Winston stared into O’Brien’s old face. O’Brien uttered his thoughts;
‘You are thinking my face is old and tired. You are thinking that I talk of power, and yet I am not even able to prevent the decay of my own body. Can you not understand, Winston, that the individual is only a cell? The weariness of the cell is the vigour of the organism. Do you die when you cut your fingernails?’
O’Brien goes on explain how power is collective. The individual only has power in so far as he ceases to be an individual.
“You know the Party slogan: “Freedom is Slavery”. Has it ever occurred to you that it is reversible? Slavery is freedom. Alone — free — the human being is always defeated…. if he can make complete, utter submission, if he can escape from his identity, if he can merge himself in the Party so that he is the Party, then he is all-powerful and immortal.”
This sacrifice of identity, of becoming one sheep in a herd is a baseline of all dictatorships.