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THAT FINAL PARAGRAPH BY ORWELL is highly psychologically astute, worthy of a little commentary here. Firstly, Winston (the main character in “1984”) chiding himself for having the “misunderstanding” that Big Brother was a tyrant rather than actually being a wonderful leader is extremely perceptive. To call Winston’s perception of Big Brother as a tyrant and the state as a totalitarian regime a mere “misunderstanding” shows how depleted Winston’s discernment was. To say that one’s perception of an evil regime as evil was a “needless misunderstanding” and all that was therefore needed was a slight adjustment in his understanding is disingenuous, to say the least. It presents Big Brother as a much-misunderstood benevolent leader. To see him as anything other than that is just a little “misunderstanding”, as he had now been persuaded to believe. Talk about being gaslighted! Seeing such a state as a tyranny and its leader as a tyrant is not a “misunderstanding” at all but a wise, brave, and honest conclusion. To think otherwise is like a rich old widow thinking that the handsome confidence trickster she met in the bar and who proposed to her did so because he cares about her rather than about her money!
Secondly, the reference to having placed himself in “self-willed exile from the loving breast” of the state paints a picture of that state as bringing maternal succour to its people, as a loving mother does to her offspring, and Winston as having foolishly alienated himself from the nourishment which only the state can provide to its dependent people. A great many folks have mummy/daddy issues, which leaves them highly vulnerable to exploitation by a leader or tyrannical state which says, “Give your hearts to me completely and I will look after you from the cradle to the grave”. This is exactly the same modus operandi as cults, which also prey on people’s unfulfilled need for parenting and subsequent dependence on parental substitutes like lovers or governments. Big Brother is really a Big Mummy/Daddy. Yet another reason why it is so important to deal with such issues in ourselves, so we are not wide open to manipulation by unscrupulous people or tyrannical regimes.