George Orwell (Originally Eric Arthur Blair, 1903-50) was a British novelist, journalist and poet was born in Bengal, India. A champion of democratic socialism, he fought and was wounded in the Spanish Civil War.
Orwell’s best known works satirize the Russian revolution, Animal Farm (1945) and critique Stalinism, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).
Orwell lived a fascinating life, plumbing the depths of his own psyche and health, at times existing on the margins of society in dire poverty. Not exactly a champion of Western Capitalism nor the elitism associated with powerful public figures, he nevertheless performed BBC radio broadcasts during WW-II for the Allied war effort and wrote favorably of Winston Churchill while the United Kingdom mourned his passing.
In contemporary parlance, the term “Orwellian” describes a society marked by an authoritarian lack of personal privacy and individual rights and freedoms—the core elements that arguably make life worth living. With the rise of information technologies, coupled with the increasing gap between the rich and the poor, not a few folks today are concerned that we could enter into such a nightmarish scenario. And on a more personal level, all it takes is one unhappy, socially awkward person with the right hacking software and connections, and you could be stalked in a most odious fashion.
All this, Orwell foresaw. And that makes him a kind of visionary.