Orwell Quotes

Quotes tagged as "orwell" (showing 1-30 of 76)
Neil Postman
“We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.

This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.”
Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

George Orwell
“Winston Smith: Does Big Brother exist?
O'Brien: Of course he exists.
Winston Smith: Does he exist like you or me?
O'Brien: You do not exist.”
George Orwell, 1984

George Orwell
“I hate purity, I hate goodness! I don't want virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones.”
George Orwell, 1984

George Orwell
“You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves.”
George Orwell, 1984

George Orwell
“Under the spreading chestnut tree
I sold you and you sold me--”
George Orwell, 1984

George Orwell
“Fear of the mob is a superstitious fear. It is based on the idea that there is some mysterious, fundamental difference between rich and poor, as though they were two different races, like Negroes and white men. But in reality there is no such difference. The mass of the rich and the poor are differentiated by their incomes and nothing else, and the average millionaire is only the average dishwasher dressed in a new suit. Change places, and handy dandy, which is the justice, which is the thief? Everyone who has mixed on equal terms with the poor knows this quite well. But the trouble is that intelligent, cultivated people, the very people who might be expected to have liberal opinions, never do mix with the poor. For what do the majority of educated people know about poverty?”
George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London

George Orwell
“TWO AND TWO MAKES FIVE”
George Orwell, 1984

George Orwell
“He examined the chess problem and set out the pieces. It was a tricky ending, involving a couple of knights.
'White to play and mate in two moves.'
Winston looked up at the portrait of Big Brother. White always mates, he thought with a sort of cloudy mysticism. Always, without exception, it is so arranged. In no chess problem since the beginning of the world has black ever won. Did it not symbolize the eternal, unvarying triumph of Good over Evil? The huge face gazed back at him, full of calm power. White always mates.”
George Orwell, 1984

George Orwell
“A generation of the unteachable is hanging upon us like a necklace of corpses.”
George Orwell

Christopher Hitchens
“Every November of my boyhood, we put on red poppies and attended highly patriotic services in remembrance of those who had 'given' their lives. But on what assurance did we know that these gifts had really been made? Only the survivors—the living—could attest to it. In order to know that a person had truly laid down his life for his friends, or comrades, one would have to hear it from his own lips, or at least have heard it promised in advance. And that presented another difficulty. Many brave and now dead soldiers had nonetheless been conscripts. The known martyrs—those who actually, voluntarily sought death and rejoiced in the fact—had been the kamikaze pilots, immolating themselves to propitiate a 'divine' emperor who looked (as Orwell once phrased it) like a monkey on a stick. Their Christian predecessors had endured torture and death (as well as inflicted it) in order to set up a theocracy. Their modern equivalents would be the suicide murderers, who mostly have the same aim in mind. About people who set out to lose their lives, then, there seems to hang an air of fanaticism: a gigantic sense of self-importance unattractively fused with a masochistic tendency to self-abnegation. Not wholesome.

The better and more realistic test would therefore seem to be: In what cause, or on what principle, would you risk your life?”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

“The fact is that the modern implementation of the prison planet has far surpassed even Orwell’s 1984 and the only difference between our society and those fictionalized by Huxley, Orwell and others, is that the advertising techniques used to package the propaganda are a little more sophisticated on the surface.
Yet just a quick glance behind the curtain reveals that the age old tactics of manipulation of fear and manufactured consensus are still being used to force humanity into accepting the terms of its own imprisonment and in turn policing others within the prison without bars.”
Paul Joseph Watson

George Orwell
“The educated man pictures a horde of submen, wanting only a day's liberty to loot his house, burn his books, and set him to work minding a machine or sweeping out a lavatory. 'Anything,' he thinks, 'any injustice, sooner than let that mob loose.' He does not see that since there is no difference between the mass of rich and poor, there is no question of setting the mob loose. The mob is in fact loose now, and--in the shape of rich men--is using its power to set up enormous treadmills of boredom, such as 'smart' hotels.”
George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London

George Orwell
“Of course he chanted with the rest: it was impossible to do
otherwise. To dissemble your feelings, to control your face, to
do what everyone else was doing, was an instinctive reaction.”
George Orwell

George Orwell
“Processions, meetings, military parades, lectures, waxwork displays, film shows, telescreen programs all had to be organized; stands had to be erected, effigies built, slogans coined, songs written, rumours circulated, photographs faked.”
George Orwell, 1984

George Orwell
“Then the face of Big Brother faded away again and instead the three slogans of the Party stood out in bold capitals:  

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.”
George Orwell

George Orwell
“To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment.”
George Orwell, Essays

George Orwell
“Hasta que no tengan conciencia de su fuerza, no se rebelarán, y hasta después de haberse rebelado, no serán conscientes. Éste es el problema.”
George Orwell, 1984

George Orwell
“You were the dead; theirs was the future.”
George Orwell, 1984
tags: orwell

George Orwell
“It is not certain whether the effects of totalitarianism upon verse need be so deadly as its effects on prose. There is a whole series of converging reasons why it is somewhat easier for a poet than a prose writer to feel at home in an authoritarian society.[...]what the poet is saying- that is, what his poem "means" if translated into prose- is relatively unimportant, even to himself. The thought contained in a poem is always simple, and is no more the primary purpose of the poem than the anecdote is the primary purpose of the picture. A poem is an arrangement of sounds and associations, as a painting is an arrangement of brushmarks. For short snatches, indeed, as in the refrain of a song, poetry can even dispense with meaning altogether.”
George Orwell, 50 Essays

Neil Postman
“What we are confronted with now is the problem posed by the economic and symbolic structure of television. Those who run television do not limit our access to information but in fact widen it. Our Ministry of Culture is Huxleyan, not Orwellian. It does everything possible to encourage us to watch continuously. But what we watch is a medium which presents information in a form that renders it simplistic, nonsubstantive, nonhistorical and noncontextual; that is to say, information packaged as entertainment. In America, we are never denied the opportunity to entertain ourselves.”
Neil Postman

Christopher Hitchens
“Though he never actually joined it, he was close to some civilian elements of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which was the most Communist (and in the rather orthodox sense) of the Palestinian formations. I remember Edward once surprising me by saying, and apropos of nothing: 'Do you know something I have never done in my political career? I have never publicly criticized the Soviet Union. It’s not that I terribly sympathize with them or anything—it's just that the Soviets have never done anything to harm me, or us.' At the time I thought this a rather naïve statement, even perhaps a slightly contemptible one, but by then I had been in parts of the Middle East where it could come as a blessed relief to meet a consecrated Moscow-line atheist-dogmatist, if only for the comparatively rational humanism that he evinced amid so much religious barking and mania. It was only later to occur to me that Edward's pronounced dislike of George Orwell was something to which I ought to have paid more attention.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

George Orwell
“One wants to live, of course, indeed one only stays alive by virtue of the fear of death, but I think, as I thought then, that it is better to die violently and not too old.”
George Orwell, Decline Of The English Murder and Other Essays

Gideon Haigh
“George Orwell famously described international sport as 'war minus the shooting'. But for all Orwell's greatness as a thinker, this was one of his least felicitous lines, analogous to 'murder minus the death' or 'life minus the breathing'.”
Gideon Haigh

George Orwell
“„Libertatea este sclavie”
”În realitate, nici n-o să mai existe gândire, în sensul în care o înțelegem noi acum. Ortodoxia înseamnă a nu gândi - a nu avea nevoie să gândești. Ortodoxia înseamnă lipsa conștiinței.”
George Orwell, 1984

Noam Chomsky
“The trick is not to be isolated―if you're isolated, like Winston Smith in 1984, then sooner or later you're going to break, as he finally broke. That was the point of Orwell's story. In fact, the whole tradition of popular control has been exactly that: to keep people isolated, because if you can keep them isolated enough, you can get them to believe anything. But when people get together, all sorts of things are possible.”
Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky

George Orwell
“Ciononostante, vi fu uno spazio di un paio di secondi durante i quali l'espressione dei suoi occhi avrebbe potuto tradirlo, e fu proprio allora che la cosa accadde, ammesso che fosse davvero accaduta.
Per un attimo Winston incrociò lo sguardo di O'Brien. Questi si era levato in piedi, si era tolto gli occhiali e se li stava risistemando sul naso col suo gesto caratteristico. Ci fu tuttavia una frazione di secondo in cui i loro occhi si incontrarono e in quel brevissimo arco di tempo Winston seppe (sì, seppe) che O'Brien stava pensando le stesse cose che stava pensando lui. Era stato inviato un messaggio inequivocabile. Era come se le loro menti si fossero aperte e i pensieri fluissero, attraverso gli occhi, dall'uno all'altro. "Sono con te" sembrava dirgli O'Brien, "so esattamente quello che provi, so tutto del tuo disprezzo, del tuo odio, del tuo disgusto, ma non temere, io sono dalla tua parte!". Poi quel lampo di mutua intesa si era spento e il volto di O'Brien era tornato imperscrutabile come quello di tutti gli altri.”
George Orwell, 1984

“The crisis of history in France, is a crisis of social bond, a crisis of citizenship. A citizen is the heir of a past more or less mythified, but he makes his own, whatever his personal genealogy. Today, under the pretext that the country has undergone considerable changes, some would like to transform the past in order to adopt it to the new face of France. Nothing, however, will make the past anything other than what it was. To pretend to change history is a totalitarian project: One who has control of the past has control over the future, one who has control over the present has control over the past, as George Orwell wrote in 1984.”
Jean Sevillia, Historiquement incorrect

Richard M. Rorty
“Vladimir Nabokov and George Orwell had quite different gifts, and their self-images were quite different. But, I shall argue, their accomplishment was pretty much the same. Both of them warn the liberal ironist intellectual against temptations to be cruel. Both of them dramatise the tension between private irony and liberal hope.

In the following passage, Nabokov helped blur the distinctions which I want to draw:

...'Lolita' has no moral in tow. For me a work of fiction exists only in so far as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art (curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy) is the norm. There are not many such books. All the rest is either topical trash or what some call the Literature of Ideas, which very often is topical trash coming in huge blocks of plaster that are carefully transmitted from age to age until somebody comes along with a hammer and takes a good crack at Balzac, at Gorki, at Mann.

Orwell blurred the same distinctions when, in one of his rare descents into rant, "The Frontiers of Art and Propaganda," he wrote exactly the sort of thing Nabokov loathed:

You cannot take a purely aesthetic interest in a disease you are dying from; you cannot feel dispassionately about a man who is about to cut your throat. In a world in which Fascism and Socialism were fighting one another, any thinking person had to take sides... This period of ten years or so in which literature, even poetry was mixed up with pamphleteering, did a great service to literary criticism, because it destroyed the illusion of pure aestheticism... It debunked art for art's sake.”
Richard M. Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity

George Orwell
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever. The moral to be drawn from this dangerous nightmare situation is a simple one: don’t let it happen. It depends on you.”
George Orwell

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