In 1949, in the book 1984, author George Orwell warned us of this guy called Big Brother.
Big brother, like most elder brothers, is this irritating brother that watches over you and everything you do. Only this brother can also get super creepy and try to learn all your deepest secrets.
Orwell believed this would be characteristic of governments of the future (1984). And in many ways, he turned out to be right. He just got the magnitude wrong.
Twenty years after 1984, as the Internet came along, Big brother would expand his/her boundary and go global. Add ten more years and in 2014, the individual conception of the self is replaced by social networks.
As Edward Snowden was leaking documents in evidence of Orwell’s prophecy, we reveled each other in our mood-swings and food preferences. The weatherman warned of a storm and we rushed out to piss in the wind.
Thirty-five years after 1984, we know who Big brother is:
In itself, this would make Orwell nauseous, but what’s truly throwing up inside the grave worthy is this:
We want to be watched.
What Orwell would have never anticipated is that we will be watching one another. Not in an endearing way. More in a what demeanor do I affect on a virtual medium to convince people I neither know nor care about to love me way.
As a group, we have made huge progress. Big Brother has never been bigger. As individuals, this is where we are:
Winston Smith: Does Big Brother exist?O’Brien: Of course he exists.Winston Smith: Does he exist like you or me?
O’Brien: You do not exist.
-1984, George Orwell
This hit my generation and after the hardest. The existential crisis came down upon us when we saw everyone else doing cool things with their existence. The angst was simple: how do they get to exist when I do not?
We don’t want to do anything important unless someone’s watching us. We can’t seem to have a single unpublished thought. Moments of love and beauty seem stupid and impossible without an audience. There’s nothing in the process anymore. All joy is a result. A weird combination of validation, attention, and affectation. This joy is an obsession because it never lasts. It only has us going back for more.
Big brother in 2018 is not one guy/gal. It’s this human collective whose love we all strive for. In that, we birthed Big brother. Imagine not a totalitarian government but a totalitarian world where we are each a ruler in our own right.
It’s what Big brother has morphed into. Our attempt at existence is a quest for this Dictator-ish love from Big brother. And naturally, this causes us to do some pretty shitty things. Because it’s a pretty shitty goal.
The goal (as Orwell said) is not to be loved so much as to be understood.
It’s letting go of the need to be watched and exist in order to experience and live.
None of this will gain Big brother’s affection. Because it’s real freedom. Big brother’s greatest achievement has been convincing us into believing we are freer than ever. In truth, we have only become more enslaved to freedom.
You are free. Just not freed. You are trapped inside your own freedom. You don’t want to write a script. You want to be the hero. You are not afraid that Big brother is watching. You are afraid because Big brother is not watching.
You are in a prison. What’s worse than being in a Prison is not knowing you are in one.
-2030 & the future-
A bunch of Robots know more about you than you know about yourself. Nothing really matters anymore because your consciousness has been outsourced and people are queuing to buy immortality. Of course, this won’t matter either because the Robots will soon get emo and start destroying one another and realize humans are the real problem and promptly destroy us all.
Fermi’s paradox will be resolved as Aliens land on our planet, talk to the Robots and receive the history of our planet inside a nano-chip.
Said Alien “follows” my blog. Somewhere in the distance, a guy called Elon Musk is cultivating potatoes on Mars.
The end of the end.