Technology is an aspect present everywhere in one’s life; especially those living in the cities, but can also be used to control the citizens of a society. The current society accesses technology every day, to watch television or listen to the radio. It would not be difficult for one person to use this to their advantage. “Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal” (Albert Einstein). Einstein talks about how the advances of new technology enable criminals to use it to carry out their evil intentions, such as the controlling of a society.
One can use technology to control a society through the spreading of propaganda, censorship, and the ability to constantly satisfy people. Technology can easily be used in a way, where society will act and think the way one wants them to act. A society can be controlled through the spreading of propaganda. Propaganda is a form of persuasion that often misleads people into believing in an idea or acting a certain way.
With technologies such as the television and radio, the spreading of an idea becomes both efficient and effective. In television, propaganda can be seen as advertisement where it influences viewers to buy the product, or persuades citizens to vote for a candidate in the upcoming election. In 1984, telescreens played propaganda over and over, regularly broadcasting false news reports about Oceania’s military victories, economic success, and the Two Minute Hate, which is a two minute film of Goldstein’s wishes for freedom of speech that citizens have been influenced to disagree with it. As citizens were in contact with propaganda proclaiming the Party’s success each and every day, it persuades them to believe in the Party and to not rebel against them. Radio can also be used to spread propaganda. During World War II, Hitler used the this new invention to communicate to Germany about his ideas and views. He promoted the belief that the German race was perfect and superior. The elimination of the Jewish race was helping the human race to advance in its evolution into higher beings.
Hitler’s powerful messages through the radio influenced Germany to turn against their Jewish neighbours, which resulted in the massacre of six million Jews during the Holocaust. Society can be controlled through the censorship of media, through controlling the information and ideas circulated within a society. Many different kinds of technologies can be censored, such as films, televisions, radio, and especially the internet. In North Korea, it is known as the world’s most censored country, where it strives to block out all outside information from getting into the country. Televisions and radios are pre-set to only receive government frequencies, and according to BBC, broadcasters are only to bring reports of how great the dictator is. The people only know what the dictator of their country wants them to know, and they have no knowledge of any other life outside North Korea. This is just like in 1984, where the Party controls every source of information including history.
Records of the past are not allowed, and thus memories become fuzzy. Citizens both in 1984 as well as North Korea are willing to believe whatever the ruler tells them through the method of censorship. The censorship of media affect the people’s thoughts, actions, as well as lifestyle, to what the dictator wants. Technology is present everywhere, and it keeps many people satisfied daily. The satisfaction of society is important in controlling a society as it keeps them content and happy. In Brave New World, freedom is defined through the structures that prevent freedom.
When Bernard and Lenina have a conversation about freedom, Lenina insists that everyone in society has freedom; “freedom to have a most wonderful time” (Huxley 79). Soma is the kind of freedom she was talking about, where it keeps society in a state where they feel no urge to ask questions or defy the structures of society. Bernard argues that this was not freedom, but that freedom was the ability to be an individual apart from society. He felt that the technologies were preventing freedom as it always kept people happy and content, to a point where they would not question the government’s manipulation and control. In this current society, advertisement hypnotize people into wanting and buying products.
After getting their hands on the product, their attention will be directed onto the product and they will feel satisfied and happy. The product gave the consumer satisfaction and controls them by making them want more of the newer products to feel this satisfaction again. This results in companies controlling consumers, so that the company can make more money. Just like how cell phone users are always wanting the latest phone, as satisfaction is gained through doing so. Technology has advanced society greatly to what we are today, but technology can also translate to controlling a society. With technology, methods such as the spreading of propaganda, censorship of media, and having the ability to satisfy citizens, have become easy and convenient methods to control society.
Propaganda can be spread through the radio or television, which is constantly watched by people everyday. Media can be censored, so that information that is wanted to be hidden from society can be done and citizens can be constantly satisfied with the latest technology. Through these methods, one can use technology to manipulate and control society to act and think the way one wants them to.