Orwell Thought Police Quotes

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April the 4th, 1984. To the past, or to the future. To an age when thought is free. From the Age of Big Brother, from the Age of the Thought Police, from a dead man - greetings!
George Orwell (1984)
The term "political correctness" has always appalled me, reminding me of Orwell's "Thought Police" and fascist regimes.
Helmut Newton
We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part in it as handfuls of dust and splinters of bone. But how far away that future may be, there is no knowing. It might be a thousand years. At present nothing is possible except to extend the area of sanity little by little. We cannot act collectively. We can only spread our knowledge outwards from individual to individual, generation after generation. In the face of the Thought Police there is no other way.
George Orwell (1984)
Parsons was Winston’s fellow employee at the Ministry of Truth. He was a fattish but active man of paralyzing stupidity, a mass of imbecile enthusiasms--one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than on the thought police, the stability of the Party depended.
George Orwell
The girl with dark hair was coming towards them across the field. With what seemed a single movement she tore off her clothes and flung them disdainfully aside. Her body was white and smooth, but it aroused no desire in him, indeed he barely looked at it. What overwhelmed him in that instant was admiration for the gesture with which she had thrown her clothes aside. With its grace and carelessness it seemed to annihilate a whole culture, a whole system of thought, as though Big Brother and the Party and the Thought Police could all be swept into nothingness by a single splendid movement of the arm. That too was a gesture belonging to the ancient time. Winston woke up with the word ‘Shakespeare’ on his lips.
George Orwell (1984)
The family had become in effect an extension of the Thought Police. It was a device by means of which everyone could be surrounded night and day by informers who knew him intimately.
George Orwell (1984)
The most gifted of [the Proletariate], who might possibly become a nuclei of discontent, are simply marked down by the Thought Police and eliminated.
George Orwell (1984)
The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it.
George Orwell (Some Thoughts on the Common Toad)
How many a time have I stood watching the toads mating, or a pair of hares having a boxing match in the young corn, and thought of all the important persons who would stop me enjoying this if they could. But luckily they can't. So long as you are not actually ill, hungry, frightened or immured in a prison or a holiday camp, spring is still spring. The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it.
George Orwell
As he once wrote of Kipling, his own enduring influence can be measured by a number of terms and phrases—doublethink, thought police, 'Some animals are more equal than others'—that he embedded in our language and in our minds. In Orwell's own mind there was an inextricable connection between language and truth, a conviction that by using plain and unambiguous words one could forbid oneself the comfort of certain falsehoods and delusions. Every time you hear a piece of psychobabble or propaganda—'people's princess,' say, or 'collateral damage,' or 'peace initiative'—it is good to have a well-thumbed collection of his essays nearby. His main enemy in discourse was euphemism, just as his main enemy in practice was the abuse of power, and (more important) the slavish willingness of people to submit to it.
Christopher Hitchens
And yet it was a fact that if Syme grasped, even for three seconds, the nature of his, Winston's, secret opinions, he would betray him instantly to the Thought Police. So would anybody else for that matter: but Syme more than most. Zeal was not enough. Orthodoxy was unconsciousness.
George Orwell (1984)
He was a fattish but active man of paralysing stupidity, a mass of imbecile enthusiasms—one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than on the Thought Police, the stability of the Party depended.
George Orwell (1984)
There is no possibility that any perceptible change will happen within our own lifetime. We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part in it as handfuls of dust and splinters of bone. But how far away that future may be, there is no knowing. It might be a thousand years. At present nothing is possible except to extend the area of sanity little by little. We cannot act collectively. We can only spread our knowledge outwards from individual to individual, generation after generation. In the face of the Thought Police, there is no other way.
George Orwell (1984)
She would not accept it as a law of nature that the individual is always defeated. In a way she realized that she herself was doomed, that sooner or later the Thought Police would catch her and kill her, but with another part of her mind she believed that it was somehow possible to construct a secret world in which you could live as you chose. All you needed was luck and cunning and boldness. She did not understand that there was no such thing as happiness that the only victory lay in the far future, long after you were dead, that from the moment of declaring war on the Party it was better to think of yourself as a corpse.
George Orwell (1984)
Modernism was based on a kind of arrogance ... and led designers to believe that if they thought of something cool, it must be considered universally cool. That is, if something's worth doing, it's worth driving into the ground to the exclusion of all other approaches. Look at the use of parentheses in Lisp or the use of white space as syntax in Python. Or the mandatory use of objects in many languages, including Java. All of these are ways of taking freedom away from the end user "for their own good". They're just versions of Orwell's Newspeak, in which it's impossible to think bad thoughts. We escaped from the fashion police in the 1970s, but many programmers are still slaves of the cyber police.
Larry Wall
Little in his brief life was lost on him; there are premonitions of Nineteen Eighty-Four even in his memoir of schooldays ‘Such, Such Were the Joys’. Experiences in the colonies and the BBC can be seen to have furnished raw materials; so indeed can his reading of Evgeny Zamyatin’s We and other dystopian literature from the early days of Stalinism. But the transcendent or crystallising moment undoubtedly occurred in Spain, or at any rate in Catalonia. This was where Orwell suffered the premonitory pangs of a man living under a police regime: a police regime ruling in the name of socialism and the people. For a Westerner, at least, this epiphany was a relatively novel thing; it brushed the sleeves of many thoughtful and humane people, who barely allowed it to interrupt their preoccupation with the ‘main enemy’, fascism. But on Orwell it made a permanent impression.
Christopher Hitchens
April 4th, 1984. Last night to the flicks. All war films. One very good one of a ship full of refugees being bombed somewhere in the Mediterranean. Audience much amused by shots of a great huge fat man trying to swim away with a helicopter after him. first you saw him wallowing along in the water like a porpoise, then you saw him through the helicopters gunsights, then he was full of holes and the sea round him turned pink and he sank as suddenly as though the holes had let in the water, audience shouting with laughter when he sank, then you saw a lifeboat full of children with a helicopter hovering over it, there was a middleaged woman might have been a jewess sitting up in the bow with a little boy about three years old in her arms, little boy screaming with fright and hiding his head between her breasts as if he was trying to burrow right into her and the woman putting her arms round him and comforting him although she was blue with fright herself, all the time covering him up as much as possible as if she thought her arms could keep the bullets off him, then the helicopter planted a 20 kilo bomb in among them terrific flash and the boat went all to matchwood, then there was a wonderful shot of a child’s arm going up up up right up into the air a helicopter with a camera in its nose must have followed it up and there was a lot of applause from the party seats but a woman down in the prole part of the house suddenly started kicking up a fuss and shouting they didnt oughter of showed it not in front of kids they didnt it aint right not in front of kids it aint until the police turned her turned her out i dont suppose anything happened to her nobody cares what the proles say typical prole reaction they never—   Winston stopped writing, partly because he was suffering from cramp. He
George Orwell (1984)
Nothing is efficient in Oceania except the Thought Police
George Orwell (1984)
Someone tweeted a quote of mine yesterday, and got abused so much for posting it they deleted it. Any doubts free speech is under attack everywhere now vanished for me right there. The crushing of my words in another's mouth left me speechless. Words, and the freedom to express them, are getting torched on a bonfire of inanities. Then the chilling hand of déjà vu claps us on the back and tells us not to concern ourselves with independent thought.
Stewart Stafford
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. The way she put it was: "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 simply 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?" That was very true, he thought. There was a direct intimate connection between chastity and political orthodoxy. For how could the fear, the hatred, and the lunatic credulity which the Party needed in its members be kept at the right pitch, except by bottling down some powerful instinct and using it as a driving force? The sex impulse was dangerous to the Party, and the Party had turned it to account. They had played a similar trick with the instinct of parenthood. The family could not actually be abolished, and, indeed, people were encouraged to be fond of their children, in almost the old-fashioned way. The children, on the other hand, were systematically turned against their parents and taught to spy on them and report their deviations. The family had become in effect an extension of the Thought Police. It was a device by means of which everyone could be surrounded night and day by informers who knew him intimately. (2.3.25-27) Julia teaches Winston about her musings on the dangerous effects of sex on loyalty to the Party: The Party not only seeks to sever private loyalties in encouraging chastity, but also to control its constituents’ use of time by advocating the abolition of sex at all.
George Orwell (Nineteen Eighty-Four (Chinese-English bilingual version))
He could not help feeling a twinge of panic. It was absurd, since the writing of those particular words was not more dangerous than the initial act of opening the diary, but for a moment he was tempted to tear out the spoiled pages and abandon the enterprise altogether. He did not do so, however, because he knew that it was useless. Whether he wrote DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER, or whether he refrained from writing it, made no difference. Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed — would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper — the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.
George Orwell (1984)
He was a fattish but active man of paralyzing stupidity, a mass of imbecile enthusiasms—one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than on the Thought Police, the stability of the Party depended.
George Orwell (1984)
There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live – did live, from habit that became instinct – in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinised. Winston
George Orwell (1984)
It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children. And with good reason, for hardly a week passed in which the Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak—“child hero” was the phrase generally used—had overheard some compromising remark and denounced his parents to the Thought Police.
George Orwell (1984)
How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.
George Orwell (1984)
But he did not do so, however, because he knew that it was useless. Whether he wrote DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER, or whether he refrained from writing it, made no difference. Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed - would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper - the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.
George Orwell (1984)
voice seemed to stick into his brain like jagged splinters of glass. He tried to think of O'Brien, for whom, or to whom, the diary was written, but instead he began thinking of the things that would happen to him after the Thought Police took him away. It would not matter if they killed you at once. To be killed was what you expected. But before death (nobody spoke of such things, yet everybody knew of them) there was the routine of confession that
George Orwell (1984)
All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children. And with good reason, for hardly a week passed in which the Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak—“child hero” was the phrase generally used—had overheard some compromising remark and denounced his parents to the Thought Police.
George Orwell (1984)
He was a fattish but active man of paralyzing stupidity, a mass of imbecile enthusiasms—one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than on the Thought Police, the stability of the Party depended
George Orwell (1984)
The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed—would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper—the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.
George Orwell (1984)
Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbors, films, football, beer, and above all, gambling, filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult. A few agents of the Thought Police moved always among them, spreading false rumors and marking down and eliminating the few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous; but no attempt was made to indoctrinate them with the ideology of the Party. It was not desirable that the proles should have strong political feelings. All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working hours or shorter rations. And even when they became discontented, as they sometimes did, their discontent led nowhere, because, being without general ideas, they could only focus it on petty specific grievances. The larger evils invariably escaped their notice.
George Orwell (1984)
There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.
George Orwell (7 Novel Dystopian Collection)
There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live –did live, from habit that became instinct–in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."328–GEORGE ORWELL, 1984
John W. Whitehead (A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State)
heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had
George Orwell (1984)
STYLE & STRUCTURE LANGUAGE Simple, clear; effectively creates the atmosphere of a world that, on the surface, is down-to-earth and unsophisticated, but that on a deeper level is complex and contains many conflicting forces. NARRATOR Invisible, third-person narrator who emphasizes the thoughts, feelings, and actions of animals. FABLE (Short tale that teaches a moral lesson, with animals as characters.) The animals act in accordance with their animal nature, but their ideas and emotions are those of human beings: Benjamin is skeptical about the chances of improving his lot and feels just as disillusioned about their new society as a human would; Clover, the gentle, patient elderly mare, reacts to tragic events with the compassionate tears of a human being. It is obvious that Orwell sympathizes with the plight of the animals, whether they are ruled by Jones or Napoleon. His treatment of animals makes them believable as individuals, not just as types. IRONY (Use of words to express a meaning opposite to the literal meaning.) Orwell sees the animals’ flaws as well as their positive qualities; treats circumstances of their lives with persuasive irony: the Rebellion occurs not merely because of a bloodthirsty desire for revenge on the animals’ part, but also because Jones has forgotten to feed them and they are desperately hungry. STRUCTURE Ten chapters. Rising action: First five chapters tell of the animals’ Rebellion. Crisis (turning point): Napoleon launches the surprise attack that drives Snowball into exile, thus eliminating a rival for the position of power. The novel’s second half tells how Napoleon firmly establishes his power by making clever use of propaganda and terrorist tactics. Several unexplained events are cleared up as the story develops: why Napoleon took puppies (he raises them as a police force); what happened to the cows’ milk (it is reserved exclusively for the pigs’ use); the reason for the pigs’ moving into farmhouse (they are secretly learning to acquire human habits); the strange negotiations with Foxwood and Pinchfield Farms (Napoleon attempts to deal with humans on terms advantageous to him).
W. John Campbell (The Book of Great Books: A Guide to 100 World Classics)
Whether he wrote DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER, or whether he refrained from writing it, made no difference. Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed—would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper— the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed for ever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.
George Orwell
children, on the other hand, were systematically turned against their parents and taught to spy on them and report their deviations. The family had become in effect an extension of the Thought Police. It was
George Orwell (1984)
Deep State”—the Invisible Government The terms “invisible government,” “shadow government,” and more recently “Deep State” have been used to describe the secretive, occult, and international banking and business families that control financial institutions, both political parties, and cabals within various intelligence agencies in Britain and America. Edward L. Bernays, a pioneer in the field of propaganda, spoke of the “invisible government” as the “true ruling power of our country.” He said, “We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”40 “The political process of the United States of America [is] under attack by intelligence agencies and individuals in those agencies,” U.S. representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) said. “You have politicization of agencies that is resulting in leaks from anonymous, unknown people, and the intention is to take down a president. Now, this is very dangerous to America. It’s a threat to our republic; it constitutes a clear and present danger to our way of life.”41 Emotional Contagion One of the reasons why the Deep State has been able to hide in plain sight is because it controls the mainstream media in the United States. Despite the growing evidence of its existence, the media largely denies this reality. David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, wrote an article titled, “There Is No Deep State: The Problem in Washington Is Not a Conspiracy Against the President; It’s the President Himself.” Like the “thought police” in George Orwell’s 1984—a classic book about a dystopian future where critical thought is suppressed by a totalitarian regime—the Deep State uses the media to program the population according to the dictates of Big Brother and tell people in effect that “WAR IS PEACE,” “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY,” and “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.”42 Many of the largest social media platforms are used by the Deep State for surveillance and to influence the masses. Many people think social media is just for personal fun and networking with friends, family, and business associates. However, this innocent activity enables powerful computer networks to create detailed profiles of people’s political and moral beliefs and buying habits, as well as a deep analysis of their psychological conflicts, emotional problems, and pretty much anything Big Brother wants to know. Most people don’t understand the true extent of surveillance now occurring. For at least a decade, digital flat-screen televisions, cell phones and smartphones, laptop computers, and most devices with a camera and microphone could be used to spy on you without your knowledge. Even if the power on one of these devices was off, you could still be recorded by supercomputers collecting “mega-data” for potential use later. These technologies are also used to transform
Paul McGuire (Trumpocalypse: The End-Times President, a Battle Against the Globalist Elite, and the Countdown to Armageddon)
The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretense was always unnecessary. 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. Thus, at one moment Winston’s hatred was not turned against Goldstein at all, but, on the contrary, against Big Brother, the Party, and the Thought Police; and at such moments his heart went out to the lonely, derided heretic on the screen, sole guardian of truth and sanity in a world of lies. And yet the very next instant he was at one with the people about him, and all that was said of Goldstein seemed to him to be true. At those moments his secret loathing of Big Brother changed into adoration, and Big Brother seemed to tower up, an invincible, fearless protector, standing like a rock against the hordes of Asia, and Goldstein, in spite of his isolation, his helplessness, and the doubt that hung about his very existence, seemed like some sinister enchanter, capable by the mere power of his voice of wrecking the structure of civilization. It was even possible, at moments, to switch one’s hatred this way or that by a voluntary act. Suddenly, by the sort of violent effort with which one wrenches one’s head away from the pillow in a nightmare, Winston succeeded in transferring his hatred from the face on the screen to the dark-haired girl behind him. Vivid, beautiful hallucinations flashed through his mind. He would flog her to death with a rubber truncheon. He would tie her naked to a stake and shoot her full of arrows like Saint Sebastian. He would ravish her and cut her throat at the moment of climax. Better than before, moreover, he realized why it was that he hated her. He hated her because she was young and pretty and sexless, because he wanted to go to bed with her and would never do so, because round her sweet supple waist, which seemed to ask you to encircle it with your arm, there was only the odious scarlet sash, aggressive symbol of chastity.
George Orwell (1984)