ministry of love
San Francisco time-lapse sketch, music by ERH.
Voice sample: Richard Burton and John Hurt in Michael Radford's adaption of George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four"
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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.
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
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.
All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.
War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.
The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor.
War is a way of shattering to pieces... materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable and... too intelligent.
Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.
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.
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.
Political chaos is connected with the decay of language... one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end.
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.
Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.
We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.
During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
The best books... are those that tell you what you know already.
Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.
Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
For a creative writer possession of the "truth" is less important than emotional sincerity.
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.
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.
Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.
Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing.
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.
There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.
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?
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.
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.
Whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie... a dirty joke is a sort of mental rebellion.
The aim of a joke is not to degrade the human being, but to remind him that he is already degraded.
Society has always seemed to demand a little more from human beings than it will get in practice.
On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.
The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.
To an ordinary human being, love means nothing if it does not mean loving some people more than others.
When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.
Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
Happiness can exist only in acceptance.
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