A Map of George Orwell's "1984"
In George Orwell’s dystopian novel ‘1984’, the world is ruled by three superstates. Unfortunately, there’s not much ‘super’ to these states except their size.
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
In George Orwell’s dystopian novel ‘1984’, the world is ruled by three superstates:
• Oceania covers the entire continents of America and Oceania and the British Isles, the main location for the novel, in which they are referred to as ‘Airstrip One’.
• Eurasia covers Europe and (more or less) the entire Soviet Union.
• Eastasia covers Japan, Korea, China and northern India.
Unfortunately, there’s not much ‘super’ to these states except their size. All three are totalitarian dictatorships. Oceania’s ideology is Ingsoc (English Socialism), Eurasia’s Neo-Bolshevism and Eastasia’s is the Obliteration of the Self (one imagines some kind of buddhist-inspired fascism. If one can). These ideologies are very similar, but the people are not informed of this.
The three states are in a perpetual state of warfare – sometimes two against one, sometimes all three against each other. These wars are fought in the disputed territories, running from North Africa over the Middle East and southern India to Southeast Asia.
And yet the war might just not even be real at all. It’s clear that the Oceanic media are one-sided and fabricate ‘facts’. A dissident book central to ‘1984’ suggests the two other powers may actually be a fabrication of the government of Oceania, which would make it the world government. Or, on the other side of the scale of thinkable alternatives: Airstrip One is not an outpost of a greater empire, but the sole territory under the command of Ingsoc, which fabricates eternal global war to keep its people permanently mobilised, scrutinised and on rations.
This map taken from Wikipedia’s ’1984′ page.
Strange Maps #66
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- The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.
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