1984 is an extremely philosophical work. Winston contemplates endlessly the meaning of existence, of life, of history, of power – and each one’s relation to the other. Consider the text on these issues:
"Until this moment you had never considered what is meant by existence…Does the past exist concretely, in space? Is there somewhere or other a place, a world of solid objects, where the past is still happening?"
"Where does the past exist, if at all?"
"The belief that nothing exists outside your own mind – surely there must be some way of demonstrating that it was false? Had it not been exposed long ago as a fallacy? There was even a name for it…"
"‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’ And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple."
Doesn’t all of this make you want to look up at the starry sky and ponder just what is existence, what is reality, and who and what are you?
Although Ingsoc preaches that reality exists only in the mind of the individual, objective reality exists insofar as it is possible to assess the collective minds of all the people – therein resides actuality, untainted by subjective perception.
It is necessary for the Party to control the past in order to control the present. However, it is not necessary to control the present in order to control the future.