Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thoughts are Free...or are they?

When the “peat bog soldiers” were sent by the Nazi’s to work until they died, they took consolation in singing a song titled, “Die Gedanken sind frei” (“Thoughts Are Free”). The idea expressed in the title of this piece - that thought remains the outpost of human liberty – gave a measure of comfort to the prisoners who had been deprived of every other human freedom. At least they could defy their captors in this one remaining quarter: they still exercised control over their minds.

In his dysutopian classic 1984, George Orwell imagined a society in which even this final liberty had been taken away. Using omnipresent surveillance technology, Orwell’s thought police root out and punish those who engage in unapproved thinking. 

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