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The famous novel 1984, written by George Orwell, was first published in 1948. The book presents his dystopian vision of the future. The story follows the life of Winston Smith, a low-ranking member of ‘the Party’, who is frustrated by said party’s omnipresent eyes, its ominous ruler, and the fact of ‘Big Brother’ controlling every aspect of life.

Readers, drawn in as unwitting players in the theatre of the work had their minds fired by a sense of wonder and by a prophetic anticipation which never saw its fulfilment as portended in its titular title. As was the case with 1984, what will the outcome be for “2024,” a piece that is still in the process of being written by political aspirants and by prognosticators here in America?

Granted, though Orwell’s opus is one of fiction and not a writing of fact, nor even one which exudes the authority of divinely inspired prophecy, it does contain intriguing elements which help those who have and who continue to ponder his “vision” to occasionally look up from its pages in order to view the progress of mankind. In the process they can witness a multiplicity of inventions which now exist and which are on the cusp of leaping off drawing-boards to make the ominous world of “Big Brother” more than a frightening possibility. In the soon-to-be=released novel, satirically speaking, “2024,” some have the next US presidential election signed, sealed and delivered.

But, life is full of surprises.

The forecast of political pundits and social commentators ooze an incredibly high degree of certainty these days. Some, who have oft had their hopes and their dreams upended by world events which these very soothsayers failed to see coming, wonder from whence this new burst of confidence? In fact, though some were able to make calculated guesses, which proved to be accurate, there were times when the stressed margins for error resulted in humiliation and heartache. And so, with a litany of successes sullied by failures what is the holy grail for 2024?

In 1914 the world enjoyed a tenuous peace on the European continent, until shots were fired by an assassin on June 28 of that year, killing Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife. It was an event which, though transpiring in seconds, plunged the world into a war which raged for over four years, from July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918. It caused the deaths of 9.7 million soldiers and about 10 million civilians.

On April 20, 1889 in an Austrian town called Braunau am Inn, a baby was born within a period of minutes. His life was destined to be the match that would spark a conflagration of war lasting six years. The child would later be known to the world as one Adolf Hitler.

Mrs. Hillary Clinton was all set to be the presidential nominee for the US Democratic Party in 2008. Her ambition was thwarted, like a shot fired out of the shadows, by a junior United States senator from the state of Illinois — one who lacked the wealth of her political experience — named Barack Hussein Obama.

In 2016 she was on course to be the first woman to win the White House until that quest was laid to rest by one who was viewed as a “political outsider”, one bereft of any experience in public office, a real estate developer named Donald John Trump. All looked good for a second term in office for President Trump until again, out of the dark, came the novel coronavirus pandemic.

And so, whither 2024? What entrails of an owl did our political “holy men” pull out and then read, as did the ancient Romans, in order to divine the future? And, despite all that, including the might of her legions, where is the empire of Rome today? In the year 2020, the former president had a cadre of prophets and prophetesses who asserted to all and sundry the certainty of a second term in office beginning in 2021. They were so very sure! And, if their oracles had been of a reliable source, could any from the world of mice or of men have been able to stay the hand of God in order to ‘steal’ the election as those prophets and prophetesses now assert?

A lot can happen in a minute as much as it can happen in a year. If one recalls events in one’s own life, or if one were to poll others in respect to unexpected events in their lives there would scarce be enough pens and paper to record them all. In November of 2019, for example, this writer contemplated plans to go to the cinema one Saturday night. There was nothing during the day to suggest any interruptions towards that end. But, instead of a comfortable seat in the theatre he found himself fighting for his life, that very night, in the hospital. What had him in an operating theatre the next morning is not near as important as the point that he is now trying to make. Yes, life is full of surprises.

A constant review of history and the continuous tracking of social trends will ever prove to be valuable in a world where the only thing certain is uncertainty — whether it be within the realm of human social interaction or within the vast expanse of nature. To establish a sense of equilibrium on shifting sands, or to develop a sense of direction towards a horizon shrouded in mist is the natural inclination of everyone. The existence of self-proclaimed prophets, of astrologers, of tea leaf readers, of palm readers, of witches, of warlocks and of those who assert that they can glimpse the secrets of life by gazing into a crystal ball all attest to this fact. But even within such “mystic arts” there are limitations.

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