covered or touched on in lecture
heads up: key point not covered
Winston could not definitely remember a time
when his country had not been at war ...
- The instrument
(the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed,
but there was no way of shutting it off completely.
- The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound
that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be
picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of
vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as
- the three slogans of the Party:
- WAR IS PEACE
- FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
- IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
- the four Ministries between which the entire apparatus of
government was divided. The Ministry of Truth, which concerned itself
with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts. The Ministry of
Peace, which concerned itself with war. The Ministry of Love, which
maintained law and order. And the Ministry of Plenty, which was
responsible for economic affairs. Their names, in Newspeak: Minitrue,
Minipax, Miniluv, and Miniplenty.
- To dissemble your feelings, to control your face, to do what
everyone else was doing, was an instinctive reaction.
- The sacred principles of Ingsoc. Newspeak,
doublethink, the mutability of the past.
- 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?
- 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.'
- All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your
own memory. 'Reality control', they called it: in Newspeak,
- And the Records Department [where Winston
worked], after all, was itself only a single branch of the Ministry of
Truth, whose primary job was not to reconstruct the past but to
supply the citizens of Oceania with newspapers, films, textbooks,
telescreen programmes, plays, novels -- with every conceivable kind of
information, instruction, or entertainment, from a statue to a slogan,
from a lyric poem to a biological treatise, and from a child's
spelling-book to a Newspeak dictionary.
- The aim of the Party was not merely to prevent men and women from
forming loyalties which it might not be able to control. Its real,
undeclared purpose was to remove all pleasure from the sexual act. Not
love so much as eroticism was the enemy, inside marriage as well as
- The Party was trying to kill the sex instinct, or, if it could
not be killed, then to distort it and dirty it. He did not know why
this was so, but it seemed natural that it should be so.
- The sexual act, successfully
performed, was rebellion. Desire was thoughtcrime.
- If there is hope, wrote Winston, it lies in the proles.
- Freedom is the freedom to
say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.
- That [Julia like doing it] was above all what he wanted to hear.
Not merely the love of one person but the animal instinct, the simple
undifferentiated desire: that was the force that would tear the Party
- Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a
blow struck against the Party. It was a political act.
- Any kind of organized revolt against the Party, which was bound
to be a failure, struck her as stupid. The clever thing was to break
the rules and stay alive all the same.
- Unlike Winston, she had
grasped the inner meaning of the Party's sexual puritanism. It was not
merely that the sex instinct created a world of its own which was
outside the Party's control and which therefore had to be destroyed if
possible. What was more important was that sexual privation induced
hysteria, which was desirable because it could be transformed into
war-fever and leader-worship. [Make
war, not love!]
- JULIA: When you make love you're using up energy; and afterwards
you feel happy and don't give a damn for anything. They can't bear you
to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the
time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is
simpIy sex gone sour. If you're happy inside yourself, why should you
get excited about Big Brother and the Three-Year Plans and the Two
Minutes Hate and all the rest of their bloody rot?
- 'You're only a rebel from the waist downwards,' he told her.
- ... the principles of
Ingsoc, doublethink, the mutability of the past, and the denial of
objective reality ...
- They were governed by private loyalties which they did not
question. What mattered were individual relationships, and a completely
helpless gesture, an embrace, a tear, a word spoken to a dying man,
could have value in itself. The proles, it suddenly occurred to him,
had remained in this condition. They were not loyal to a party or a
country or an idea, they were loyal to one another. For the first time
in his life he did not despise the proles or think of them merely as an
inert force which would one day spring to life and regenerate the
world. The proles had stayed human.
- [Julia] thought it over.
'They can't do that,' she said finally. 'It's the one thing they can't
do. They can make you say anything -- anything -- but they can't make
you believe it. They can't get inside you.'
- 'To the past,' said
Winston. [Winston's toast]
- Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement's,
You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St Martin's,
When will you pay me? say the bells of Old Bailey
When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch.
- The Theory and Practice of Oligarchal Collectivism by Emmanuel
- Throughout 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 primary aim of modern warfare ... 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
- In the early twentieth century, the vision of a future
society unbelievably rich, leisured, orderly, and efficient -- a
glittering antiseptic world of glass and steel and snow-white concrete
-- was part of the consciousness of nearly every literate person.
- From the moment when
the machine first made its appearance it was clear to all thinking
people that the need for human drudgery, and therefore 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.
- 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 a basis of
poverty and ignorance.
- The problem was how to keep the wheels of industry turning
without increasing the real 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 empirical method of
thought, on which all the scientific achievements of the past were
founded, is opposed to the most fundamental principles of Ingsoc.
- Nothing is efficient
in Oceania except the Thought Police.
- [War] eats up the
surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special
mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs.
- as early as the
beginning of the twentieth century, human equality had become
- In earlier ages, class
distinctions had been not only inevitable but desirable. Inequality was
the price of civilization. With the development of machine production,
however, the case was altered. Even if it was still necessary for human
beings to do different kinds of work, it was no longer necessary for
them to live at different social or economic levels.
- 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.
- But [to be a "goodthinker"] means also 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. This demands a
continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of
thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in
Newspeak as doublethink.
- The mutability of the past is
the central tenet of Ingsoc. Past events, it is argued, have no
objective existence, but survive only in written records and in human
memories. The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon.
And since the Party is in full control of all records and in equally
full control of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is
whatever the Party chooses to make it. It also follows that though the
past is alterable, it never has been altered in any specific instance.
For when it has been recreated in whatever shape is needed at the
moment, then this new version is the past, and no different past can
ever have existed.
- Doublethink means the
power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind
simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
- The birds sang, the proles sang. the Party did not sing.
- Here comes a candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper
to chop off your head!
- PARTY SLOGAN: "Who controls
the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the
- O'BRIEN: But I tell you,
Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human
mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make
mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party,
which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the
truth, is truth.
- O'BRIEN: In the old
days the heretic walked to the stake still a heretic, proclaiming his
heresy, exulting in it. Even the victim of the Russian purges could
carry rebellion locked up in his skull as he walked down the passage
waiting for the bullet. But we
make the brain perfect before we blow it out.
- Once again the sense of helplessness assailed him. He knew, or he
could imagine, the arguments which proved his own nonexistence; but
they were nonsense, they were only a play on words. Did not the
statement, 'You do not exist', contain a logical absurdity?
- O'BRIEN: 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.
- O'BRIEN: Can you not
understand, Winston, that the individual is only a cell? The weariness
of the cell is the vigour of the organism.
- O'BRIEN: Nonsense. The earth is as old as we are, no older. How
could it be older? Nothing exists except through human consciousness.
- O'BRIEN: The word you are
trying to think of is solipsism. But you are mistaken. This is not
solipsism. Collective solipsism, if you like. But that is a different
thing: in fact, the opposite thing.
- O'BRIEN: We control life, Winston, at all its levels. You are
imagining that there is something called human nature which will be
outraged by what we do and will turn against us. But we create human
nature. Men are infinitely malleable.
- The fallacy [of Smith's
imagined objection] was obvious. It presupposed that somewhere or
other, outside oneself, there was a 'real' world where 'real' things
happened. But how could there be such a world? What knowledge have we
of anything, save through our own minds? All happenings are in the
mind. Whatever happens in all minds, truly happens.
- Two gin-scented tears
trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything
was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over
himself. He loved Big Brother.
Appendix: The Principles of Newspeak
- The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of
expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees
of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was
intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and
Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought—that is, a thought diverging
from the principles of Ingsoc—should be literally unthinkable, at least
so far as thought is dependent on words.
Afterword by Erich Fromm
- One can say that ... Orwell's examples resemble more the
Stalinist and Nazi dictatorships, while Huxley's Brave New World is a
picture of the development of the Western industrial world, provided it
continues to follow the present trend without fundamental change. (317)
- But anyone who sees in
Orwell's description only another denunciation of Stalinism is missing
an essential element of Orwell's analysis. He is actually talking
about a development which is taking place in the Western industrial
countries also, only at a slower pace than it is taking place in Russia
and China. The basic question which Orwell raises is whether
there is any such thing as "truth." (320)
- Alan Harrington ... has coined an excellent expression for the
contemporary concept of truth: "mobile truth." If I work for a
big corporation which claims that its product is better than thatt of
all competitors, the question whether this claim is justified or not in
terms of ascertainable reality becomes irrelevant. What matters
is that as long as I serve this particular corporation, this claim
becomes "my" truth, and I decline to examine whether it is an
objectively valid truth. (321)
- [A]s Orwell himself points
out,  is not only a picture of an enemy but of the whole
human race at the end of the twentieth century. (325)
Memes & Themes
- Junior Anti-Sex League
- Youth League and the Spies
- Thought Police
- Two Minutes Hate
- Big Brother
- Emmanuel Goldstein
St. Augustine on Time
- What, then, is time? If no
one ask of me I know; if I wish to explain to him who asks, I know not.
- If any portion of time be
conceived which cannot now be divided into even the minutest particles
of moments, this only is that which may be called present; which,
however, flies so rapidly from future to past that it cannot be
extended by any delay. For if it is extended, it is divided into
the past and future; but the present hath no space.
- Summary of his case against the
reality of time (LH):
- The past (being no longer) doesn't exist.
- The future (not yet being) doesn't exist.
- The present (having no duration) isn't temporal.
- So, there is no time.
- CONCLUSION: What now is manifest
and clear is, that neither are there past or future things. Nor
is it fitly said, "There are three times, past present, and
future"; but perchance it might be fitly said, "There are three times,
a present of things past, a present of things present, and a present of
- the past only exists as presently recollected
- the future only exists as presently expected
- INGSOC on time: "The mutability of the past is the
central tenet of Ingsoc. Past events, it is argued, have no objective
existence, but survive only in written records and in human memories.
The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon. And since
the Party is in full control of all records and in equally full control
of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is whatever the
Party chooses to make it. It also follows that though the past is
alterable, it never has been altered in any specific instance. For when
it has been recreated in whatever shape is needed at the moment, then
this new version is the past, and no different past can ever have
Overview of Metaphysics & Epistemology
Metaphysics: theory of being
- materialism (or
physicalism): only physical things ("bodies") exist: reality
- idealism: only thoughts and thinkers ("minds")
exist: reality is subjective: Ingsocs "denial of objective reality"
- solipsism: only
I and my thoughts exist;: reality is subjective
- "collective solipsism": only the party's thoughts exist:
reality is intersubjective or "socially constructed"
- dualism: both minds and bodies exist
- the mental is not reducible to
the material: thought processes are not purely physical
- the material is not
reducible to the mental: objects exist mind-independently
Epistemology: theory of knowledge
- "The basic question which Orwell
raises is whether there is any such thing as 'truth." (Afterword by
Erich Fromm: 320)
- JTB theory:
knowledge as tradtionally conceived
- Truth: Correspondence vs.
- Correspondence Theory:
Truth is the
agreement of thoughts with to mind-independent realities
- "To say of what is that it is is, or of what is not that
it is not is true.
- To say of what is that it is not, or or what is not that
it is, is false." (Aristotle)
- Coherence Theory: Truth is agreement between thoughts
- Individualist: truth (for me) = what my thoughts agree on
- Collectivist: truth (for us) = what our thoughts agree on
- Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth
- Ideal: truth (for all) = what all our thoughts ultimately
would agree on..
- Relativism v.
- Absolutism: one truth for all regardless of what
they actually believe
- Relativism: there is no truth-for-all, what's
true-for-me (us) depends on my (our) beliefs
- individual relativism
(subjectivism): truth = truth-for-me
- makes truth relative to individuals
- what's true for me (given my beliefs) might be
false for you (given yours)
relativism: truth = truth-for-us
- makes truth
relative to society or culture
- what's true
for us (given our beliefs) might not be true for them (given theirs)