Changes (or some thoughts on Orwell’s 1984)

I realized, yesterday, that I would like to change the title of a series of posts I do called “My Life Through Books”. I think the title is clumsy, and I actually believe that what I say about my realisations is often true for others as well. That is why I write about it in the first place. I like to articulate what I am feeling (I think it was Joan Didion who said she didn’t know what she actually thought about something until she wrote it down. I get that) and often I understand the world around me better through reading and then thinking about books. It’s the connection, that feeling of being less alone because you have found a kindred spirit in the precise arrangement of letters and words on a page.

And what I always hope for when I write about my connections, is that someone else will read my connections and feel that spark of recognition.

So the new title will be: “A life through books”. It is a subtle article change, but it is an important one, nonetheless.

All future posts will be named this, so I decided I need to go back to change my past ones so that they are consistent. And all of a sudden, I am Winston in Orwell’s 1984, going back through old publications and changing “facts” that have changed so that history is consistent with the new present.

Obviously, this blog is like a continuously evolving piece of art, so I have the right to go back and rephrase things I am unhappy about, but it did make me wonder about the nature of our online history-keeping. Anyone who wanted to erase an event from the public mind would have a much easier job than Winston, who spends his days searching endlessly through physical books and papers and painstakingly changing the names of enemies and allies.

I suppose it is more difficult, too, as people can take screen-shots, and a mistake made on any piece of social media is a mistake made forever.

But it makes one wonder.

image source: International School History


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