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Dune and 1984


Dunenewt

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Having just finished reading the novel Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell, I couldn't help but notice some elements of Dune which may have been influenced by 1984. 

First of all, the society that they lived in reminded me somewhat of the reign of the Atreides, post Jihad, and secondly the way Paul's history is rewritten in PoD/WoD could have been inspired by the constant rewriting of IngSoc history in 1984.  Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?  I need to reread DM/CoD/GEoD before expanding on this much more, but this is just what I've touched upon so far.

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First of all, the society that they lived in reminded me somewhat of the reign of the Atreides, post Jihad

Do you mean Muad'Dib's reign (and Alia's regency), with its Quizara Tafwid, or the reign of Leto II? I agree that Muad'Dib's priesthood created a kind of theocracy that resembles a totalitarian regime in many ways, and that the political system in the world of IngSoc that Orwell describes bears a certain similarity to a totalitarian religious sect. However, I do not think there's a clear direct correspondence between the Dune books and Nineteen Eoghty-Foru, but rather that they share a real-life tertium comparationis.

the way Paul's history is rewritten in PoD/WoD could have been inspired by the constant rewriting of IngSoc history in 1984.

The rewriting that took place in the "new Dune" universe was one-time only, as opposed to the constant rewriting of history in Orwell's novel; however, the real-life rewriting of the "new canon" is more close to the ideal ;) (With the only difference that the "new canon" introduces unpersons, instead of removing them ;D)

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Hmm ... did KJA blahg something about watching a DVD of <i>1984</i> while editing galley proofs? :P

I see little evidence of either Hack having much in the way of original ideas in their books, so it's highly likely that the idea was pinched from somewhere. And the unreliability of historians <b>is</b> a FH theme, of course.

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One more thing to add, FH emphasizes that Muad'Dib's priesthood was essentially hypocritical, and enjoyed their position as the elite of the society, while preaching modesty and other virtues to those below them. This is further elaborated on in GEoD when Leto II talks about "rhetorical despotism" with Moneo, and once again the corrupt priesthood is shown in Heretics. However, this is a theme not found in Nineteen Eighty-Four, as the Party, even widely using lies and propaganda, cannot be called hypocritical in my opinion. The power the Party holds is not of the material world, it is the ideological power that affects the minds of the people. On the contrary, the priests of Muad'Dib only use their preachings to secure their position above the rest of the population and gain access to material welfare.

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One more thing to add, FH emphasizes that Muad'Dib's priesthood was essentially hypocritical, and enjoyed their position as the elite of the society, while preaching modesty and other virtues to those below them. This is further elaborated on in GEoD when Leto II talks about "rhetorical despotism" with Moneo, and once again the corrupt priesthood is shown in Heretics. However, this is a theme not found in Nineteen Eighty-Four, as the Party, even widely using lies and propaganda, cannot be called hypocritical in my opinion.

The whole party in 1984 is built around hypocrisy, hence the concept of doublethink. 

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No no no, doublethink is not hypocrisy. Doublethink, blackwhite and crimestop are practices aimed at breaking down the minds of the people; the power of the Party lies in the fact that the ideology it enforces by such mental conditioning (and also by what was done to people in the Ministry of Love, the introduction of Newspeak etc.) completely controls the affected individuals, making them accept as a truth whatever the Party tells them, even if it is in a sharp contrast with reality. Hypocrisy doesn't stand even close to this, and certainly hypocrisy is not a mental practice of any kind.

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holding two conflicting view points at the same time, and believing both to be true

I'd say "paradox" is more appropriate here :)

Anyway, the problem of hypocrisy and doublethink as I understand it is in that hypocrisy generally operates inside the boundaries of existing morality, while doublethink, and any totalitarian ideology in general, goes beyond all morality. True, moral values can still be used as tools against certain individuals (as O'Brien plays the record of Winston saying he is willing to commit various atrocities if it will help fight the Party), but the Party itself exists and acts outside any morality as we understand it, and its aim is to impose a completely different system of thoughts and motives upon the population than the one we're all used to.

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  • 4 weeks later...

One more thing that came to my mind. In GEoD, Leto II says that "All rebels are closet aristocrats", meaning that what rebels really pursue is power, not creation of a just social system where everyone is equal. In 1984, O'Brien tells Winston that the Party has enough courage to admit that its true goal is ultimate power, not the wellbeing of the people of Oceania, or any other idealistic ends associated with Socialism.

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