Monday, August 01, 2011

The Wisdom of the Great - George Orwell

A visit to Orwell's Bastard motivated me to seek out the wisdom of Orwell himself, to find guidance to our troubled times.   Revisiting the wisdom of great people long past is a sure way to recalibrate one's moral compass.  Here are a few quotes from the man, George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair, 1903-1950).

"In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." 

 "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. " 

"The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history." 

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

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."  

"Big Brother is Watching You."

"But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought." 

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

"To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle." 

"All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting." 

"Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness." 

"Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac." 

"We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right." 

"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations." 

"The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human." 

 Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

"Everyone believes in the atrocities of the enemy and disbelieves in those of his own side, without ever bothering to examine the evidence." 

 "In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer..." 

"Progress is not an illusion; it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing." 

"If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them." 

"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." 

"It is curious how people take it for granted that they have a right to preach at you and pray over you as soon as your income falls below a certain level." 

"Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket. "

"...the object of waging a war is always to be in a better position in which to wage another war." 

"As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me." 

"The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them." 

"At a time of universal deceit telling the truth is considered a revolutionary act." 

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."

"Within any important issue, there are always aspects no one wishes to discuss."

"It was like swimming against a current that swept you backwards however hard you struggled, and then suddenly deciding to turn round and go with the current instead of opposing it. Nothing had changed except your own attitude: the predestined thing happened in any case." 

 "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." 

"You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane." 

"If you can feel that staying human is worth while, even when it can't have any result whatever, you've beaten them." 

"The aim of the joke is not to degrade the human being, but to remind him that he is already degraded."

1 comment:

Steve said...

language corrupting thought, rings loudest for me. Frank Lutz wordmiester.