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Handfuls of Dust and Splinters of Bone

Note to readers: I wrote the bulk of this essay in 2010, and returned to it sporadically over the years since. I have spent the last week shaping it into publishable form, but I have scrupulously avoided updating it with examples from the Covid era. Why? Because I want to make it clear that despite the Orwellian dimensions of the Covid response, the phenomenon I describe far transcends that issue. “Evil” did not start in 2019.

Because this essay is around 12,000 words, I have divided it into six parts, which I will publish every two or three days. The first part has ideas I’ve written about a lot. Later sections where I go deep into Orwell’s thought will be new, especially regarding the revolutionary brotherhood. An unexpected light, a guiding light, is hidden in the depths of 1984.