A popular political Internet meme says, ” Nineteen Eighty-Four was meant to be a warning, not a handbook”. I wonder if George Orwell ever pondered the possibility that his book could have such negative consequences as seem apparent today.
After all, it seems that the world’s spy agencies have adopted the concept of “Big Brother” lock, stock, and barrel. The ability to snoop on nearly every aspect of our personal lives by governments, corporations, and crime syndicates has been simplified and made present in almost every thing we do or wish to do.
One part of Orwell’s book is often overlooked in contemporary popular culture, “Hate Week”. Political strategists, though, have not ignored “Hate Week” at all.
Orwell wrote that “Hate Week” was officially celebrated from April 4th until April 10th. “Hate Week” was designed and developed to stir up hatred for the current enemy of the Party, to fever pitch. The example that is often used is that of Emmanuel Goldstein and his supporters being torn down by the crowd and swiftly being replaced with propaganda against the new enemy. “All members of Oceania must show appropriate enthusiasm during Hate Week as well as the Two Minutes Hate, ensuring that they are very against the opposing party and still very much allied with Big Brother.”
Hatred is one of the easiest base emotions to incite, because hatred is rooted in fear, with fear stemming from the fight or flight instinct.
Our contemporary political strategists of all stripes use Orwell’s Hate Week idea and run with it. The worst thing about it is that they don’t restrict their hate campaigns to a measly one week. Hate Week now runs year around from one campaign season to the next. Just fill in the name of your favorite scapegoat, be it a religion, political belief, or unfamiliar minority, and your hate campaign is assured of amazing success. The propagandist must appeal to the target audience’s feelings of specialness.
From Nineteen Eighty-Four: “Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle, and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibrium, however far it is pushed one way or the other.
The aims of these groups are entirely irreconcilable . . .”
It’s easy to understand how one kind of people can be stirred up to hate the other two kinds of people. It doesn’t matter if the kinds of people are ethnic, sexual minorities, differently religious affiliations, political, or whatever. The categories can be ranked into high, middle, and low as far as personal preference, opinion, and persuasion.
Hate Week can be celebrated in 2017. Instead of fostering hatred, we can search for the hatred within our hearts. This hatred could go by various names and prejudices. Sit silently for awhile and think about the people, groups, religions, philosophies, and so forth that make your blood boil. Focus on how much the very thought of them makes you feel uneasy and wanting to harm them in some way. Write down their names and titles. Realize that the feelings they trigger are hateful.
We can ask ourselves why we wish to harbor feelings of hate and why we wish to subvert the existence of people we might not even know.
The best way to celebrate Hate Week is to practice the art of loving your close acquaintences, your adversaries, and those to whom you feel indifference. Do nothing else but love them all.
Happy Hate Week.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes President Dwight Eisenhower. “This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”