For the ordinary man is passive. Within a narrow circle (home life, and perhaps the trade unions or local politics) he feels himself master of his fate, but against major events he is as helpless as against the elements. So far from endeavoring to influence the future, he simply lies down and lets things happen to him.
To write or even speak English is not a science but an art. There are no reliable words. Whoever writes English is involved in a struggle that never lets up even for a sentence. He is struggling against vagueness, against obscurity, against the lure of the decorative adjective, against the encroachment of Latin and Greek, and, above all, against the worn-out phrases and dead metaphors with which the language is cluttered up.
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.
Political or military commentators, like astrologers, can survive almost any mistake, because their more devoted followers do not look to them for an appraisal of the facts but for the stimulation of nationalistic loyalties.
Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing.
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.
Society has always seemed to demand a little more from human beings than it will get in practice.
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?
He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.
Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.
A scrupulous writer in every sentence that he writes will ask himself… What am I trying to say? What words will express it?…And he probably asks himself… Could I put it more shortly? But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble. You can shirk it by simply throwing open your mind and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. They will construct your sentences for you
Topics: Authors & Writing
Myths which are believed in tend to become true.
Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidarity to pure wind.
Freedom of the Press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose.
So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot.
A liberal is a power worshipper without the power.
History has to move in a certain direction, even if it has to be pushed that way by neurotics.
One of the effects of a safe and civilized life is an immense oversensitiveness which makes all the primary emotions somewhat disgusting. Generosity is as painful as meanness, gratitude as hateful as ingratitude.
Good novels are not written by orthodoxy-sniffers, nor by people who are conscience-stricken about their own orthodoxy. Good novels are written by people who are not frightened.
Topics: Writing, Authors & Writing, Writers
To an ordinary human being, love means nothing if it does not mean loving some people more than others.
Most revolutionaries are potential Tories, because they imagine that everything can be put right by altering the shape of society; once that change is effected, as it sometimes is, they see no need for any other.
Topics: Revolution, Revolutionaries, Revolutions
In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act
The aim of a joke is not to degrade the human being, but to remind him that he is already degraded
Topics: Authors & Writing
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