A totalitarian government uses oppression and manipulation to enforce its rules and will on the masses
There is absolute control over what the masses read, eat, wear, hear, and so on. There is little room for people to feel like free-willed humans due to the strict guidelines they must follow.
Super-surveillance is a tool employed to ensure total compliance from the population. Rulers keep an eye on the masses, ensuring they follow the rules and regulations and punish those who falter. This concept is known as Big Brother, often repeated as “Big Brother is watching,” creating the illusion of an all-powerful, all-seeing eye you dare not defy. But this is yet another tool to frighten people into subservience and obedience.
In reality, there was no omnipresent, omnipotent Big Brother anywhere. It was simply that the government had other people in positions to report aberrations. They were called “Thought Police,” monitoring people covertly to ensure they didn’t act out of line or form independent thoughts. If they noticed any deviations, they kidnapped the offender discreetly and brainwashed them until they behaved accordingly.
In a normal society, rules and a moral code hold people to specific standards. Proper behavior is a common thing, and there are punishments for deviation.
Did you know? Totalitarianism started and ended at different times in different parts of the world. Wikipedia reports Turkmenistan is still actively under totalitarianism as of 2022.