One of the most significant statements is made in this portion; ‘”Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past,”‘
It explains society, not just in the novel, but in real life. In the world we live in today. It explains why, in different parts of the world, history is recalled differently, and events are left out or manipulated.
O’Brien asks Winston. ‘Is it your opinion, Winston, that the past has real existence?’
Winston, bound to a torture table, does not know what to answer. He did not know whether ‘yes’ or ‘no’ would save him from pain; or which answer he believed to be the true one.
‘Until this moment you had never considered what is meant by existence…” O’Brien begins; “Does the past exist concretely, in space? Is there a place, a world of solid objects, where the past is still happening? Does the past exist, if at all?’
Winston replies; ‘In records. It is written down.’
O’Brien provokes; ‘In records. And –?’
‘In the mind. In human memories.’
‘In memory. Very well, then. We, the Party, control all records, and we control all memories. Then we control the past, do we not?’
‘But how can you stop people remembering things?’ It is involuntary. It is outside oneself. How can you control memory? You have not controlled mine!’