George Orwell quotes and sayings
June 25, 1903
January 21, 1950
Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.
I am afraid of death. You are young, so presumably you're more afraid of it than I am. Obviously we shall put if off as long as we can. But it makes very little difference. So long as human beings stay human, death and life are the same thing.
The greatest enemy of clear language is insincerity.
A liberal is a power worshipper without the power.
All nationalistic distinctions - all claims to be better than somebody else because you have a different-shaped skull or speak a different dialect - are entirely spurious, but they are important so long as people believe in them.
Freedom of the Press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose.
Man's greatest drive is not love or hate but to change another person's writing.
The idea really came to me the day I got my new false teeth.
Every Joke is a Tiny Revolution.
He wondered vaguely whether in the abolished past it had been a normal experience to lie in bed like this, in the cool of a summer evening, a man and a woman with no clothes on, making love when they chose, talking of what they chose, not feeling any compulsion to get up, simply lying there and listening to peaceful sounds outside. Surely there could never have been a time when that seemed ordinary?
And the bigger the fall, the bigger the joke. It would be better fun to throw a custard pie at a bishop than at a curate.
Your worst enemy, he reflected, was your nervous system. At any moment the tension inside you was liable to translate itself into some visible symptom.
Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, 'he that is not with me is against me'.
Mrs Weaver nosed among the books, too dim-witted to grasp that they were in alphabetical order.
The human beings did not hate Animal Farm any less now that it was prospering; indeed, they hated it more than ever.
If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself. You must know all the while that it is there, but until it is needed you must never let it emerge into your consciousness in any shape that can be given a name.
A human being is primarily a bag for putting food into.
No one can look back on his schooldays and say with truth that they were altogether unhappy.
Napoleon is always right.
Those who 'abjure' violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf.
On a ruinous wall I came upon a poster dating from the previous year and announcing that 'six handsome bulls' would be killed in the arena on such and such a date. How forlorn its faded colors looked. Where were the handsome bulls and the handsome bull-fighters now? It appeared that even in Barcelona there were hardly any bullfights nowadays - for some reason all the best matadors were Fascists.
It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself-anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face ... was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime.
Does Big Brother exist?" "Of course he exists. The Party exists. Big Brother is the embodiment of the Party." "Does he exist in the same way as I exist?" "You do not exist.
The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.
The choice before human beings, is not, as a rule , between good and evil but between two evils. You can let the Nazis rule the world : that is evil; or you can overthrow them by war , which is also evil. There is no other choice before you, and whichever you choose you will not come out with clean hands.
To do anything that suggested a taste for solitude, even to go for a walk by yourself, was always slightly dangerous. There was a word for it in Newspeak: ownlife.
Autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful.
The essential point here is that all people with small, insecure incomes are in the same boat and ought to be fighting on the same side. Probably we could do with a little less talk about' capitalist' and 'proletarian' and a little more about the robbers and the robbed.
In all the useful arts the world is either standing still or going backwards.
you can't live life without consequences. They occur regardless of the decision. A consequence is an outcome, good or bad. You can live life without regrets and thats what makes it worth it. Or you could live with regret and end up hanging yourself but thats still good. You paid for the rope so your feeding someones family. Something to be proud of before you kick the bucket.
No one is patriotic about taxes.
It struck him that the truly characteristic thing about modern life was not its cruelty and insecurity, but simply its bareness, its dinginess, its listlessness. Life, if you looked about you, bore no resemblance not only to the lies that streamed out of the telescreens, but even to the ideals that the party was trying to achieve.
News is something somebody doesn't want printed; all else is advertising.
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation, even among people who should and do know better.
I sometimes think that the price of liberty is not so much eternal vigilance as eternal dirt.
It is deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups somewhere near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity increases the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one group and another.
Has it ever struck you that there's a thin man inside every fat man, just as they say there's a statue inside every block of stone?
Of pain you could wish only one thing: that it should stop. Nothing in the world was so bad as physical pain. In the face of pain there are no heroes.
For the future. For the unborn.
The moralist and the revolutionary are constantly undermining one another. Marx exploded a hundred tons of dynamite beneath the moralist position, and we are still living in the echo of that tremendous crash. But already, somewhere or other, the sappers are at work and fresh dynamite is being tamped in place to blow Marx at the moon. Then Marx, or somebody like him, will come back with yet more dynamite, and so the process continues, to an end we cannot foresee.
The child thinks of growing old as an almost obscene calamity, which for some mysterious reason will never happen to itself. All who have passed the age of thirty are joyless grotesques, endlessly fussing about things of no importance and staying alive without, so far as the child can see, having anything to live for. Only child life is real life.
And if our book consumption remains as low as it has been, at least let us admit that it is because reading is a less exciting pastime than going to the dogs, the pictures or the pub, and not because books, whether bought or borrowed, are too expensive.
There were sins that were too subtle to be explained, and there were others that were too terrible to be clearly mentioned. For example, there was sex, which was always smouldering just under the surface and which suddenly blew up into a tremendous row when I was about twelve.
The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.
If one looks closely one sees that there is no essential difference between a beggar's livelihood and that of numberless respectable people. Beggars do not work, it is said; but then, what is work? A navvy works by swinging a pick. An accountant works by adding up figures. A beggar works by standing out of doors in all weathers and getting varicose veins, chronic bronchitis, etc. It is a trade like any other; quite useless, of course - but then, many reputable trades are quite useless.
All men are enemies. All animals are comrades.
Prolonged, indiscriminate reviewing of books is a quite exceptionally thankless, irritating and exhausting job. It not only involves praising trash but constantly inventing reactions towards books about which one has no spontaneous feeling whatever.
You asked me once,' said O'Brien, 'what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.
There is no test of literary merit except survival, which is itself an index to majority opinion.
Everyone always did miss everyone else in this war, whenever it was humanly possible to do so.
what is peculiar to our own age is the abandonment of the idea that history could be told truthfully.
To hang on from day to day and from week to week, spinning out a present that had no future, seemed an unconquerable instinct, just as one's lungs will always draw the next breath so long as there is air available.
The result of this is that so-called peace propaganda is just as dishonest and intellectually disgusting as war propaganda. Like war propaganda, it concentrates on putting forward a 'case', obscuring the opponent's point of view and avoiding awkward questions.
It is curious how people take it for granted that they have a right to preach at you and pray over you as soon as your income falls below a certain level.
The heresy of heresies was common sense.
The writers I care about most and never grow tired of are: Shakespeare, Swift, Fielding, Dickens, Charles Reade, Flaubert and, among modern writers, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot and D. H. Lawrence. But I believe the modern writer who has influenced me most is Somerset Maugham, whom I admire immensely for his power of telling a story straightforwardly and without frills.
The mutability of the past is the central tenet of Ingsoc. Past events, it is argued, have no objective existance, but survive only in written records and in human memories. The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon. And since the Party is in full control of all records, and in equally full control of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is whatever the Party chooses to make it.
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ' Socialism ' and ' Communism ' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, 'Nature Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist in England.
In places this book is a little over-written, because Mr Blunden is no more able to resist a quotation than some people are to refuse a drink.
You are a slow learner, Winston." "How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four." "Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.
The Party is not concerned with perpetuating its blood but with perpetuating itself. WHO wields power is not important, provided that the hierarchical structure remains always the same.
You can only rule over a subject race, especially when you are in a small minority, if you honestly believe yourself to be racially superior, and it helps towards this if you can believe that the subject race is biologically different.
I always disagree, however, when people end up saying that we can only combat Communism, Fascism or what not if we develop an equal fanaticism. It appears to me that one defeats the fanatic precisely by not being a fanatic oneself, but on the contrary by using one's intelligence.
The further a society drifts from the truth the more it will hate those that speak it.
No one I met at this time -- doctors, nurses, practicantes, or fellow-patients -- failed to assure me that a man who is hit through the neck and survives it is the luckiest creature alive. I could not help thinking that it would be even luckier not to be hit at all.
Why was it that they could never shout like that about something that mattered?
He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. But so long as he uttered it, in some obscure way the continuity was not broken. It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you carried on the human heritage.
By 'nationalism' I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions and tens of millions of people can be confidently labeled 'good' or 'bad'...By 'patriotism' I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power.
At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.
The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another.
The best books... are those that tell you what you know already.
Within any important issue, there are always aspects no one wishes to discuss.
A generation of the unteachable is hanging upon us like a necklace of corpses.
Only old Benjamin professed to remember every detail of his long life and to know that things never had been, nor ever could be much better or much worse--hunger, hardship, and disappointment being, so he said, the unalterable law of life.
His whole mind and body seemed to be afflicted with an unbearable sensitivity, a sort of transparency, which made every movement, every sound, every contact, every word that he had to speak or listen to, an agony. Even in sleep he could not altogether escape form her image.
The existence of good bad literaturethe fact that one can be amused or excited or even moved by a book that one's intellect simply refuses to take seriouslyis a reminder that art is not the same thing as cerebration.
If you turn the other cheek, you will get a harder blow on it than you got on the first one. This does not always happen, but it is to be expected, and you ought not to complain if it does happen.
You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves.
We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part in it as handfuls of dust and splinters of bone. But how far away that future may be, there is no knowing. It might be a thousand years. At present nothing is possible except to extend the area of sanity little by little. We cannot act collectively. We can only spread our knowledge outwards from individual to individual, generation after generation. In the face of the Thought Police there is no other way.
As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me. They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are only 'doing their duty'.
I doubt whether classical education ever has been or can be successfully carried out without corporal punishment.
Even through the shut window pane, the world looked cold.
No one, at any rate no English writer, has written better about childhood than Dickens. In spite of all the knowledge that has accumulated since, in spite of the fact that children are now comparatively sanely treated, no novelist has shown the same power of entering into the child's point of view.
A dull, decent people, cherishing and fortifying their dullness behind a quarter of a million bayonets.
The more men you've had, the more I love you.
Henry David Thoreau
C. S. Lewis
J. K. Rowling
George R. R. Martin
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Julie Anne Peters
Roy Jones Jr.
Robert W. Service
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