Last night I got out of bed and padded into the tiny room we call the library...

I went into the box room (grandly titled 'The Library' due to it's being floor to ceiling shelved and filled with books) because one of my author friends(?) heroes(?) crushes (?) all of those(?) @AndyStantonTM had asked a question about grammar in the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, and I knew I had a copy and could check.

I checked and then of course I lay in bed and read a little, and found myself thinking of the recent riots (which I have trouble sorting in my mind, are people rioting for *more* state involvement in their lives?) when I read this...

Ignorance is Strength

Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle, and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibrium, however far it is pushed one way or the other --

'Julia, are you awake?' said Winston.

'Yes, my love, I'm listening. Go on. It's marvellous.'

He continued reading:

. The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim -- for it is an abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside their daily lives -- is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal. Thus throughout history a struggle which is the same in its main outlines recurs over and over again. For long periods the High seem to be securely in power, but sooner or later there always comes a moment when they lose either their belief in themselves or their capacity to govern efficiently, or both. They are then overthrown by the Middle, who enlist the Low on their side by pretending to them that they are fighting for liberty and justice. As soon as they have reached their objective, the Middle thrust the Low back into their old position of servitude, and themselves become the High. Presently a new Middle group splits off from one of the other groups, or from both of them, and the struggle begins over again. Of the three groups, only the Low are never even temporarily successful in achieving their aims. It would be an exaggeration to say that throughout history there has been no progress of a material kind. Even today, in a period of decline, the average human being is physically better off than he was a few centuries ago. But no advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimetre nearer. From the point of view of the Low, no historic change has ever meant much more than a change in the name of their masters.

I went to bed sad, I'm still sad. Sorry folks, what sort of crappy blog post is this! I'd ask for your money back if I were you.

If you want to read more, the entire novel is online here for free


  1. Anonymous29/3/11

    I would love to be able to argue that it's all rubbish, but damn it! - One of the Low.

  2. Anonymous3/4/11

    I think it is a very good post, actually. I like reading George Orwell because, although what he says is profound his language is very simple. That is quite hard to do.
    Have you read Aldous Huxley, "Brave New World". Very prophetic and along similar lines.


Thanks for your comment, all comments are moderated, no links will be approved

Popular posts