In which I realise George Orwell was a bit of a genius

I’m reading George Orwell’s 1984 and it’s scary how much of it resonates with me, both from my East German upbringing, and even more from my life as a Hare Krishna. (I thought it was a good thing for me at the time, ok?) But yes, absolutist regimes and religions and their need to control people’s sexuality.

I shall write more about how I think he tried to envisage the worst that humans could do to each other but stopped far short of what I’ve experienced – but first, have this

“With Julia, everything
came back to her own sexuality. As soon as this was
touched upon in any way she was capable of great acuteness.
Unlike Winston, she had grasped the inner meaning of the
Party’s sexual puritanism. It was not merely that the sex
instinct created a world of its own which was outside the
Party’s control and which therefore had to be destroyed if
possible. What was more important was that sexual privation
induced hysteria, which was desirable because it could
be transformed into war-fever and leader-worship. The way
she put it was:

‘When you make love you’re using up energy; and afterwards
you feel happy and don’t give a damn for anything.
They can’t bear you to feel like that. They want you to be
bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and
down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour.
If you’re happy inside yourself, why should you get excited
about Big Brother and the Three-Year Plans and the Two
Minutes Hate and all the rest of their bloody rot?’
That was very true, he thought. There was a direct intimate
connexion between chastity and political orthodoxy. For how
could the fear, the hatred, and the lunatic credulity
which the Party needed in its members be kept at the right
pitch, except by bottling down some powerful instinct and
using it as a driving force? The sex impulse was dangerous to
the Party, and the Party had turned it to account.”

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