Utopia, toothache, and Orwell's diaries

Nearly all creators of Utopia have resembled the man who has toothache, and therefore thinks happiness consists in not having toothache. They wanted to produce a perfect society by an endless continuation of something that had only been valuable because it was temporary. The wider course would be to say that there are certain lines along which humanity must move, the grand strategy is mapped out, but detailed prophecy is not our business. Whoever tries to imagine perfection simply reveals his own emptiness.
- George Orwell ['Why Socialists Don't Believe in Fun,' Dec, 1943]

I have recently come across a wonderful online project that blogs live entries from Orwell's diaries, seventy years removed in time.

The act of putting up Orwell's personal notes in a real time cyberspace blog creates a strange of contemporaneity, and simultaneously, makes us feel less solitary in an acutely amnesiac world. You see nesting storks, goats on a mountain climb, carcasses of dead donkeys, herons, ibises, and also meet interesting ordinary plain people in Morocco whom the world has forgotten, while the news of the fall of Barcelona comes in.

A few centuries back, this man would have been one of the most famous prophets, and probably crucified, burnt at the stakes, his limbs torn apart, etc. The greatest and wickedest discovery of the previous century, though, was that the integrity of a person can reduced to cinders if you're capable of desenstivising minds to make all words inane and unrecognisable. We lack the training and the circumstances to feel and caress words and feelings, and we've been trained to unlearn our social memories by our gods and masters. But journeying with Orwell is more than a pleasure. It's delight in the sense that words only can convey.

If anyone is interested, here's the link to the Orwell Project.

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