An argument from Robert Hassan:
“The emergence of networked society has utterly transformed the material forms of communication and, as a consequence, the nature and function of language and power. If we exempt the claims about the wonders of the free market (an immense indemnity, admittedly), then die grosse lüge is no longer possible.
The capacity for mass self-communication has generated uncountable outlets for information-creation and sharing.
It has also meant the capacity for the production of numberless kleine lügen. Networked society is shot-through with lies, half-truths and distortions that make “truth” difficult to find, and the big lie (told again and again for effect) impossible for governments to perpetrate.
Indeed, western governments are no longer in the business of “persuasion”, only survival. And mainstream media, or what’s left of it, devotes its efforts to being heard within the noise and distraction of pervasive social media.
When the power of language dissipates, then so too does power itself – atomised to circulate endlessly through the webs of the network, never being able to settle and concentrate for long.
Icke and Macmillan’s 1984 should be judged on its own merits. One of those merits, however, shouldn’t be as a kind of “cautionary tale”, still less as something “relevant” to how the future might be. We’ve become slaves to computer technology, not party ideology.
The postmodern “surveillance state”, such as it is, makes it up as it goes along; responding to computer developments and failing to cope (in our interests or its own) with the challenges of the dissolution of language and power.
Facebook might be the closest thing we have to Big Brother today; but social media’s owners have no interest in you or me beyond extracting as much information as possible.”