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The World According To Orwell And Darwin

Ahem, what do Orwell and Darwin have in common? (Some people may ask) Well, this is actually about how those two geniuses can be so different and yet lead to the same dictum. Darwin led the revolution in scientific thinking about how all the diversity in nature was the product of “natural selection” and Orwell is one of few who wrote with certainty about the doubtless evolution of society towards evil oligarchy. Oligarchy of the few smart or privileged ones. Their faces may change following “revolutions”, but the end is always the same balance in society.


Masses of creatures allow variations to accumulate, such that should some of them move to a different place, or the climate change a little, some of them survive better than the others and the species survives and maybe gives rise to a new one. However, all species, do the same thing, live, eat,reproduce, fight and die. So Orwell says, the result of variations in the human population are always the same. Ignorant masses, easily hypnotized by speeches and grandeur,are used by the few powerful leaders and smart talkers. As those in power constantly create diversions that either terrify or make deliriously happy the people they “rule” such that the real issues are neither discussed nor solved or even thought about.


What is the real issue for a species : to survive. And there, even the most evolved, like the cockroach, are at mercy of nature. So, they at least take reassurance in that mother nature is always looking to keep the smartest or the strongest of them, for the future, for their own good. Sounds like the theme from Animal Farm and 1984. So, who is Big Brother? Is that God? Well, no, God is good. Omnipresent.. pray and you shall be heard. He will give you what you deserve and if you don’t get that, then you didn’t deserve it in the first place. Or you can wait, the time isn’t right, not just yet, look at all those around you, suffering, aren’t you better off from those dying of starvation and yellow fever or some other color fever? And yet you ask for more! Pray, because He has been kind enough to let you be disease-free and fed.


Darwin talks about the requirement of variation in the populations of species, for natural selection to act on and favor one over the other, under changing conditions. Orwell, thinks that conditions might change, revolutions may happen, but the “social “order of things will stay the same. In some cases man is Big Brother, as we exploit the environment for first our good and then because there is no other way. Then we exploit each other, again using the same excuses, why, the “American” Indians have been moved for the sake of development.


The naxals are terrorists and hinder economic development of our great nation. The nation that ignores its people, because they have always been hidden in forests minding their own business, is in turn ignored or exploited for its own good. It is told, you are too unstable to harbor nuclear weapons and how are we going to maintain world order if every little third world country wants to go to the moon and have nuclear energy, what next? Next they will all want food and water for everyone! Let us take your minerals and cheap labor and we will show you how to live. But there is poetic justice, what was once Great Britain, is not so great anymore and what now is the United States may well end up someone else’s bitch.


Hence, all is in order. The names in that order change, maybe there is a God after all. As some of us gaze in awe at the diversity of life and how much we don’t know about so much and how much we will never know about, say dinosaurs. How we all started from a single-celled organism- a point in dispute and will remain so , it seems, now and forever. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Someone will soon find a better way to find fault on some minor detail in a way a small snail evolved, or even better in human paleontology. And the masses needing some way to stay hopeful will throw evolution out of books. Because isn’t it a threat to the existence God? However, if He exists , then is He not Big Brother incarnate, for tortured creatures dying all the time without having had a life cannot be for the good of all.


And if He is making it hard for our own good, because He knows best.We may write books and have theories and find a cure to cancer, make electrons and protons clash at the speed of light, if He in fact is in control then all that doesn’t mean anything. He can turn it all  into a whiff of smoke. All this makes life easier for a few, interesting for a few more. But most of the proles-masses, just barely exist and couldn’t care less. A large number of them pray for His kindness and mercy way more than the ones that seem to be under His special care. The concept of heaven or hell, makes their harsh realities bearable, but the mere concept of a heavenly abode in the sky is even more ludicrous than animals taking over a farm and making a windmill. Therefore the smart ones, play demigods and pull strings wherever possible. Exploit and brain wash whoever possible to try and get to the top of the order, be closer to Big Brother in spirit.


In the end, our evolution, if indeed we are evolving, is not in our control . We keep on endlessly cycling and recycling thoughts that have always existed in different minds.

So do Darwin and Orwell have a common thread? Yes, that the order of things as they are, has existed well before mankind and will continue to exist through the time alloted to mankind and well beyond.

Ishita Das is a  neuroscientist by training and recently graduated with a PhD from Johns Hopkins University, Maryland. And now, would like to write about things that make people  think or feel something and in the process perhaps learn to understand the different shades of life. She continues to work with a group trying to make Autism more accessible to scientists and the public. She also contributes to the science and environment magazine.

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  1. rajesh arora rajesh arora
    June 13, 2012    

    superb ! …just superb!
    i’ve never read orwell, but i agree that human society can never evolve to a point where everybody attains same growth ecnomically, no matter any no. of revolutions may happen. If u take the example of bloody russian revolution of 1917 when all its elite n rich class was liquidated, the principles of equality, non-aquisition, non-possession was forced on society. But what was the result? It took russia into ruins. China was very smart to take a lesson and mend its ways. In order to work, a society must have a majority of middle class people with varying scales of income. One will continue to dominate the other due to disparity in their talent, ablity n intelligence.

  2. rajesh arora rajesh arora
    June 15, 2012    

    Darwin with his theory of evolution n natural selection, certainly stood against christian and hindu faiths which says the first man was created by God. Darwin says that the man was not created but evolved out of apes or monkeys.So some groups of monkeys or apes must hv decided or tried to walk two feet n eventually evolved into humans and gave rise to whole humanity.
    We are all born out of this Nature. We eat nature, we breath natue and we will all disappear into nature. I’ve always wondered whether God is some distant identity sitting somewhere in the universe who is watching our actions and distributing results in form of happiness and miseries accordingly Or rather it is this Nature which transcends into the God at some point and God which transcends in nature.

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