NINETEEN EIGHTY FOUR by George Orwell
Page 31 The Party said that Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia. He, Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia as short a time as four years ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his known consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed, if all records told the same tale, then the lie passed into history and became truth. "Who controls the past," ran the Party slogan, "controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." And yet the past, though its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. "Reality control," they called it: in Newspeak, "double-think." Winston's mind slid away into the labyrinth world of double- think. To know and not to know, to be conscious or complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them; to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy; to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again; and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the world "doublethink" involved the use of doublethink.
Page 37 And somewhere or other, quite anonymous, there were the directing brains who co-ordinated the whole effort and laid down the lines of policy which made it necessary that this fragment of the past should be preserved, that one falsified, and the other rubbed out of existence.
Page 39 Very likely, as many as a dozen people were now working away on rival versions of what Big Brother had actually said. And presently, some master brain in the Inner Party would select this version or that, would re-edit it and set in motion the complex processes of cross-referencing that would be required, and then the chosen lie would pass into the permanent records and become truth.
Page 46 Orthodoxy means not thinking - not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.
Page 47 It was not the man's brain that was speaking, it was his larynx. The stuff that was coming out of him consisted of words but it was not speech in the true sense: it made a noise uttered in unconsciousness, like the quacking of a duck.
Page 59 "If there is hope," wrote Winston, "it lies in the proles." If there was proles, it must lie in the proles because only there, in those swarming disregarded masses, could the force to destroy the Party ever be generated.
Page 60 Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled, they cannot become conscious. The Party claimed to have liberated the proles from bondage. Before the Revolution, they had been hideously oppressed by the capitalists, they had been starved and flogged.
Page 61 And even when they became discontented, their discontent led nowhere because being without general ideas, they could only focus on petty specific grievances. The larger evils invariably escaped their notice. In a children's history textbook: "In among all this terrible poverty there were just a few great big beautiful houses that were lived in by rich men who had as many as thirty servants to look after them. These rich men were called capitalists. They were fat, ugly men with wicked faces dressed in a long black coat and a queer shiny hat shaped like a stovepipe which was called a top hat. This was the uniform of the capitalists and no one else was allowed to wear it. The capitalists owned everything in the world, and everyone else was their slave. They owned all the land, all the houses, all the factories, and all the money. If anyone disobeyed them they could throw them into prison or they could take his job away and starve him to death." How could you tell how much of it was lies? It might be true that the average human was better off.
Page 67 The past not only changed but changed continuously. "I understand HOW: I do not understand WHY. It was as though some huge force were pressing down upon you - something that penetrated inside your skull, battering against your brain, frightening you out of your beliefs, persuading you, almost, to deny the evidence of your senses. In the end, the party would announce that two plus two made five and you would have to believe it.
Page 68 The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him. "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows."
Page 72 It was probable that there were some millions of Proles for whom the Lottery was the principal if not the only reason for remaining alive. It was their delight, their folly, their anodyne,their intellectual stimulant. Winston knew that the the winners of the big prizes being to non-existent persons.
Page 76 What I am asking is, were these people able to treat you as an inferior simply because they were rich and you were poor?
PART TWO Chapter 5
Page 127 I know that the past is falsified but it would never be possible for me to prove it, even when I did the falsification myself. After the thing is done, no evidence ever remains.
THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF OLIGARCHICAL COLLECTIVISM by Emmanuel Goldstein
Chapter III: War is peace The splitting up of the world into three great super-states was an event which could be and indeed was foreseen before the middle of the 20th century. With the absorption of Europe by Russia and of the British Empire by the United States, two of the three existing powers, Eurasia and Oceania, were already effectively in being. The third, Eastasia, only emerged after another decade of confused fighting. In one combination or another, these three super-states are permanently at war and have been so for the past 25 years. War, however, is no longer the desperate annihilating struggle that it was in the early decades. It is a warfare of limited aims between combatants who are unable to destroy one another, have no material cause for fighting and are not divided by any genuine ideological difference. That is not to say that the either the conduct of the war has become less bloodthirsty. On the contrary, war hysteria is continuous and universal in all countries and such acts as raping, looting, slaughter of children are looked upon as normal, and when they are committed by one's own side and not the enemy, meritorious. But in a physical sense, war involves very small numbers of people, mostly highly-trained specialists. The fighting takes place on vague frontiers. In the centers of civilization, war means no more than a continuous shortage of consumption goods and an occasional crash of a rocket bomb and a few deaths. War has changed its character. More exactly, the reasons for which war is waged have changed in their order of importance. To understand the nature of the present war, one must realize that it is impossible for it to be decisive. None of the three super- states could be definitely conquered even by the other two in combination. They are too evenly matched.
Page 152 With the establishment of self-contained economies, in which production and consumption are geared to one another, the scramble for markets which was a main cause of previous wars has come to an end while the competition for raw materials is no longer a matter of life and death.
Page 153 The primary aim of modern warfare in accordance with the principles of doublethink is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living. Ever since the end of the nineteenth century, the problem of what to do with the surplus of consumption goods has been latent in industrial society. At present,when few human beings even have enough to eat, this problem is not urgent and it might not have to become so even if no artificial processes of destruction had been at work. From the moment when the machine first made its appearance it was clear to all thinking people that the need for human drudgery and therefor to a great extent, for human inequality, had disappeared. If the machine were used deliberately for that end, hunger, overwork, dirt, illiteracy, and disease could be eliminated within a few generations. And in fact, by producing wealth which it was sometimes impossible not to distribute, the machine did raise the living standards of the average human being.
Page 154 But it was also very clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the destruction of hierarchical society. If it once became general, wealth would confer no distinction. It was possible to imagine a society in which wealth should be evenly distributed while power remained in the hands of a small privileged class. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function and they would sweep it away. IN the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. Nor was it a satisfactory solution to keep the the masses in poverty by restricting the output of goods. This happened to a great extent between 1920 and 1940. The economy of many countries was allowed to stagnate, land went out of cultivation, capital equipment was not added to, great blocks of the population were prevented from working and kept half alive by State charity. The problem was how to keep the wheels of industry turning without increasing the wealth of the world. Goods must be produced but they must not be distributed. And in practice, the only way of achieving this was by continuous warfare. The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor. War is a way of shattering to pieces materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.
Page 155 Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labor power without producing anything that can be consumed. A Floating Fortress has locked up in it the labor that would build several hundred cargo- ships. In principle, the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after the bare needs of the population. In practice, the needs of the population are always under-estimated with the result that there is a chronic shortage of half the necessities of life; but this is looked on as an advantage. It is deliberate policy to keep even the favored groups somewhere near the brink of hardship,because a general state of scarcity increase the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one group and another. The social atmosphere is that of a besieged city where the possession of a lump of horseflesh makes the difference between wealth and poverty. And at the same time, the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival. War, it will be seen, not only accomplishes the necessary destruction but accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle, it would be quite simple to waste the surplus labor of the world by building temples and pyramids, by digging holes and filling them up again, or even producing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But this would provide only the economic and not the emotional basis for a hierarchical society.
Page 159 Actually, all three philosophies are barely distinguishable and the social systems which they support are not distinguishable at all. Everywhere there is the same pyramidal structure, the same worship of a semi-divine leader, the same economy existing by and for continuous warfare. It follows that the three super-states not only cannot conquer one another but would gain no advantage by doing so. On the contrary, so long as they remain in conflict they prop one another up. The ruling groups of all three powers are simultaneously aware and unaware of what they are doing. Their lives are dedicated to world conquest but they also know that war must continue without victory. Meanwhile, the fact there is no danger of conquest makes possible the denial of reality. By becoming continuous, war has fundamentally changed its character. In past ages, war, almost by definition, was something that sooner or later came to an end in victory or defeat.
Chapter I: Ignorance is strength Through recorded time and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High,the Middle and the Low. The essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always re-asserted itself just as a gyroscope always returns to equilibrium, however far it is pushed one way or the other. The aims of these groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim, for the abiding characteristic of the Low is that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside their daily lives, is to abolish all distinctions and create a society where all shall be equal. Of the three groups, only the Low are never even temporarily successful in achieving their aims. From the point of view of the Low, no historic change has ever meant much more than a change in the name of their masters.
Page 163 The need for a hierarchical form of society has been preached by kings and aristocrats and by the priests, lawyers and the like who were parasitical upon them,and it had generally been softened by promises of compensation in an imaginary world beyond the grave.
Page 164 At the beginning of the 20th century, human equality had become technically possible. It was still true that men were not equal in native talents but there was no longer any real need for class distinctions or for large differences in wealth. But by the fourth decade, all the main currents of political thought were authoritarian. The earthly paradise had been discredited at exactly the moment when it became realizable.
Page 166 The masses never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison,they ever even become aware that they are oppressed. The recurrent economic crises of past times were totally unnecessary and are now not permitted to happen.
Page 170 The ability to believe that black is white and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought known in Newspeak as doublethink. Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously and accepting both of them, to tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed,to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies, all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink,it is necessary to exercise doublethink.
Page 172 The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture, and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy:they are deliberate exercises in doublethink. For it is only be reconciling contradictions that power can be retained indefinitely. If human equality is to be forever averted, if the High are to keep their places permanently, then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity. But there is one question which until this moment we have ignored. It is: why should human equality be averted? What is the motive for this huge planned effort to freeze history at a particular moment in time?
Page 173 Being in a minority, even a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.
Page 215 If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever.
Page 224 He trained himself in not seeing or not understanding the arguments that contradicted them. It was not easy. It needed great powers of reasoning and improvisation. It needed also a sort of athleticism of mind, an ability at one moment to make the most delicate use of logic and at the next to be unconscious of the crudest logical errors. Stupidity was as necessary as intelligence, and as difficult to attain.
Appendix: The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted and and for all, a heretical thought should be literally unthinkable. Quite apart from the suppression of definitely heretical words, reduction of vocabulary was regarded as an end in itself and no word that could be dispensed with was allowed to survive. Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum. Goodthink meant orthodoxy.
Send a comment to John Turmel