At a time when the world is changing more quickly than ever before, we need a new vocabulary to help us grasp what’s happening. Cameron Laux picks out 14 words and phrases that can help us think differently.
In George Orwell’s famous prognostication of the future (a dystopia, of course), what he calls ‘doublethink’ (cheerful violation of logic) and ‘newspeak’ (ideologically contorted language) run rampant, and all citizens are under heavy surveillance. Looking back on this now, one is struck by how quaint his whole vision was, because in the age of the internet and super-connectivity, all of these things have been raised to sophisticated arts that, instead of being forced on us, have quietly colonised our lives. In the spirit of Orwell I offer a new speak for our new age, the century of ‘hyper’ and ‘virtual’ and ‘post’ this and that (how he would have laughed and cried at the idea of a ‘post-truth’!), where the struggle over meaning and authenticity have partly relocated to cyberspace, to a realm of infinite (im)possibility, just as our identities have.