man begins to lose it

A friend writes that a re-reading of George Orwell's "1984" suggests that the administration has been using it as a road map, but it was an old [copyright 1961] afterword written by Erich Fromm which really took him aback. An excerpt:

Man in the beginning of the industrial age, when in reality he did not possess the means for a world in which the table was set for all who wanted to eat, when he lived in a world in which there were economic reasons for slavery, war, and exploitation, in which man only sensed the possibilities of his new science and of its application to technique and to production - nevertheless man at the beginning of modern development was full of hope. Four hundred years later, when all these hopes are realizable, when man can produce enough for everybody, when war has become unnecessary because technical progress can give any country more wealth than can territorial conquest, when this globe is in the process of becoming as unified as a continent was four hundred years ago, at the very moment when man is on the verge of realizing his hope, he begins to lose it.
Many thanks to Trick Gigolo.