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 1984 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—forever.”



 “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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52 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)

        • Bobby
          Bobby says:

          Orweill said what the book was about!!!!
          The article said what it was about!!
          So yeah, in this case there is only ONE (1) meaning!! But people are just too ignorant and/ or inept to pay attention and actually comprehend or retain anything of actual use. But they can damn sure tell you when that Kardashian whore got married or Minaj’s birthday.

    • Greg Gauthier
      Greg Gauthier says:

      This is genius, actually. One way you can tell, is in the empty vitriol you get from respondents like Adam.

      I have often marveled at how much autobiography can be found in science fiction. Philip Dick and Ray Bradbury are also great examples of this. Bradbury even admitted that many of his short story ideas come from semi-conscious sources like dreams and old memories. So, it’s not at all an unreasonable inference to suggest origins like childhood trauma for these stories.

      • Nate Whilk
        Nate Whilk says:

        Saying 1984 is “really” about something else is absurd. That isn’t genius; it’s a joke. The only point of similarity in the comparison to early childhood is that both are concerned with power.

        As for autobiography in authors’ writings, unless you have actual, hard evidence for that, it’s also a joke.

    • Joe
      Joe says:

      Are you really believing that? Can you not see how Animal Farm ties into that same future or is that just a story about a day at the farm?

    • Mike
      Mike says:

      Interesting slant and it works. Equally it works in employment too. I worked for a multi-national organisation where the overall strategy was one of denial ( we never said that, we’ve always been at war with….) twisting words, and accusations of cynicism when all you were doing was being a realist. The trouble is that people keep quiet and don’t challenge simply out of fear of losing a job. Natural but it doesn’t help to make things better!

  3. state persecuted
    state persecuted says:

    to this day britain is still murdering it citizens, its committing social cleansing of mentally ill, pedos and long term unemployed…..yes unemplyed, yes unemploted is a capitaol offoice in britain, if you dont pay taxes for too long u will disappear just like the homeless & scitzos do!!!
    thats what the book was reslly about, orwell knew bak then what the brit military was secretly doing to tit citzens

  4. Tigirl
    Tigirl says:

    Where is “We are the dead,” on this list?
    It’s my favourite quote, and I feel it rings true, if not also depressingly.

  5. Adrion
    Adrion says:

    It’s obvious the dumbing down of the world was accomplished by market forces that now use these quotes reformulated in so called business speak. C’mon admit it. Are you blind. All hail stale rock n roll. Not me. I’m still growing.

  6. Nate Whilk
    Nate Whilk says:

    From “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism”, the book within the book:

    “Ingsoc, which grew out of the earlier Socialist movement and inherited its phraseology, has in fact carried out the main item in the Socialist programme; with the result, foreseen and intended beforehand, that economic inequality has been made permanent.”

    USSR, Cuba, N. Korea.

  7. Nate Whilk
    Nate Whilk says:

    Also from Goldstein’s book. It’s a long one, but it’s worth it.

    “The new aristocracy was made up for the most part of bureaucrats, scientists, technicians, trade-union organizers, publicity experts, sociologists, teachers, journalists, and professional politicians. These people, whose origins lay in the salaried middle class and the upper grades of the working class, had been shaped and brought together by the barren world of monopoly industry and centralized government. As compared with their opposite numbers in past ages, they were less avaricious, less tempted by luxury, hungrier for pure power, and, above all, more conscious of what they were doing and more intent on crushing opposition. This last difference was cardinal. By comparison with that existing today, all the tyrannies of the past were half-hearted and inefficient. The ruling groups were always infected to some extent by liberal ideas, and were content to leave loose ends everywhere, to regard only the overt act and to be uninterested in what their subjects were thinking. Even the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages was tolerant by modern standards. Part of the reason for this was that in the past no government had the power to keep its citizens under constant surveillance. The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further. With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end. Every citizen, or at least every citizen important enough to be worth watching, could be kept for twenty-four hours a day under the eyes of the police and in the sound of official propaganda, with all other channels of communication closed. The possibility of enforcing not only complete obedience to the will of the State, but complete uniformity of opinion on all subjects, now existed for the first time.”

  8. cloudynatknit
    cloudynatknit says:

    Doublethink: the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them

  9. Winston Smith
    Winston Smith says:

    “Donald Trump” debuted his acting career as “himself” on “the Jefferson’s” in 1981. He’s acted in numerous roles as “himself” ever since. Just like Elvira. Just like “the Unknown comic”. Just like “Prince” or “Tiny Tim”. He’s a FICTIONAL character…

    Of course you already know that though… now go back to NOT knowing it again.

  10. Bill
    Bill says:

    It is truly amazing that so many of these comments reflect a reading of 1984, but no logical understanding. The Trump administration, despite its faults, is the polar opposite of an oppressive Orwellian hegemony. While I ca’t say this for most Republicans, he is actually trying to empower the people of Iowa (etc.), whom he knows are not stupid, though perhaps often less “educated.” You “educated folk” cling to the ignorance that is your power. You are the double thinkers, and you don’t know it, but that is classic Orwell. Yes, you are too educated to recognize common sense, so do the opposite, and scream for even bigger government that defines the left. And, don’t listen to anyone who disagrees with your “enlightened” perspective, because “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength”…night is day, up is down, black is white. Let’s take down all of our historic statues and erase the past on our well educated, sophisticated road to PC utopia. Do most people even know that the Nazi party was/is Socialist?

    • Butch
      Butch says:

      Bill, they not only don’t get it, their indoctrination to the alphabet media narrative has turned many people who had a thought into mindless sheep. The PC culture has imbedded itself in every facet of our daily lives. Only those who think critically for themselves, the ones who know history and are willing to research facts for themselves, are left to help with the re-education. Silence is a killer of freedom and people need to stand up and be able to defend against the insanity.


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