War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength what do these 3 slogans mean?
This 1984 novel is constructed through paradox and contrasts. These three slogans of the Party reflect these aspects, in that the way the Party controls Oceania is actually the opposite of the propaganda it produces. Thus, according to the Party, “war is peace” means that they continually “fight” wars in order to keep peace at home.
During times of war, nations generally unite. Of course, if the people are focused on a common enemy, they are much less inclined to notice how unhappy they are in their own lives. So they make less trouble for their government. “Freedom is slavery” can be thought of in the same way: the slavery of Party members equals freedom for Party leaders. Finally, “Ignorance is strength” can be read “Your ignorance is our strength”, again meaning that the ignorance of the people translates into the strength of the government.
It goes directly into the concept of doublethink, which Emmanuel Goldstein explains through the word “blackwhite”:
But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink.
Doublethink is basically the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
“Doublethink” is the epitome of paradox, and is the key to the Party’s control. Through this concept, people can essentially “forget” the past, even when the Party changes that past weekly.
Coupled with their propaganda, it makes it nearly impossible for anyone to verify their thought…or even want to. If you can’t look up the story you thought you heard last week, how can you be sure what the truth truly is?