by George Orwell
Chapter 3
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. 
Chapter 4 
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 
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. 
Chapter 5
Page 46
     Orthodoxy means not thinking - not needing to think. Orthodoxy is 
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. 
Chapter 7
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 
     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." 
Chapter 8
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? 
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. 
Chapter 9
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. 
     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