I'm not sure I understood what you meant by the highlighted part. It's been a long time since I read 1984!Early in the morning, before dawn, I often walk to the river and sit on a small jetty. My only companions
isare a flotilla of ducks. When I first camewent there, years ago, they would quack and flutter away, but now they have become used to me and sit just a meter or two from me or bob peacefully in the water. We have become like old acquaintances who have learnt to respect each other. I often wonder what they think of me. They certainly have discussions in their duck language about a man who regularly comes to sit by the river.
“Poor human,” one of them says. “Here he is
“He is depressive,” the other says. “Sooner or later, he is going to kill himself.”
“Humans are doomed to suffering,” the third chimes in. “They make mischief, kill each other and manipulate each other as no other creatures do. They are power-hungry, greedy and never satiated.”
“But this one is different,” says the first.
“Maybe, he is", says the second. “But you can’t trust him. If he were hungry, he’d kill us without compunction.”
“Best to ignore him, adds the third. “He is beyond help anyway.”
At this time of the day, the silence is immense, broken occasionally by the regular strides of a jogger on a nearby path. A bicycle crunches past, its owner rushing to the morning shift. And then, the ducks and I are alone again, surrounded by the quiet river and the greenery. I could stay in this place forever. If I had enough food and a bed to sleep in, I would not
lackmiss my fellow humans at all. I have already reduced my contact with other people to a minimum. There was a time when I talked to almost anyone, everyone,when I was glad, positive and open like a new dawn. But something had happened years ago. It was the moment I understood I was talking to thepeople who had never been free, and dohad not known what real freedom is. When I told them what I thought of them and their society, they became angry. How dared I criticize the country that offered me refuge and saved my life? How dared I bite the hand that fed me? They were fuming with anger, and they told me I should return to my homeland, where people cut each other’s throats and tortured prisoners in the cruelest way in prison camps. They are right. I should keep quiet, like sheep or cows do. You have got a roof over your head and food on your table, and you have no right to complain. You should not even use your brain, because politicians will tell you what is right or wrong and how to behave. Your duty is to go todo your job, pay your tax and listen to the media to get the new orders for the coming days. Mr Orwell’s idea of Big Brother was crude. He could not have imagined Big Brother ensconced in every brain - millions of perfectly synchronized Big Brothers who never make a mistake, never stray from the course.
But what if by chance you say aloud, “No! This is wrong! You have no right to manipulate me; to tell me what is right or wrong. I am a free human being with a free will.”
In that case, you risk losing your job, friends, acquaintances, and reputation. You have broken a taboo, which is unforgivable. If you had stolen something, robbed a bank or went to work drunk,
to your job,people wouldmight forgive you, but since you have used your mind to find a flaw in the system, whichthat is a cardinal sin. In the eyes of others, you are either a certifiable fool or a rebel who will be marginalized for the rest of your life. Don’t be afraid, they wereare not going to punish you, or imprison you like they do in othertotalitarian systems. They will be no courts or trumped-up charges. You will slowly destroy yourself; wither away like a plant in a dark room, or shrink like a pricked balloon.
Every morning, I wake up in darkness, dress myself, and go out in the cold air. I walk through the block of flats where my neighbours still peacefully sleep, and then I take a path lined with trees down to the river. The gravel crunches under my feet, while the birds awaken with the first light and twitter and sing in the trees. I inhale deeply, letting my lungs fill with the breeze coming from the river, and I feel immediately a rush as if I have taken a drug. The ducks barley register my arrival and paddle around, occasionally dipping their heads under the surface. I sit down, splash a handful of water on my face and feel clean like a religious man performing ablutions. As the yellow line of the sunlight appears on the horizon, I pray to the river, “Protect me. Nourish me. Don’t let them kill my humanity."
Here, I am still safe. The authorities have not been interested in ducks, birds and rivers until now. But what is going happen when one day they manage to apply their manipulation techniques
onto nature and animals, and condition them to behave in a certain way which politicians deem correct? Where will I run then? Where will I hide? Who will soothe my ravaged soul?
Student or Learner