10 Discouragement Of Logic That Would, If Used, Prevent War
Logic and reason tells us that the human race, as a whole, does not benefit from organized mass murder and destruction. Its costs, to us all, far outweigh the benefits. Organized cooperation would bring benefits to all.
War can only continue if the people who run the war machines can stifle this way of thinking. Reason and logic are their enemies. To keep wars going, they need to use smoke and mirrors to divert us. Don’t look at the people on the other side of the line as humans that are the same as you; look only at the fact that one or two of them committed acts that harm some people on our side of the line. (Ignore the fact that thousands of murders and other violent acts take place each year perpetuated by people on our side of the line by other people on our side of the line. Focus only on the single act—which may well have been staged—in which someone on our side was harmed by someone from their side. In reprisal for this, ‘we’ (the people in our parcel) must wipe all of ‘them’ (the people in their parcel) from the face of the earth.
Orwell talked about the ways that the people who want war are able to do this. They get us to split our minds and use a process called ‘doublethink.’ One part of our brain thinks only about hate, fear, and dwells on the animal instincts that push us to destroy any outsiders. The other part thinks logically. We are taught, he claims, to think that crossing over is a kind of mental crime, that he calls ‘thought crime.’ We must not use logic when thinking about our need to destroy the enemy. This risks us having sympathy for the enemy, that would harm the war effort. It makes us a traitor and is the ultimate crime.
We need to design better weapons. We must be taught that feeling has no place in this. It is all science. Let our feeling interfere, and consider the amount of pain and suffering that will take place when the bomb is used on actual people, and you won’t ever build the bomb. People who let their feelings interfere in the science of weapons design are just as much traitors as those who let logic interfere with their patriotism.
Orwell coined the term ‘crimestop’ to refer to the mental tools that we use to keep these two sides of our minds separate. The most dangerous criminals were those who didn’t want to or couldn’t master these tools and use them. They allowed logic to interfere with their hatred. This is an infection that spreads like a virus. Orwell claims that the people who benefit from war want it to never end. Never ending war requires that we never allow our logical side to take hold.
Orwell was trying to get people to look inside themselves. He wanted his readers to think about their training and the hatred their leaders and media encouraged. Their minds belong to them. If they give in and refuse to use logic when dealing with topics related to war, they have turned over control of their minds to others.