The major problem of our time is the decay in the belief in personal immortality, and it cannot be dealt with while the average human being is either drudging like an ox or shivering in fear of the secret police... How right [the working classes] are to realize that the belly comes before the soul, not in the scale of values but in point of time!
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There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always"" do not forget this, Winston"" always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face"" forever.
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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.
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A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.
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The energy that actually shapes the world springs from emotions - racial pride, leader-worship, religious belief, love of war - which liberal intellectuals mechanically write off as anachronisms, and which they have usually destroyed so completely in themselves as to have lost all power of action.
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[What Hayek] does not see, or will not admit, [is] that a return to "free" competition means for the great mass of people a tyranny probably worse, because more irresponsible, than that of the State. The trouble with competitions is that somebody wins them. Professor Hayek denies that free capitalism necessarily leads to monopoly, but in practice that is where it has led, and since the vast majority of people would far rather have State regimentation than slumps and unemployment, the drift towards collectivism is bound to continue if popular opinion has any say in the matter.
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The clock struck half past two. In the little office at the back of Mr. McKechnie's bookshop, Gordon--Gordon Comstock, last member of the Comstock family, aged twenty-nine and rather moth-eaten already--lounged across the table, pushing a fourpenny packet of Player's Weights open and shut with his thumb.
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The only thing for which we can combine is the underlying ideal of Socialism; justice and liberty. But it is hardly strong enough to call this ideal underlying. It is almost completely forgotten. It has been buried beneath layer after layer of doctnaire priggishness, party squabbles and half-backed progressivism until it is like a diamond hidden under a monition of dung. The job of the Socialist is to get it out again. Justice and liberty! Those are the words that have got to ring like a bugle across the world.
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We believe half-instinctively that evil always defeats itself in the long run. Pacifism is founded largely on this belief. Don't resist evil, and it will somehow destroy itself. But why should it? What evidence is there that it does... unless conquered from the outside by military force?
A man may take to drink because he feels himself to he a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.
If he were allowed contact with foreigners he would discover that they are creatures similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about them is lies. The sealed world in which he lives would be broken, and the fear, hatred, and self-righteousness on which his morale depends might evaporate. It is therefore realized on all sides that however ofter Persia, or Egypt, or Java, or Ceylon may change hands, the main frontiers must never be crossed by anything except bombs.
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It struck him that in moments of crisis one is never fighting against an external enemy, but always against one's own body... On the battlefield, in the torture chamber, on a sinking ship, the issues that you are fighting for are always forgotten, because the body swells up until it fills the universe, and even when you are not paralysed by fright or screaming with pain, life is a moment-to-moment struggle against hunger or cold or sleeplessness, against a sour stomach or an aching tooth.
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The aims of these three 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 it is an abiding characteristic of the Low 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 in which all men shall be equal.
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The essence of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance, but the persistence of a certain world-view and a certain way of life ... A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate its successors... Who wields power is not important, provided that the hierarchical structure remains always the same.
There is a geographical element in all belief-saying what seem profound truths in India have a way of seeming enormous platitudes in England, and vice versa . Perhaps the fundamental difference is that beneath a tropical sun individuality seems less distinct and the loss of it less important.
Friend of fatherless! Fountain of happiness! Lord of the swill-bucket! Oh, how my soul is on Fire when I gaze at thy Calm and commanding eye. Like the sun in the sky, Comrade Napoleon! Thou are the giver of All thy creatures love, Full belly twice a day, clean straw to roll upon; Every beast great or small, Sleeps at peace in his stall, Thou watchest over all, Comrade Napoleon! Had I a sucking-pig, Ere he had grown as big Even as a pint bottle or a a rolling-pin He should have learned to be Faithful and true to thee, Yes, his first squeak should be Comrade Napoleon!
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There were times when the fact of impending death seemed as palpable as the bed they lay on, and they would cling together with a sort of despairing sensuality, like a damned soul grasping at his last morsel of pleasure when the clock is within five minutes of striking. But there were also times when they had the illusion not only of safety but of permanence.
What he realised, and more clearly as time went on, was that money-worship has been elevated into a religion. Perhaps it is the only real religion-the only felt religion-that is left to us. Money is what God used to be. Good and evil have no meaning any longer except failure and success. Hence the profoundly significant phrase, to make good. The decalogue has been reduced to two commandments. One for the employers-the elect, the money priesthood as it were- 'Thou shalt make money'; the other for the employed- the slaves and underlings'- 'Thou shalt not lose thy job.' It was about this time that he came across The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and read about the starving carpenter who pawns everything but sticks to his aspidistra. The aspidistra became a sort of symbol for Gordon after that. The aspidistra, the flower of England! It ought to be on our coat of arms instead of the lion and the unicorn. There will be no revolution in England while there are aspidistras in the windows.
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Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.
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Do you realize that the past, starting from yesterday, has been actually abolished? If it survives anywhere, it's in a few solid objects with no words attached to them, like that lump of glass there. Already we know almost literally nothing about the Revolution and the years before the Revolution. Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the party is always right.
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The past is a curious thing. It's with you all the time. I suppose an hour never passes without your thinking of things that happened ten or twenty years ago, and yet most of the time it's got no reality, it's just a set of facts that you've learned, like a lot of stuff in a history book. Then some chance sight or sound or smell, especially smell, sets you going, and the past doesn't merely come back to you, you're actually IN the past. It was like that at this moment.
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If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, it never happened-that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death?... But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated... 'Who controls the past, ' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future:who controls the present controls the past.'... All that was needed was a series of victories over your own memory.
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Would it not be better if they spent more money on wholesome things like oranges and wholemeal bread or if they even, like the writer of the letter to the New Statesman, saved on fuel and ate their carrots raw? Yes, it would, but the point is that no ordinary human being is ever going to do such a thing. The ordinary human being would sooner starve than live on brown bread and raw carrots. And the peculiar evil is this, that the less money you have, the less inclined you feel to spend it on wholesome food. A millionaire may enjoy breakfasting off orange juice and Ryvita biscuits; an unemployed man doesn't. Here the tendency of which I spoke at the end of the last chapter comes into play. When you are unemployed, which is to say when you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don't want to eat dull wholesome food. You want something a little bit 'tasty'. There is always some cheaply pleasant thing to tempt you.
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[Hitler] has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all 'progressive' thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security, and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don't only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flag and loyalty-parades... Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a grudging way, have said to people 'I offer you a good time, ' Hitler has said to them 'I offer you struggle, danger and death, ' and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet
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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.
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For if in careless summer days In groves of Ashtaroth we whored, Repentant now, when winds blow cold, We kneel before our rightful lord; The lord of all, the money-god, Who rules us blood and hand and brain, Who gives the roof that stops the wind, And, giving, takes away again; Who spies with jealous, watchful care, Our thoughts, our dreams, our secret ways, Who picks our words and cuts our clothes, And maps the pattern of our days; Who chills our anger, curbs our hope, And buys our lives and pays with toys, Who claims as tribute broken faith, Accepted insults, muted joys; Who binds with chains the poet's wit, The navvy's strength, the soldier's pride, And lays the sleek, estranging shield Between the lover and his bride.
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Spring, spring! Bytuene Mershe ant Averil, when spray biginneth to spring! When shaws be sheene and swards full fayre, and leaves both large and longe! When the hounds of spring are on winter's traces, in the spring time, the only pretty ring time, when the birds do sing, hey-ding-a-ding ding, cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-wee, ta-witta-woo! And so on and so on and so on. See almost any poet between the Bronze Age and 1805.
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