George Orwell was an English novelist, essayist, and critic. Known for his sharp political commentaries, and outspoken views on democratic socialism, he led a very interesting life.
Orwell’s most popular works, 1984 and Animal Farm, still continue to move readers all over the world, even though over 60 years have passed since their release.
His ideas and words seem increasingly relevant, as we reflect on them at a point in there are pressing concerns facing the future of the world.
In the coming decades we will be forced to consider important questions about government, technology, and ethics – and ideas like those presented by Orwell can help inspire us and move us towards more personal and cultural freedom.
Here are 19 powerful George Orwell quotes to inspire change.
- Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood
- In a time of deceit telling the truth is 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.
- Never use a metaphor, a simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing printed.
- But if thought can corrupt language, language can also corrupt thought.
- In the face of pain, there are no heroes.
- To an ordinary human being, love means nothing if it does not mean loving some people more than others.
- People sleep peacefully at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
- It´s not much staying alive, it´s staying human that´s important.
- They can make you say anything, but they can´t make you believe it.
- Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.
- Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first one is that if you disagree with someone´s lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don´t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.
- Apologizing does not always mean you are wrong, it just means you value your relationships more than your ego.
- Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.
- Power is tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choice.
- For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable…what then?
- We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right.
- To see what is in front of one´s nose needs a constant struggle.
- It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. 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 realise 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.
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Ben is a freelance writer, and the co-creator of Project Monkey Mind—a new blog for the 21st century solopreneur and young professional who wants to take control of their minds, smash through their limitations, and lead a life worth living.
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