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October 19, 1975 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1975-10-19

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Page Four


Sunday, October 19, 1975'



Origins of Orwell's 1984: University Professor
Steinhoff investigates the birth of Big Brother

William Steinhoff. Ann Arbor:f
The University of Michigan
Press, 1975. 288 pp. $12.50.
( EORGE ORWELL'S place in
in the intellectual history of
the West is already well-se-
cured. However far removed
people become from the fear of
the totalitarianism that was
rampant in the 1930's and '40's,
Orwell's 1984 will serve as a
graphic reminder of the anxie-
ties of a generation of people
who had to contend simultane-
ously with Mussolini, Hitler, and
Stalin. Yet, as University Eng-
lish professor William Stein-
hoffs' George Orwell and the
Origins of 1984 points out, 1984
was not Orwell's sole contribu-
tion to the debate over totali-
tarianism; it was, in fact, the
culmination of Orwell's life's

work. And by documenting how
Orwell distilled a lifetime's
reading, writing, and experience
into one novel, Steinhoff demon-
strates the richness of this im-
portant work.
George Orwell and the Origins
of 1984 is, as Steinhoff says, "in-
tended for a literate and not just
a narrow scholarly audience,"
and is therefore easily acces-
sible to the general reader who
wishes to acquire a deeper ap-
preciation for 1984, or who is
interested in how the ideas of a
creative writer are generated.
Steinhoff's book is broken into
four parts: the first discusses
Orwell's debt to other Utopian
writers, like Wells, Swift, Lon-
don, and Kipling, and to those
of his contemporaries who were
analysts of the world situation
like Arthur Koestler and James
Burnham; the second part
moves along to Orwell's inter-
esting battle with the intellec-

tuals of his day, who, Orwell indifferent to, much of the non-
thought, "had been so corrupt- British intellectual content of
ed by the desire to get their the twentieth century. There is
hands on the whip that they had an entire chanter in the book
accepted without analysis or devoted to the influence of
protest the totalitarian outlook"; James Burnham on Orwell, but
part three looks at the themes Burnham was a simple popular-
in Orwell's earlier fiction which izer of the neo-Machiavellian
reappeared in 1984; and the philosophers, and his work has
fourth part is Steinhoff's judg- subsequently sunk into relative
ment of the significance of the obscurity; there is nothing in
novel. the book on Orwell's thought on
in the neo-Machiavellians them-
PUT ONE has to be care fulyi selves, if he, indeed, had any.

reading this book, for, in de-
scribing Orwell's development
in depth, Steinhoff takes Orwell
at face value; he describes how
Orwell's ideas about totalitar-
ianism developed, but he does
not attempt to answer why Or-
well's intellectual development
took the courseit did. For ex-
ample, Orwell (and Steinhoff, in
his failure to raise the question
of Orwell's apparent parochial-
ism) seems to be ignorant of, or
4 - -m- -m - --

Orwell's failure to leave a
record of his thoughts on some
of the more influential thinkers
of the 20th century who dealt
with the same problem he did
(more broadly stated, the rela-
tion of the individual to the
state) may be explained by the
fact that Orwell wrote primarily
for magazines and newspapers
and was consequently con-
strainedto write about current
events. But the question of how
his career may have influenced
his thinking, although it seems
to me to be raised by the nature
of the book's subject matter, is
never engaged by Steinhoff. He
is instead content to write about
the external, easily document-
able facts of Orwell's career
rather than to probe into the

p o s s i b 1 e cultural influences
which were operating on Or-
well's selection of reading ma-
terial (which had more than
just a British tinge to it), or on
the contemporary themes which
Orwell. discerned to be import-
ant. The result is a conventional,
and not very exciting, intellec-
tual biography.
THERE IS, however, much of
interest in the book. Stein-
hoff's discussionof Orwell's cri-
tique of 20th century intellec-
tuals is especially interesting.
Orwell's constant criticism of
the intelligensia was a major
feature of his writing; he be-
lieved that the adherence to any
orthodoxy, be it Roman Catholi-
cism, Fascism, or Communism,
was detrimental to free thought
and to a stable, civilized, gov-
ernment. Steinhoff quotes Conor
Cruise O'Brien's assessment of
the effect of Orwell's critiq'ie.
"Orwell weakened their (left-
wing intellectuals') belief in
their own ideology, made them
ashamed of their cliches, left
them intellectually more scru-
pulous and more defenseless."
Also of interest is Steinhoff's
demonstration of how many of
the details of daily life in 1"Lon-1

don during the war were trans-
ferred by Orwell to 1984.
Steinhoff's assessment of the
influence of 1984 is quite gran-
diose. He writes that 1984
"changed the world by repre-
senting the past and present so
as to modify people's expecta-
tions of the future. . . . Orwell
was able to show readers that
the ideal of the hedonistic utopia
had been shattered. Momentous
events in the actual world were,
of course, the cause, but these
are so remarkably crystallized
in 1984 that literature and the
world since then have been dif-
ferent." Steinhoff, unfortunate-
ly, offers no evidence to sup-
port this conclusion.
Eugene Marino is a graduate
student in journalism.

George Orwell

John Lillys

latest: A cold look at God

SIMULATIONS OF G O D: tions don't pretend to hermetic
THE SCIENCE OF BELIEF completeness. They are exam-
by John Lilly, M.D. 288 pp. ples which, Lilly hopes, will en-
$8.95. Simon and Schuster, able the readers to see whole
New York, 1975. their own icebergs of simula-
By J. T. FRICK tions and beliefs. The chapters
are short essays, not all pos-
TOHN LILLY'S new book is sessing tautness of reasoning or
clearly no departure from his reflexive awareness of their cwn
previous works: Programming involvement in what they are
and Metaprogramming in the describing. This incompleteness
Human Biocomputer; The Cen- is one of the ways in which the
ter of the Cyclone. Behind this book succeeds, given that simu-
work there is once again a lations can be subsumed in
stance, calm and cold, and a others or operate simultaneous-
removed center from which he ly. They serve as lines that
draws the radii of categories crystallize one's own tninking,
that form the chapters of the and are more accessible than
book: God as the Beginning, I the private scheme of numered
am, God, God Out There, God as states of consciousness in The
the Group, God as Drugs, God Center of the Cyclone. There are
as Money, God as Mystery, God brief attempts at coded sys-
Simulating Himself -there are tems of this sort in the prologue
twenty-three of them. and introduction; they are un-
"My purpose is to present the obtrusive to readers who follow
simulations, the models, the be- Lilly's own advice: "I do not
lief structures of others as ob- ask that you believe me. Ouite
jectively and as accurately as I the opposite. I value my skep-
can. . . Together we shall ticism; keep yours. If you dis-
enter precincts held sacred, with believe me, watch your disbe.
energy and objectivity, without lief: it is merely another form
being an agonist-neither pro-
tagonist nor antagonist." of belief. So I do not ask you to
T h e s e twenty-three simula- disbelieve me either."


,nN THE WHOLE, he treads
successfully through seman-
tic difficulties of this nature to
truths about the orders of our
awareness, "the setting aside of
one state of consciousness in an-
other state of consciousness, and
calling the second state of con-
sciousness 'unreal,' 'fantastic,'
'imaginative,' or 'self-program-
med' is the usual course in such
It is easy to accept his state-
ment that the origin of the writ-
ing is mysterious, that he is only
a scribe, though a few merely,

comes true within certain limits
to be found experientially arid
experimentally. These limits are
further beliefs to be transcend-
ed. In the province of the mind,
there are no limits." The origi-
nal statement of this seems to
have been made with the pres-
ent work in mind, for Lilly at-
tempts to show that our beliefs,
conscious and unconscious, are
programs in his well - known
simulation, t h e biocomputer,
and that these can both help and
hinder our development, and
that we can bring ourselves to
-n. :2 n n o ry _. in

Yesterday's Detroit:, Bland
portrayal of urban decay

by Frank Angela. Seemann's

* Pittsburgh $23
" Chicago $16
" New York City $45.
" Milwaukee $35

" Columbus $21
r* Buffalo $32
e Cincinnati $27
f Indianapolis $27

an awareness of our cnoici in y . j N , '.. .
omments unfortuntelyHistoric Cities Seriesno.
slip through, whose origin i ob- the matter, or program cur His ,orida: 16s pp.
selves for expanded conscious- Miami, Florida: 160 pp.
ness. the absence of a teleological
In his sense of the term, viewpoint, combined with vari- By JAY BLUMENFELD
i ll- y s sense of "simulation" is all we are cap,-,ous science-fictional scedarios V EADING FRANK Angelo's
'I Lll'sseseof "smuaton i al e reca-that Lilly presents out of an,
of the term, simula- able of; his book, this news- avowed pessimism are things Yesterday's Detroit is like
paper, are simulations, we are, tatudesmie , opeartinb rummaging through an old boxi
t/On IS all we are simulations to each other. iethat undermine operational be of family photographs for hours
One of the constant and (pur- on end - if you don't have a
this , nosefullv?) unresolved dilemmas. TT IS DIFFICULT at firsti warm, paternal feeling for the
this newspaper, are in this book is that of the con- thinking of these categories subject, you are going to be
smuwe are tinuing psychological po;sibility "as God." For example, "God bored to death. Like most snap-
simulationstof projection. as Money" is a commonplace, shot albums, it is a hodge-podge
simulations to each J ILLY'S AWARENESS of the but does it actually occupy us of pictures and, like most snap-
ohr mechanism of projection is in the same ways as other gods? shot albums, the pictures are
other' not the only indicator of hisI Perhaps not; finally, it doesn't not very interesting pictures.
basic psychological astuteness. seem to matter. As Lilly points Angelo includes captions with
viously of a different order. He illustrates patterns cf trans- out, if one acts "as if" some- the photos and we can be grate-
"Boxing," writes Lilly, "seems ference from one god to anoher, thing were true, it tends to be- ful for this pretense of a running
to exist for no other reason expansive in the process of come true. In the absence of narrative. He also writes a pre-
than to c r e a t e brain dam- growing up, and perhaps static other gods, even the temporary face, but its total message is:
age . " In regard to his 'rit-, in the case of shifting alleg1 absences of the normal flow of "Look, we've got buildings, cars
ing, then Lilly can be seew in' ances from group to group, guru consciousness, these are our and personalities, so underneath
terms of his shortest hapter to guru, that many have een in gods. Lilly's description of banks it all we must have a city.
the category of God as Mystery, I friends and acquaintances. In as churches under this god is a And he goes into painful de-
not knowable or not-yet-known. regard, theqbookdisorth vauable meapho and tail - detail about ethnics,
comforting and quite iscert- transformative vision is what sports and automobiles, sports,
The operating statement from I ing. The perspective it offe:s on this book is about. The only sotsmand aut bis, pos,
Center of the Cyclone becormes the forms of worship is a power- chapter missing, and finally automobiles and ethnics, plus Th
Centr o th Cylon be.)ms Ioccasional political figure. The
central here; "In the prwince I ful one, making sense of the present in the work as a whole, urv ends with the ar 1950.
of the mind, what one believes confusion of realms present to- is "God as Simile."s
to be true either is true or be- day. Yet the necessary adjunct, Appended to the volumes are "rHE MOST damaging aspect
-r- -- ----------------------umm mm.... - m - -~ ~tm reprints of articles written by of the book is Angelo's dead-.
GG ing for tracing the development ening neutrality about the city,
GRANDFE EGRAND of his thought, and a final sec- an opinion that is amazingly
OPENING OPENING tion of poetry, interesting more colorless and utterly devoid of
"as his attempt at poetry" than emotion. After all, Detroit may
S F-S as poetry." be sprawling, dirty and danger-I
(and Vacuum)-9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.,r ' .
e* ous, but 'boring it's not. The1
Thurs.-Fri.-Sat.-Sun.-Oct. 16-19 ; J. T. Frick is currently em- problem lids partly in the fact
r r:ployed at Border's Bookstore. that Angelo is a journalist for
Liberty Car Wash I'
At First-Just West of Railroad Tracksi211
!I* rr~Wwrrrrsrsrrrr+rrrrr SLTAT ST
...............mmummmmm..u.in....mi-in ... i'S
-- --MON.-SAT.
10 A.M.-6 P.M.
Another Outstanding Value from ... FRi TILL 9 PM.
orber5 ooh IJop

familiarity and fondness needed,
to enjoy this series of home-
movie type pictures. But he has
lost his abiilty to say anything

the Detroit Free Press, and his North America and Angelo is
objectivity,, that primary cri- now a very old man and as
terion for journalistic excel- such, entitled to his memories,
lence, has been carried too far ' but in a book designed to be
into his book. It is obvious that summary, these memoriss only
after many years of writing falsify the facts.
about Detroit, Angelo has that

A ND THERE'S an irony of
truth even in the falsifica-
tion. He has very few pictures
of racist picketing and the
great race riot of 1943, the worst
of its kind until Detroit broke its
own record again twenty-four
years later. After these pictures
Angelo cuts back quickly to the
cheering.happy faces of urwds
on V-J Day,, and Detroit can
thankfully return to its preoc-
cupation with automobiles,
sports personalities, and danc-
ing ethnic girls. All this was
just the same sort of nonsense
and blindness that showed up
twenty-four years later when,
after the next great race riot,
the Detroit Free Press saga-
ciously announced that the city
was brought back together again
the next year with the Detroit
Tigers' victory in the World
Perhans it's unfair to expect
deeper insight from Angelo, or
from anyone else in asking what
went wrong with Detroit. Any-
one's entitled to their ethnic
girls, cars and baseball, right?
The book itself however, isn't
even worth reviewing: some
things are that low. But it's the
duty of univeristy students to
ask the basic questions about
this city and what comes out
of it.

Sign-up deadline Oct. 23-ONLY 5 DAYS LEFT
CALL 2-5:30 & 7-9:30 OR ALL DAY SUNDAY

about what's behind them. Eth-
nic neighborhoods? Sure, there
are ethnic neighborhoods, but
they don't have any more mean-
ing in the pages of his book
than they do in those silly fairs
they have every summer by
Cobo Hall,, or K-Mart,, or Dis-
ney World or wherever such
fairs are held. Automobiles?
Sure, there are automobiles in
Detroit, and now we have
Frank Angelo to thank for let-
ting us know how important
automobiles have been to the
growth of Detroit.

1. Write an epic poem no shorter than
247 pages long using the following
5 words only: cactus, Gold, lime,
Sunrise, Agamemnon.
2. Read Milton's Paradise Lost. Explain
why you liked him better when he
was on TV.
3. Translate a map of Mexico into English,
leaving out all the consonants.
4. Disregard all of the above, make a
pitcher of Cuervo Margaritas, andt
invite all your friends over.

Since his book stops with 19501 UT MAYBE even the Univer-
and his mind, apparently, long sity of Michigan has sold
before that, we are left with itLod'kws ecalug
the theme that more cars equals ot. Lord knows we can laugh
more gross national product at Angelo for picking Edgar
which inturnequals greater Guest's picture as representa-
prosperity for Detroit which tive of the most beloved De-
then promises more treedom troiter to close out his book.
for the glorious spread of auto- But what do we do when we
mobiles and democracy through- have to admit that the Univer-
out the world, sity's own Department of Erg-

i I



jF ANGELO had continued past
1950 he might have been j
forced to come to terms with
the fact that Detroit's automo-
biles helped destroy the city,
helped to kill all his pretty Intle
ethnic neighborhoods. Detroit is
now ' oneor r e. -Aea-es-inn ;ni

lish gave this same Edgar Guest
an honorary doctorate degree
for that doggerel he wrote for
the Free Press!
Jay Blumenfeld is a medical
student with a strong interest



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