and their excrement. Think about the smell that there was but although the reforms we still had this situation. If we think about it some things are not changed at all in our society. We still have this differences between classes but also we know that there are places that are in the same condition the place in the novel are, and we act as if they did not exist. We go on living our lives without thinking about this. Is this possible? I mean, how can we be so hypocritical? When we are in trouble we want someone to help us. It does not matter if this person has some problems, we want him to help us. But when are others on trouble we turn our back on them. We are in the 21st century how is it possible the human mind has grown and the human heart has not? We should really reflect upon this. Some people live in terrible condition and sometimes we complain about the fact that we do not have the last model of smart phone or television, but we do not even think that we have a roof over our head and there is some that do not even have a house. I say we must think, think and think.
Today we did the novel “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens and as everybody knows the main character is Ebenizer Scrooge, this name is become so popular that refer to a person who do not want to spend his money and keep them all for himself. Being a Scrooge is something that we all are. I do not mean like the character of the novel but sometimes we prefer not to spend our money for someone else or even for us. And I think that this is caused also by our society. We live in a frenetic society, where consumerism take us all in his hands. We spend and buy, spend and buy, without even think about it, but sooner or later come that moment when we stop and think “Gosh I spend so much that I do not have money any longer”, and in that moment we realized that money are something that we cannot live without, otherwise we cannot buy things, and it is in that very moment that we tend not to give them to people who need them, or to buy things that are not useful for us at the moment. We are all Scrooge in our way, we deny it and tell the opposite but we cannot deny it and lie to ourselves. It is nothing to be afraid of, we are human it is normal to think first for ourselves and then for the others, but what make as hypocrite is that as long as the other help us we are happy, but when it come the moment, that will always come sooner or later, to help other we are so sloppy and Scrooge that we do not ant to help. We should blame ourselves not the other for what we are and do. Let's face it. It is too easy to blame somebody else, first of all we should look in the mirror and talk to ourselves and criticize what we see and then, I say only then, criticize the others.
In the last years of the 20th century colonialism in England was really important as I said in an other paragraph. Now that we are living in the 21st century we think that it is something impossible but there were some people in the past that thought that colonialism was something really important for the country but also for those who were colonized. In the poem “ the white men's burden” is explained by the author Kipling how important was for him and England colonialism. Like the title said it is a burden for Whites the fact that they have to colonize and they have to educate those savages. He truly believed in it. We need to understand that it was a different society, a different age, a different way of thinking. It is easy to judge now because we know what is right or not for human beings. Someone said we are dwarf on the shoulders of giant, which does not mean that we know more than the people in the past, but we understood in few years of our upbringing, what human beings have understood in years of their lives. For example we know what human rights are, better then the people in the past because we look how history went and we have understood in few years what the people in the past have not understood in few years, but in 30-40-50 years of their lives. Coming back to what I was writing I say that we do thing on purpose otherwise we wouldn't have done them, and if for someone colonialism was something positive there should have been a reason and we should respect that reason, but we cannot respect what this decision brought to all those people. If there is something that we all learn in our life is that from mistakes we can improve, but the fact is that we just say it and we do not improve when we make a mistake because human beings continue to do the same mistakes over and over again from one generation to another. And an example in colonialism. We still do not understand the real meaning of human rights. The last century was a terrible century if we think about the two world wars that the world had to face. We have lost lots and lots of people but we have learnt nothing at all. There is still discrimination of people, there is always the idea that someone is superior to the other etc. and everything is started when someone thought that if we colonize someone is just because we want to help him. Is it really so? As Manzoni said to the coming ones the conclusions.
Like everyone knows Oscar Wilde was a dandy. And he had an extravagant way of dressing. He always said that it is better to be talked than not to be talked at all. And I definitely agree with him. If you are talked it means that you are important in some way. If you are talked it means that you have done something worth to be remembered. Why should I care? I mean why should I care what the other say about me. I am what I want to be, why should other judge me. In our society we have to dress in a certain way, we have to behave in another way etc. If there is someone that is different out there, we are like vultures ready to judge him, it is too strong for us not to judge. There is too much envy in our society and this is the main reason why people judge others. I don't care about what others say the only thing that makes me angry is that why should they do it. It is so important to talked about the other, is it so important to mock others? And the answer is unfortunately yes. Every day we see people, who mock others. And I really do not stand that. But we need to face it and go on, this is something that we cannot control and avoid. It is part of our society, mocking others I mean, and we need to accept it. And the absurd thing is that if you change your way of being and start acting like others want you to be, you are judged because you changed!!! And then what should you do? I always say if people want something to talk about and someone to mock, why do not give them. There was a character in the novel “how to kill a mockingbird” that did the same. People thought that he was a drunker, because he behaved like he were drunk, he had always in his hand something to drink that was covered, so nobody was certain about what he was drinking, but they thought that as he looked like a drunker, what he was drinking was alcohol. But at the end was just cane of coke. He gave people something in order to be talked about. Should we blame him? I personally do not blame him. I blame society. This is just the opinion of a student, so you, reader, can agree or not. Take it with a pinch of salt.
We have dealt with “The picture of Dorian Grey” by Oscar Wilde recently. And about that there was a picture some days ago that with the imagine of Oscar Wilde on the background and over it there was written : “you cannot get old if you make it do to a picture”. And I laughed a lot. Because it is true. But the fact is that sooner or later you have to deal with your past and accept what you did. There are two possibilities either you embrace your past or you succumb to it. And it is what happened to Dorian. He tried so hard not to become what he was afraid to become, which is old and ugly, that at the end he had no other choice if not killing himself and getting old. And at the end he became what he try so hard not to become. We are the result of our choices. We cannot avoid our past, if we try, sooner or later it will knock at our door and we will not have the possibility to get away. We will have to face it. But if we accept what we did, we want have problem. It will be hard at the moment but then we will go ahead. Isn't it so? I have a stupid example but if it works it is not so stupid. How many times we told a lie, sometime they were lies for a good reason other times they were lies to avoid pain to us an other. But there is always a day when the truth comes out. And it is in that day that we have to face what we did. And either we face it or we face it. There is no other choice. As my grandmother always say, the truth hurts but a lie hurts a hundred times more. Believe it or not.
Few days ago when I talked about why we are all Scrooge, I said that first we have to blame ourself and then the other. That is something we talked at school dealing with “The Picture of Dorian Grey”. At the end of the story Dorian started to blame everybody else but him. It is normal to blame everybody else except from ourselves, when we do something. It is easier. Telling a lie it is much easier then telling the truth, isn't it? In the film “Dorian Grey” the remake of the film “The picture of Dorian Grey”, this passage is made extremely well. At he end of the film Dorian started to blame his friend for making him what he had several times said he wanted to be, but he never become so. And this shows us how easy it is to blame others instead of ourselves. But the right question is why it is easier? Why we tend to blame others instead of looking inside us? The reasons may be a lot, and for me we tend to do so because we are not brave enough to tell the truth even if we know it. For us it is easier to live with our conscious dirty because we told a lie, instead of living knowing that we told the truth and we faced what we have done. We behave in this way because we are afraid to face the truth. But as personal experience it is better to tell the truth straight away instead of telling it after days, month, years. It is much better even if for us the easiest way is telling a lie.
We all have a wall to destroy
Few days ago we dealt at school about the death pain, link with “The Ballad of Beading Gaol” by Oscar Wilde. I am not in favour of it. It is not moral. How is it possible to kill someone because he has killed someone else. If this is the reason, also the one that has killed the killer should be killed for the same reason, shouldn't he?And what is then the purpose to keep someone in jail and make him work over and over again and then kill him. There is no purpose. There is too much hypocrisy on this, now and at the time when Wilde wrote the ballad. At Wilde's time prisoners had to work, or had to do something just for the sake of doing something. Sometime there was no purpose at all. The theme that Wilde rises are a lot. And the one that caught my attention is the “Wall”, which is the wall of indifference, prejudices and hiding. Three “dangerous” words in our society. Nowadays there is so much indifference between us, that sometimes is also difficult to rise our head and saying hi to someone. Indifference that make us keep with avidity what we have, indifference that make us be so selfish and careless of people and life. Indifference that make us suffer a lot sometimes, that is ruin our life and the world. Prejudices are something else that is in our society. There are a lot of people who judge others before knowing him/her. People who do not have the right to judge, but do it anyway. It does not matter if they make others suffer, the only thing that count is talking about other and say bad think about him, even if they do not know him at all. Prejudices are also a way for the “judges” to discriminate him/her. Words are more dangerous and hurt more then the sword. And then there is hiding, something we are so good at. Something that is used to take away the truth from the knowledge of everybody. It is better that people do not know things, it is better that they ignore them. This is something that we see everyday. And the wall itself is a physical obstacle. It does not allow us to see behind, we cannot escape, we cannot destroy it, because it is too strong, it is something that make us weaker inside because we know that there is no way to go further. The wall is a tricky object it protects us, but it can also trap us, with no way out. It is not only something we can touch but it is the majority of the time something that we cannot touch but that make us feel powerless, that do not allow us to do what we could do. Think about it. Think about all the difficulties we have to face. They are a wall that make us feel powerless. Isn't it so. How many times it happened that you wanted to do something, but there was this “imaginative wall” that has forbidden us to do what we could do. And what is much worse is that it made us feel so bad. The wall does not only hurt us physically but also hurts us emotionally, hurts our inside sphere, the one that nobody else know but us. The one that we possess with avidity, the one that cannot b touch by anyone else. The only thing we need to do is going further, which means to find out a way to exceed the wall that make us stay back, the one that causes us pain and the one that make us different. The paradox is that we create the wall. And we have to exceed the walls we create, and the fact is that we create such walls so good that it is so difficult to destroy them, and go further. We need to think, before creating something that is not useful for us but create only differences and difficulties for us all.
We started talking about the war poet and I want to spend a few words on the first world war. We all now that it was a terrible war and lots of people died, but what not everybody knows is the conditions they have to live in. They had no proper uniform, boots, sometimes even weapons did not work well etc. Let's face it, we were not ready to face a war like that one and we are not ready now, even if we have the most sophisticated weapons. It is not just a matter of “ Dolce et decorum est pro patri mori”, which means serve and die for your country, it is also a matter of staying away from home lots of years, without knowing if you will be one of the survivors who will have the possibility to come back home, working a lot, living in terrible condition. It is a matter of killing someone else. This is the most terrifying thing above all. Taking away someone's life is not something that everybody can deal with, people killed themselves sometimes, because they cannot face the thing that the had done. Being at war is something that everybody want to avoid, but the fact is that war is useful fro the powerful people in order to make money and increase their economy. We started talking about the war poet and I want to spend a few words on the first world war. We all now that it was a terrible war and lots of people died, but what not everybody knows is the conditions they have to live in. They had no proper uniform, boots, sometimes even weapons did not work well etc. Let's face it, we were not ready to face a war like that one and we are not ready now, even if we have the most sophisticated weapons. It is not just a matter of “ Dolce et decorum est pro patri mori”, which means serve and die for your country, it is also a matter of staying away from home lots of years, without knowing if you will be one of the survivors who will have the possibility to come back home, working a lot, living in terrible condition. It is a matter of killing someone else. This is the most terrifying thing above all. Taking away someone's life is not something that everybody can deal with, people killed themselves sometimes, because they cannot face the thing that the had done. Being at war is something that everybody want to avoid, but the fact is that war is useful fro the powerful people in order to make money and increase their economy. We started talking about the war poet and I want to spend a few words on the first world war. We all now that it was a terrible war and lots of people died, but what not everybody knows is the conditions they have to live in. They had no proper uniform, boots, sometimes even weapons did not work well etc. Let's face it, we were not ready to face a war like that one and we are not ready now, even if we have the most sophisticated weapons. It is not just a matter of “ Dolce et decorum est pro patri mori”, which means serve and die for your country, it is also a matter of staying away from home lots of years, without knowing if you will be one of the survivors who will have the possibility to come back home, working a lot, living in terrible condition. It is a matter of killing someone else. This is the most terrifying thing above all. Taking away someone's life is not something that everybody can deal with, people killed themselves sometimes, because they cannot face the thing that the had done. Being at war is something that everybody want to avoid, but the fact is that war is useful fro the powerful people in order to make money and increase their economy. The first world war was a war that everybody want to forget, because it created a lot of consequences that we are still facing. But we cannot forget about it because we have to learn our mistakes I order not to make them anymore, we cannot forget the people that fought and died fro what they considered to be the right things to do, we cannot forget all of this because it is our duty not to forget and remember what the war was all about in those years, just a big slaughter.
During the first world war there were poets who had the strength no matter what to write poems. I personally think that they were extremely strong to write a poem in that period, I mean I would personally think only about the war. They were strong enough to write poem and thanks to these poems we have some witnesses from the front. Some of them were poet that deny the war and others that glorify it. I am not against those who wrote poems that were in favour of the war, because they truly believe in what the war would bring, but cannot agree on the fact that the war is positive. Wars do not bring anything else but dead, destroyed lands and countries. There is nothing else. We think that after war there is always peace but it is not so. We can say that there is not war. There will be always some kind of prejudices against one another, because of war. I mean how is it possible that the person I fight against one day is my enemy and the next day is no more my enemy just because they or we have lost the war? There will be always differences and there will be always someone who will think that that person is his enemy no matter what. Think about our society. After the second world war Germany was seen as the country that caused the worse the pain in the history of human kind. And still nowadays someone sees Germany not for what it I today but for what she has done. Then you do something wrong you your life you will be judge always for what that thing, no matter what you tried to do to be forgiven. About this there is a story that I want to write: One day a professor came in the class and give a piece of paper with a black point in the middle of it. It was a test and the student had to write about that piece of paper. After the deadline the professor collected the tests and started to read them. The student have written why there was a point. They came out with every absurd theory. After reading the tests the professor said that there was not theory and that that point represented the wrong thing you did in your life and no matter what, you will always be judge for that thing. So it happens the same after a war there won't ever be peace and people won't ever be united like they were equal, there will always be some differences and people will always see each other with some kind of fear.
War unfortunately is happening still nowadays, and the worst thing is that there are war that we do not imagine. There are wars that are at our door and we do not even know about them. At the moment there are 47 country that are at war. Some of them are at war with other some of them have an internal war. There are 29 states in Africa, 16 in Asia, 9 in Europe, 7 in Middle East and 6 in America. The question that I ask myself is, how is it possible that after the two biggest and worst event that humankind had to face there are still wars. But how is it possible that we do not know them all? I think that we have seen to many times bad things, that marked humankind, that perhaps, I say perhaps, it is better that we do not know all the wars that are surrounding us. But on the other hand I think that we have the right to know about these war, why cannot we know this? Wars are the most terrible thing in the world, war do not cause anything else but dead and pain. So my question is this. How is it possible that although we all know all of this there are still wars? My answer is that this war are just a pretext to gain power, but also which is much awful, is that countries live with wars which means that their economy grows because they sell weapons or their industries make them, so the money produced are a lot. How can you make many out of pain and dead? Some days ago I had to do a project for school about “being human”, and I didn't day on thing, that is the following. Money are what make us envy, what make us not human, what make us do terrible thing and what make us what we are not. They are, if I am allowed to say, the worst invention of human being. If there weren't money I think that things were much better, but we would have a different world of course. I cannot imagine how the world is, but what I can say that if there weren't money, perhaps things would change and there wouldn't be so much discriminations, so many differences and so on.
We have dealt with “war photographer” by Carol Ann Duffy recently. What this poem rises is if it is moral or immoral the job of the war photographer. I think that it depends, first of all on the person, but this is obvious. Which is much important is that, is the photographer really indifferent to what he/she photographs. Are we sure that is it so? What we are sure is that from all the picture he took, juts few of them are chosen to be put on the newspaper. And of course the ones that are the most powerful, emotionally speaking, are chosen. If we think about it the photo that we see are always those where there are children crying, where there are children that work and so on. I am not saying that those photo do not touch me, instead they really touch me. But we are getting accustomed to it. We are getting so to speak apathetic. We do not feel anything any more. Why because we always see the same pictures, and we do not pay attention on it. Think about it. How many times it happened that we see one thing every single day and one day we do not pay attention on it. We notice it only when that thing is no more there, where it used to be. And the same happened when we are looking to the same pictures over and over again. But the fact is that we do not pay so much attention because of our frenetic life. We cannot lay back otherwise we will be excluded. It is our century that does not allow us to stop for a second and look around us. We are so selfish that the thought that we have is if others do not stop, I do not stop. And I think that is what make that photographer do the job he does. I think that everybody would be touch, but the difference is that he can take his feelings out of his job, that is how he does. But should we blame him for what he does? I personally not. He is informing us about all the atrocity that surround us. I blame those that are at the top that do not do anything to change our reality, I blame those that choose the pictures that must go on the newspaper. And another thing that I think is that the photographer is not indifferent to what is happening around him in the place he goes to, to take the photos. What he is doing is not only taking a picture, he is also trying to make us understand and know what is happening in the world. We must wake up and not be indifferent.