"The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better" (Orwell, 1984). In Orwell's 1984, the philosophical question of free will is raised by the circumstances of the main character, Winston Smith. Philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre claim that we have the freedom to make choices in our lives, and that everything one chooses to do will lead to finding one's purpose in life. This does not seem to be the case for Winston; his life seems predetermined. This paper will explore the intersection between the philosophies of John Locke, Plato, and Jean-Paul Sartre by examining the actions, and choices of Winston Smith.
"Winston seems to understand he would be happier if he were free" (Orwell, 1984). According to dictionary.com freedom is defined as "the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint." Reflecting on our life today, in the twenty first century we have our human rights and we are free. We as Americans are 'free', we have freedom. Does this mean we can walk around with no clothing on? No, there are limitations to our rights to act, speak, and think as we want. Furthermore, if we were to walk up to a police officer and tell him we want to kill him we would immediately be arrested and punished. Does this mean we are not free? Absolutely not, we have laws and our society wouldn't approve of such a barbaric thing. .
"While focusing in on the life of Winston Smith, you visualize the totalitarian state in which has absolute control over every action, and thought of its people through propaganda, secrecy, constant surveillance, and harsh punishment" (Pynchon). Few people are socially fully free, meaning from obligation to relationships to spouse, children, family, and friends; very few are politically free. Most belong to a country of laws that all residents are constrained by.