13 quotes from George Orwell’s 1984 that resonate more than ever

One of the most influential dystopian novels ever written, 1984 has had a profound effect on the world. Since its publication in 1949 many of its concepts have entered modern day parlance. Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak and Room 101 are all part of Orwell’s world. What’s more, as a result of the book, Orwellian is now a term to describes official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of the past by a totalitarian or authoritarian state. Orwell hoped that by writing 1984 he’d help stop such a state ever coming to pass. Read these thirteen quotes to decide for yourself.

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”

 “War is peace. Freedom is slavery.  Ignorance is strength.”

“Big Brother is Watching You.”

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”

“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”

“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”

“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power.”

“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”

“Orthodoxy means not thinking–not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”

“For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?”

“Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power”

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12 replies
    M. POHLMAN says:

    1984 is a work that every high school student should read along with Machiavelli’s The Prince and Eric Hoffer’s True Believer. “Politics and the English Language” wouldn’t hurt either. These works show how dictatorship works and it works only because we let it. Orthodoxy and fanaticism are the road to slavery. Beware!!

  2. jonny
    jonny says:

    I wonder how many people even realise Orwell wasn’t writing about our dystopian future. 1984 is the story of early childhood, a toddler’s heroic struggle for independence and self-determination before their rebellious streak is annihilated by the loving violence of a mother that Knows Best, a Big Mother (if you’re a toddler) who reverses values to illogical (deceit is nice, Truth is rude, mindless obedience is rewarded, inquisitive thought is punished, violence is love, God is good, etc).

    This is a story we know already. We’re all Winston. We all won the battle over ourselves. We all love Big Mother.

    “The best books, he perceived, are those that tell you what you know already.”
    – (Orwell, 1984)


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