George Orwell Quotes

A dirty joke is a sort of mental rebellion.

A family with the wrong members in control; that, perhaps, is as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase.

A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not triumph but when it is still felt that man is nobler than the forces which destroy him.

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

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.

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

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

As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents.

At fifty everyone has the face he deserves.

Big Brother is watching you.

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

Dickens is one of those authors who are well worth stealing.

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

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.

Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.

Enlightened people seldom or never possess a sense of responsibility.

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.

For a creative writer possession of the ‘truth’ is less important than emotional sincerity.

Four legs good, two legs bad.

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

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

Good writing is like a windowpane.

Happiness can exist only in acceptance.

He was an embittered atheist, the sort of atheist who does not so much disbelieve in God as personally dislike Him.

I doubt whether classical education ever has been or can be successfully carried out without corporal punishment.

I sometimes think that the price of liberty is not so much eternal vigilance as eternal dirt.

I’m fat, but I’m thin inside… there’s a thin man inside every fat man.

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

If you have embraced a creed which appears to be free from the ordinary dirtiness of politics – a creed from which you yourself cannot expect to draw any material advantage – surely that proves that you are in the right?

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.

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

In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.

In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.

In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.

It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it; consequently, the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning.

It is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane.

Joyce is a poet and also an elephantine pedant.

Language ought to be the joint creation of poets and manual workers.

Liberal: a power worshipper without power.

Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals.

Mankind is not likely to salvage civilization unless he can evolve a system of good and evil which is independent of heaven and hell.

Many people genuinely do not want to be saints, and it is probable that some who achieve or aspire to sainthood have never felt much temptation to be human beings.

Men are only as good as their technical development allows them to be.

Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.

Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.

Myths which are believed in tend to become true.

Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception.

No advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimeter nearer.

No one can look back on his schooldays and say with truth that they were altogether unhappy.

Not to expose your true feelings to an adult seems to be instinctive from the age of seven or eight onwards.

Oceania was at war with Eurasia; therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia.

On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.

One can love a child, perhaps, more deeply than one can love another adult, but it is rash to assume that the child feels any love in return.

One cannot really be a Catholic and grown up.

One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship.

Part of the reason for the ugliness of adults, in a child’s eyes, is that the child is usually looking upwards, and few faces are at their best when seen from below.

Patriotism is usually stronger than class hatred, and always stronger than internationalism.

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

Political chaos is connected with the decay of language… one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end.

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

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.

Probably the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing-fields of Eton, but the opening battles of all subsequent wars have been lost there.

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

Prolonged, indiscriminate reviewing of books is a quite exceptionally thankless, irritating and exhausting job. It not only involves praising trash but constantly inventing reactions towards books about which one has no spontaneous feeling whatever.

Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent.

Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.

Serious sport is war minus the shooting.

So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot.

Society has always seemed to demand a little more from human beings than it will get in practice.

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

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

The atmosphere of orthodoxy is always damaging to prose, and above all it is completely ruinous to the novel, the most anarchical of all forms of literature.

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.

The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.

The Catholic and the Communist are alike in assuming that an opponent cannot be both honest and intelligent.

The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor.

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.

The idea really came to me the day I got my new false teeth.

The intellectual is different from the ordinary man, but only in certain sections of his personality, and even then not all the time.

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.

The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.

The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.

There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.

There is hardly such a thing as a war in which it makes no difference who wins. Nearly always one side stands more of less for progress, the other side more or less for reaction.

To an ordinary human being, love means nothing if it does not mean loving some people more than others.

To survive it is often necessary to fight and to fight you have to dirty yourself.

To walk through the ruined cities of Germany is to feel an actual doubt about the continuity of civilization.

War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.

War is a way of shattering to pieces… materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable and… too intelligent.

War is evil, but it is often the lesser evil.

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

War is war. The only good human being is a dead one.

We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.

We may find in the long run that tinned food is a deadlier weapon than the machine-gun.

We of the sinking middle class may sink without further struggles into the working class where we belong, and probably when we get there it will not be so dreadful as we feared, for, after all, we have nothing to lose.

We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.

What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?

Whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie… a dirty joke is a sort of mental rebellion.

When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible.