Down the memory hole


In George Orwell’s novel 1984, the memory hole is a mechanism for removing embarrassing documents, previous crimes and inconvenient bungles. Old documents are revised, and the original copies are consigned to the memory hole where “not even the ash remains”. It is a mechanism for “smoothing over” the actions of leadership. It is a mechanism of censorship. It is about collective amnesia.

In Part One, Chapter Four, of 1984, the reader is first introduced to the memory hole. These holes are prevalent in the Ministry of Truth, where Winston works, and are used for destroying scraps of paper. These scraps, however, contain documents from the past and are transported via the memory hole to the “enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building.”

The memory hole, then, is a symbol of the party’s control over information. As we see in Chapter Four, Winston destroys documents from the past, like the claim that the party would not reduce the chocolate ration, and replaces them with party-approved information. In the case of the chocolate ration, for instance, Winston creates a new document which states that a ration would “probably be necessary in April.” This not only boosts the prestige of the party but also makes it appear as though Big Brother has the interests of the people at heart.

In the wider context of the novel, the memory hole also represents the party’s ability to control the past. By destroying memories and installing new ones, the party moulds and shapes popular understanding of Oceania’s history. The problem with accepting the party’s version of history, however, is that people will come to accept anything that the party tells them.

Im pushing the narrative of the hole that is just not a hole but as a hyperlinking element and as a tool to destroy and create narratives I will explain more tomorrow.

“As our circle of knowledge Expands , so does the circumference of Darkness surrounding it” -Albert Einstein

The knowledge that we have can be analogous to a circle. Inside the circle is what we know and what we call knowledge; outside the circle is what we don’t know and need to explore.

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