A Letter to George Orwell (A Pure Imagination Project)

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Dear George,

I could write you a letter full of clever remarks and difficult words, but I have none of those in me. Instead, I would just like to say that you are now a tenant at my Wisdom Street. Right next to Neil Gaiman. I think – because that’s all I do, sometimes to a maddening point – that you would like your neighbor and your neighborhood. I wonder what you would all talk about. Would it be about life and its bigger meaning, bigger than all of us? Or would it just be about something trivial such as a broken pipe or the fact that Neil should turn his music down a little bit on the weekends.

But never mind that. The reason I am writing is to thank you for two of the most amazing books I have read in my life so far: 1984 and Animal Farm. Although at first – and last – glance those were extremely pessimistic stories, they were also warnings. What saddens me most is that, unfortunately, people are just not listening to you. And unfortunately, the world is heading towards a totalitarianism disguised as democracy.

Animal Farm made me ponder a lot about socialism, capitalism and changes in society. We all (well, not all, but some) start as revolutionaries and wannabe heroes, wanting to change the world, to make it better, to make us all equal, happier, free. I was like that in college. I had that wonderfully naive idea we could all head towards the same goal and achieve our hearts desires. I forgot, of course, that heart’s desires vary quite a lot from person to person. All revolutions are good, there’s no doubt in my mind about that. However, they are also tricky. Animal Farm is a perfect portrait of that. A group is set to fight inequality and end up being like the ones they are fighting against. We are all equals. No, wait. Some are more equal than others. We fight inequality creating even more inequality. It is a crazy world we live in.

And then there was 1984, which I have read quite recently. The politic of fear. The Big Brother watching over us because we do not know any better. We need the iron hand of the State on us. We need someone telling us what to do, how to live, how to behave and what to feel – or not. We need control. What better way to do that than through fear? We all fear something. And I fear we are on the brink of another revolution, only this time the world itself is tired of being plundered and sacked. The world itself is crying for help. The world is on the verge of changing once again. Change is good until it becomes bad. Then it is time to start all over again.

It is a vicious cycle. And we are all in it. Together.

I wish I could be clearer. I am not a great thinker. I wish I was brighter. I have humbly placed you on my street for making me question myself and the world around me.

For all of that, I’ll thank you forever.

Sincerely,

Alice

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