An Unpredictable Past

"Democracy Dies in Bright Light"
An Unpredictable Past

An Unpredictable Past

"Democracy Dies in Bright Light"

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Welcome, this site is about History and Politics, and everything in between, given that the events that suddenly appear before us are in reality only the result of a long and multifaceted development, and seeking...

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From the introduction to the first edition of “Animal Farm“, 1945 (Reprinted 1972) Segui il mio blog

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For further readings, explainations, projects and anything else, those are my contacts: Buy me a coffee Contact List g.bertocci@unpredictablepast.com Instagram LinkedIn Twitter WordPress Medium Goodreads Subscribe below and receive latest updates Please leave this field...

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Welcome, this site is about History and Politics, and everything in between, given that the events that suddenly appear before us are in reality only the result of a long and multifaceted development, and seeking some clarity in sensationalism is, as it always has been, a moral duty. Through the riddle of the Present and beyond an Unpredictable Past.



Photo by Polina Abramova on Unsplash

“How we should deal with the war in our minds”- Part I

“All I can say is that on this earth there are pestilences and there are victims– and as far as possible one must refuse to... Read More "“How we should deal with the war in our minds”- Part I"

Come out for Shilts, Once Again. World AIDS Day 2020

This short piece whould be an encouragement not to give up, to make sure that the legacy of men like Randall Martin Shilts is not forgotten after the storm has passed, and after their life has died out, perhaps deepening the subject soon. Read More "Come out for Shilts, Once Again. World AIDS Day 2020"

Blog

Article
From the introduction to the first edition of “Animal Farm“, 1945 (Reprinted 1972)

Segui il mio blog

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For further readings, explainations, projects and anything else, those are my contacts:

Buy me a coffee

Subscribe below and receive latest updates

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The War of the Wor(l)ds

That was the ultimate subtlety:consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.” (1984)

George Orwell’s legacy in the 21st Century

The  War of the Wor(l)ds, An Unpredictable Past

Who doesn’t know George Orwell (whose real name was actually Eric Arthur Blair)? Even just by hearsay, he is recognized as an author that had a primary role in the creation dystopian literature: his best known novel, “1984”, published in 1948, two years before his death, is perhaps the one that more than any other it is rooted in the collective imagination as a metaphor for the power, violence and control exercised by a totalitarian state.

I still remember that rainy night, in the bunk of a train while everyone else was sleeping, finishing that book in the light of a small flashlight. Looking back on that day, i can say it was, together with a few others, one of the few really significant books in my life. From that day on, there was no turn back.

The 117th anniversary of the writer’s birth occurred on June 25, and the following quote was popping up everywhere: “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act“.

The fact is, that quote is not from Orwell, but is only attributed to him.

This made me think. Of all the production of an intelligent, far-sighted and sagacious author, nearly everyone goes to get an “attributed” quote to pay him omage. Strange? Yes and no.

The next day I went to look for another of Orwell’s work in my library, a small pamphlet entitled Politics and the English Language, first published in 1945. Rediscovering this little book was a real pleasure, no doubt about it: in just twenty pages the writer’s pen traces what will become the theoretical framework behind his novels, and that today, 75 years after its writing, still shows the true problem of our society.

The  War of the Wor(l)ds, An Unpredictable Past

If you are thinking about surveillance cameras everywere, high-tech control instruments, spy smartphones, and all that “Big Brother Is Watching You” kind of imagery, you are out of the way. As the title says, the author’s reflection is on Language (in this case English, but anyone can safely think of their language and the reasoning will not change), what we do with (and to) it and what it does to us.

For anyone who assimilated the concepts Orwell wanted to express in his writings, the question was already glaring. For many others, however, the writer’s imagination has turned exactly into what he fought against: banal metaphors, sloppy writing, “imitative style”.

Considering all the time that has passed, obviously we will have to “rethink” some statements, which could seem “out of date”. The fundamental point is another, or how much Orwell’s sharp thinking has managed to grasp a mechanism that has accompanied the development of society (not only the British one, on which the writer dwells, but the world one, given the diffusion and development increasingly immediate and sophisticated communication systems, and the spread of the English language as a “Lingua Franca” over the course of seven decades.

Before introducing the fundamental concept, I would like to illustrate the four points that the writer takes into consideration to elaborate his theory:

  • How language and thought influence each other, creating an “organic” system and not a simple communication system;
  • How, already in the period in which the book was written, there was a phenomenon of “Automatic Construction” of the sentences and what this implies in relation to the previous point;
  • How the problem exposed is not a question of “Sentimentalism”, “Archaism” or “Linguistic Luddism”, which only affects academics, but a political question of primary importance;
  • What “Defending Language” means (and what it does not mean), and how (and if) it is possible to do so;

The four points listed above will be analyzed in detail in as many weekly articles: if it is true that everything is well expressed by the writer in a few pages, it is equally true that the issues deserve a more in-depth analysis, and also a “historical” look: as mentioned previously, almost eighty years have passed and, however “actual” it turns out to be analysis, Orwell was not a seer and certainly could not imagine any change that occurred within our way of expressing ourselves and any developement our society.

For my part, I believe that the focal point of this particular paper (and of Orwell’s subsequent production, up to “1984”) is that through language all of us, as a society, are fighting a War. A war which, like the others, is political, economic and social, and which even involves victims. Each one of us is, consciously or unconsciously, involved. And that if, as the author says, the fundamental goal of a “Good Writing” is to obtain “clarity and comprehensibility”, I can safely say that over the course of these decades we have lost many battles.

With this statement it is not my intention to instill a sense of depression or to declare surrender: only the point is made of a situation that is very compromised, and whose borders have grown larger and larger over the years: in some ways “fossilizing” and for others progressing at a staggering speed (in particular from a “technological” point of view). What I mean is that not only must we act, but we must do it critically, with strategy. To do this we must take back the legacy left to us by Orwell, and start from where he left us: observing and analyzing the language and its relationship with our reality.

The War is not over. We can still reverse the process.

I have a hard time imagining who and how he can take up such an appeal, or what idea he can make of it. But after all, I would like to reiterate that this is not a place to make “Proclamations”. I hope that as I have explained the different issues, everything becomes clearer. I believe that for now, obtaining intellectual contributions and observations on the phenomenon may already be a great step in itself and a way to resume observing a question which, I repeat, is not the prerogative of only the academics who deal with the “branch”, but it is something that concerns us very closely, from how we behave, express (or do not express), communicate and write every day.

Take this writing and those that follow not as a decadent criticism, but as an idea for a new beginning.

Nay, come, let’s go together.


 






“How we should deal with the war in our minds” – Part. II – Eclipse

[…] And everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.” – Pink Floyd, Brain Damage/Eclipse (The Dark Side …

“How we should deal with the war in our minds”- Part I

“All I can say is that on this earth there are pestilences and there are victims– and as far as possible one must refuse to …

The “Mariupol Standoff”, or the developement of new relashionship between East and West

“You can say things which cannot be done. This is elementary. The trick is to keep attention focused on what is said and not on …

The “Eternal Gulag”, a look inside Post-Soviet Countries resistance to changes

“Speaking in London with Mikhail Khodorkovskij we said to ourselves that we realize one thing. If a person has been in the Soviet Gulag, as …

Putin, Navalny, and the problem of “Then” in Post-Soviet Countries – Pt. II

“Good government grows out of the people; it cannot be handed to them.” (R. A. Heinlein, “My Object All Sublime” from “Off the Main Sequence“, …

Putin, Navalny, and the problem of “Then” in Post-Soviet Countries

Russia has always maintained a special relationship with power, seen as a sort of collective father, loved even when he showed himself, as often happened, …

Is there anything to be learned from the Nagorno-Karabakh War?

“The war which is comingIs not the first one. There wereOther wars before it.When the last one came to an endThere were conquerors and conquered.Among …

Bio & Info’s

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A few things about myself

Born and raised in Rome, Italy, but for some reason never felt comfortable there.

Got my degree in Modern History and Literature in the University of l’Aquila, broken by the Heartquake.

Liberal and Europeist, I studied and researched the events after the fall of the Berlin’s Wall in 1989, and specifically the developement of the new relationships between the East and the West.

Passionate and capable of understanding Geopolitics, Sociology, Philosophy and History, my attempt is to put them in a understandable way for those who are not practical with them.

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