Uncategorized

January Panorama

  •  “Extreme violence has a way of preventing us from seeing the interests it serves.” Part of Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”
  • “I was gonna tell him: You can ask the dogs why they want to get married”  A Saudi friend telling me his story, as he was asked by the interior ministry for why he want to get married from foreign woman!
  • “What is on earth that can be more magnificent than a couch, a book and a cup of coffee!” This was written on a cup of coffee, which my wife bought for me last week.
  • “And the road to a man’s heart starts  from his penis “ said one of my friend after I told him that: “The road to a woman’s heart starts from her mother”
  • Walking home, light is sighing, the sun is slipping through the air, a mother is lifting a baby, his jacket gets caught in her hands, his belly peaks so soft and bare, it sounds so beautiful, I cannot hear my own silence, it repeats like a thought so happy, it is afraid to forget itself. Said the blogger, Aysha Alkusayer on her facebook.
  • “The real Chris Kyle, a navy SEAL who wrote an autobiography, took more pleasure in the killing than his on-screen character does. “I’m not lying or exaggerating to say it was fun,” he wrote. A more faithful film would have been more unsettling and probably less popular.” Reading from The Economist’s article “Bleeding red and blue”
  • “There should be no boundaries to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope” my favorite quote from the move “The Theory of Everything”
blogging

The Struggle to Write

Since I left Portland, I have been struggling to write anything in my blog. I felt the loss of the most important thing in my life, which is the ability to express my feeling.  Sometimes, I feel attempting to write  is like giving birth to words, painful in the beginning and may require Caesarean surgery.

I met a lot of people here in Saudi who have never been into writing experience in their whole life. They feel that they have nothing to write about! nothing to share! nothing to express! They misunderstood the main purpose of writing. You don’t have to have a good story in order to write. Good writers don’t write because they want other people to appraise them. They write because it is their passionate and they want to experience this unique way of self reflection.

It is indeed sad that some people have never felt the joy of writing until now. Their moments, feelings, ideas and most importantly their self reflection, went by with no record. I have read somwhere that we write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.

I think we should all have the courage to write our stories, regardless of how insignificant and senseless they might be.  The struggle to write is only in the first step, once you pass it, you will see your hands moving passionately to write your story and then, your whole life will change.

So, let’s write and write and write until the last breath of our life.

personal, psychology, Uncategorized

Doubt and Life

The French philosopher, Voltaire, has once said that “Doubt is not a pleasant condition but certainty is an absurd one.” And I have never been so doubtful and confused of who I am as now. Life is somehow like a cycle. We move from one doubt to another, from one confusion, to less or maybe more confusion. There is no clear final destination that I know of. Everyone creates or presumes the ending of his story. Some may get the good ending; other may start again from where they end and I happen to be in the middle of between.

Sometimes, I envy kids for the way they look at things. They live the moments as they are, and when they go to bed at night, they have this incredible feeling of excitement for tomorrow. We begin to lose this excitement as we grow. Some people get consumed by work and routine, other by family and friends. The fact is I get consumed alittle by both.

I am so blessed with my family. We are so connected, and so close to the extent that you can’t imagine. I get a minimum of two calls each day from one of my family asking me how I am and update me with all the family news! In cases when I have good news or bad news, my cell phone wouldn’t stop ringing!

This is beautiful some of the time but not all the time! Sometimes I feel the need to keep myself in distance from my family. I care about my privacy and having my own space therefore I started to draw a line that I feel my family shouldn’t cross.

Work is good so far. I joined the professional development program in Saudi Franci Bank after 8 months of intense tests and several interviews. I am happy with the work environment although, I have the anxiety of thinking and planning for my career path. Now, I realize that I need to be more relax and less stressfull about the future. I believe in the law of nature which is to do your best and let the universe do its part!

There is really nothing in this life that worth  stressing out if we all at the end, will be left alone in blank area called a cemetery. Some of us acknowledges this fact in the mid of their life, other acknowledge it one day before the end of their life. What is the point of being the richest man in the cemetery? My friend asked me after the death of Prince Sultan. Now, I paraphrase his question; what is the point of the stressing out  if we are all going to die? Life moves on, and time is counting down! Those who want to enjoy will enjoy, and those who want to complain and get depressed will die with their depression. I try most of the time to enjoy the beauty of nature, the smile of the strangers and the incredible taste of coniencidences in my life and I hope you do.

I doubt myself therefore I know and learn more, therefore I am happy.

P.S I miss you all so much

* All the pictures are taken by me using my Iphone and Instagram applicaion 

Panorama

June Panorama 2011

  • My beloved, you know how weak I am, you know for certainty how insignificant I am, I can o nothing to help you, I am a lonely woman, I cannot reclaim your rights, I cannot support you, or take your revenge, but I will do everything I can for you… I will cry for you” translated letter from the mother of the prisoner “Fahad Al-Saeed” to his royal highness, The Prince
  • He suddenly recalled from Plato’s Symposium: People were hermaphrodites until God split then in two, and now all the halves wander the world over seeking one another. Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost. By Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
  • This dopamine effect explains why pornography tends to become more and more extreme over time: ordinary sexual images eventually lose their power, leading consumers to need images that break other taboos in other kinds of ways, in order to feel as good. Moreover, some men (and women) have a “dopamine hole” – their brains’ reward systems are less efficient – making them more likely to become addicted to more extreme porn more easily. Said Naomi Wolf  in her article Is pornography driving men crazy?
  • There’s always people wondering, or sometimes questioning, either with pity or curiously: Why aren’t you married until now? Like you’re missing an arm or a leg. And then there are two teams: Team “you’re not getting any younger” and Team “You’re still young”. Although you’re not even showing the slightest sign of being worried about the issue. Said  Ola Eliwat in her blog’s post, Single Not-Very-White Female
  • I had been traveling around the world for ten years and while doing so I observed women, how they dressed, and how men reacted. The conclusion I always came to was that women all over the world were wearing what they wanted to wear and for the most part were not treated inappropriately because of how they dressed but rather how certain people reacted to dress based on their own convictions. Said Nadia El-Awady  in her blog’s post, I’ve Gone and Done It Now: What It’s Like Without the Muslim Headscarf.
  •  I wondered once about the meaning of a homeland, about its mercy, its compassion for his children, Is it possible for a country to torture its children, to squash them, to steal the flower of their youth?  Can a true country throw its children in the prison with indifference? Another part of a translated letter from the mother of the prisoner “Fahad Al-Saeed” to his royal highness, The Prince
  • When you get married, you will remember my advise, woman don’t necessarily want you to solve her  problem, she wants you to listen to what she wanna say. One of my friend, talking about his marriage life experience. 
  • Al-Dossary says it is “laughable” that anyone would take Twitter seriously when there is only 115,000 Saudi users of the service. However, when you consider that many of these users have more followers than the daily circulation of his paper, you wonder who should be laughing. Said Ahmed Al-Omran in his blog’s post On Being Hashtagged 
Uncategorized

To Drive or Not to Drive!

Rights aren’t given, they are taken and if you aren’t willing to stand up and make a sacrifice for those rights, then just forget it.  Black people would never gotten their rights, if Rose Parks had chosen to give up her seat  to the white man in the bus, and let’s imagine the history of black people, if Marten luther King had chosen to remain silent and hadn’t given his revolutionary speech.   Every movement in the world, regardless of how peaceful it appears, hasn’t succeeded without sacrifices.

Saudi women have been dreaming for more than twenty years to get their basic civil rights, to be like every woman in the world: to drive their cars, to travel without a permission or restriction, to be treated as a citizen like men, to have their voices heard, to be ministers and decision makers and to have equal opportunities in education and work.  None of these has been achieved so far. What has been achieved recently is that Saudi women are now allowed to sell lingerie, instead of men in Malls!

Many Saudi women have spoken about their struggles in newspapers and public media, but very few of them have taken action in the ground to actually change the society. Words are powerful, but not enough to change the reality.

Today, Saudi women are planning to make a history and challenge the society by driving their cars in public. I believe that this step, if they make it, is a significant turning point in women struggle in Saudi. If women were able to enforce their rights to drive, they will then realize that they are also capable of enforcing their rights to work, to travel without permission and to vote.

Now the question that everyone keeps asking is that will Saudi women break the fear barriers and drive their cars today?

 To Drive or Not to Drive, that is the question!

Panorama

May Panorama 2011

  • “What do women want?” The only thing I have learned in fifty-two years is that women want men to stop asking dumb questions like that. An interesting quote by Sigmund Freud 
  • May I suggest a Tahrir Square alternative? Announce that every Friday from today forward will be “Peace Day,” and have thousands of West Bank Palestinians march nonviolently to Jerusalem, carrying two things — an olive branch in one hand and a sign in Hebrew and Arabic in the other. The sign should say: “Two states for two peoples. We, the Palestinian people, offer the Jewish people a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders — with mutually agreed adjustments — including Jerusalem, where the Arabs will control their neighborhoods and the Jews theirs.” Said Thomas L. Friedman in his NYT article Lessons From Tahrir Sq.
  • We must promote a culture of critical thinking in our society so people depend on themselves in thinking instead of letting Others do the thinking for them! Said Mansour in one of his tweets.
  • In a situation like ours, this isn’t enough, you either become a participant in (driving) and face the same consequences, or better not to urge (the saudi women) to expose themselves to danger. Maram Meccawy in a discussion with Aysha Alksayer in twitter.
  • “Remembering our past, carrying it around with us always, may be the necessary requirement for maintaining, as they say, the wholeness of the self. To ensure that the self doesn’t shrink, to see that it holds on to its volume, memories have to be watered like potted flowers, and the watering calls for regular contact with the witnesses of the past, that is to say, with friends. They are our mirror; our memory; we ask nothing of them but that they polish the mirror from time to time so we can look at ourselves in it.” Reading from Identity novel by Milan Kundera
  • You know! psychological torture is much more painful than physical torture. This is basically what her family has done to her. They tried to isolate her and not talk to her and all because  she has been in love relationship with a stranger like me. One of my friend is talking about his love experience in Saudi
  • Your defense against any false accusation directed at you, is just another way of confirming it. So When you have been accused falsely, just simply let the accusation die with whoever make it. Telling one of my friend in a conversation about people making a false accession on each other.
  • In the state of siege, time becomes space
    transfixed in its eternity
    In the state of siege, space becomes time
    that has missed its yesterday and its tomorrow.
    Part of (Under the Siege) poem for Palestine by Mahmoud Darwish
  • The greatest degree of arrogance and hypocrisy is the exaggeration in modesty. Interesting tweet by Sultan AlAmer
  • campaign deleted from FB, public confessions& apologies made in her name, &last night her Twitter account disappeared, today she’s released. Said Eman AlNafjan in twitter moments after the release of Manal. 
  • When I demur, he eagerly shows me a frilly lace concoction in yellow and tells me that it matches a bra that is also on sale. Quickly he jets a look at my figure, enveloped in a voluminous black abaya and ventures a guess. “D cup?” He asks, and without waiting for an answer, trots over to a rack where bras and matching panties line the wall in a rainbow array of lace, satin and cleavage-enhancing padding. The push-up bras are especially popular, he informs me. And the matching panties are three for the price of two. Said  in her TIME article In Saudi Arabia, Lingerie Reveals All
  • We (Saudi) suffer from many psychological disorders, and the greatest of all, is that we never think. Ever since we were born, we were literally taught what to think about, how to accuse, how to enter heaven, how to enter hell, and even how to pee. Writing a post in my Arabic blog in regard the issue of women driving.
discussion, Gender, Politics

Top Five Fallacies about Women Driving in Saudi

Here are the common five fallacies about not allowing Saudi women driving with my respond to each one of them:

  1. Women driving will increase the traffic:
    Many saudi fear that streets and highways would be extremely crowded when women are allowed to drive and this isn’t true. In fact, allowing women to drive will decrease the traffic.
    In Saudi, Traffic occurs in the peak time especially in the early morning when employees go to work and in the beginning of the night when many Saudi go with their families to supermarket and other things. Now, if women were allowed to drive, they  would have flexible time to go to supermarket and finish home needs instead of just being confined on one specific time (like until their father or husband get back from work). This would decrease the traffic in the peak time.
  2. Women driving will increase the pollution:
    You may wonder since when Saudi began to care about environment and pollution! Ironically, Saudi began to think about being environmental only in the issue of women driving.  This country has no recycling programs, no public transportation to help decrease cars pollution, and no social awareness at all about the environment and yet when it comes to women driving, everyone is beginning to react as if the environment was the center of his attention.
  3. Flirting and sexual harassment:
    Saudi who have been outside of KSA respect fully the law of the country. I rarely heard a Saudi harassing an American woman or a Kuwait woman just because he sees her driving.   A lot of Saudi guys go to Bahrain in the weekend, some for the sake of enjoyment like watching movie, other for getting drunk and having fun with women in night clubs and yet they don’t have any problem with women driving there. So, what is the magic thing that drive Saudi crazy when they see Saudi women driving? I don’t know!
    By the way, many Saudi women get sexually harassed from Taxi drivers so allowing them to drive will really decrease this problem.
  4. Women driving will increase the rate of accidents
    I don’t understand how people sometimes make a conclusion on argument without having a sound and rational premiss like saying that “women are very emanational and not physically strong to drive therefore, allowing them to drive would lead to more accidents”. Sounds stupid, right? but honestly many people have this mentality of thinking. Now, Saudi is ranked among the top countries in car accidents and so if we follow the same mentality of thinking, we can make exactly the same conclusion and say:  Saudi men shouldn’t be allowed to drive because of their irresponsible driving skills!
  5.  Women driving is prohibited in Islam:
    It is either Saudi think they are the only one in the world who follow Islam and consider all other Islamic countries as sinners for allowing women to drive, or we have really stupid religious group who invent Fatwa as they wish and like. We are sick and tired of people telling us what is sinful and what is not, and how we should live our life or shouldn’t! If you think women driving is sinful and Haram, that is great! you can enforce your belief on your family, but not on the whole country.
Book Review

Book Review: The Kite Runner

For some people, novels are just stories with sad or happy ending. For me, novels are an exploration of people I have never met before, places I have never visited, thoughts I have never thought about. When I read a novel, I live the story as if it is happening in front of my eyes. I let myself express its emotion and its thoughts freely. I smell the words and I walk into the imaginary places.

Sometimes, I find it difficult to create a distance between my reality and my imagination, especially after I finish reading the novel.  Kite Runner is one of the novel that tremendously impacted me. It is one of the best novel I read in 2010. It is a story of two young boys, Amir and Hassan in the district of Kabul before Taliban and after Taliban took over.  The story gets really sad in the last four chapters and it shows you the misery of other people, and the complexity of their lives. I highlighted the parts of the novel that got my attention and they are:

  • “When you kill a man, you steal a life” Baba said. “You steal his wife’s right to be husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. Do you see?
  • Never mind any of those things. Because history isn’t easy to overcome. Neither is religion.In the end, I was a Pashtun and he was a Hazara, I was Sunni and he was Shi’a and nothing was ever going to change that. Nothing.
  • Better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie.
  • Tell him he’s wrong. War doesn’t negate decency. It demands it, even more than in times of peace.
  • The only thing that flowed more than tea in those aisles was Afghan gossip. The flea market was where you sipped green tea with almond Kolchas, and learned whose daughter had broken off an engagement and run off with her American boyfriend, who used to be Parchami, a communist, in Kabul, and who had bought a house with under the table money while still on welfare.
  • Tea, Politics, and Scandal, the ingredients of an Afghan Sunday at the flea market.
  • For me, America was a place to bury my memories. For Babe, a place to mourn his.
  • I was fully aware of the Afghan double standard that favored my gender. Not did you see him chatting with her? but Woooy! Did you see how she wouldn’t let him go? What a lochak!
  • I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it is wrong what they say about the past, I have learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.
  • Children aren’t coloring books. You don’t get to fill them with your favorite colors.
  • If America taught me anything, it’s that quitting is right up there with pissing in the Girl Scouts’ lemonade jar.
  • One time, when I was really little, I climbed a tree and ate these green, sour apples. My stomach swelled and became hard like a drum, it hurt a lot. Mother said that if I’d just waited for the apples to ripen, I wouldn’t have become sick. So now, whenever I really want something, I try to remember what she said about the apples.
  • With me as the glaring exception, my father molded the world around him to his liking. The problem, of course, was that Baba saw the world in black and white. And he got to decide what was black and what was white. You can’t love a person who lives that way without fearing him too. Maybe even hating him a little.
  • Later that night, the sun less than an hour from rising and the guests finally gone, Soraya and I lay together for the first time. All my life, I’d been around men. That night, I discovered the tenderness of a woman.
  • Their sons go out to nightclubs looking for meat and get their girl friends pregnant, they have kids out of wedlock and no one says a god damn thing. Oh, they’re just men having fun! I make one mistake and suddenly everyone is talking nang and namoos, and I have to have my face rubbed in it for the rest of my life. Said Soraya
  • She lived to see him turn four, and then, one morning, she just did not wake up. She looked calm, at peace, like she did not mind dying now. We buried her in the cemetery on the hill, the one by the pomegranate tree, and I said a prayer for her too. The loss was hard on Hassan, it always hurts more to have and lose than to not have in the first place.
  • After all, life is not a Hindi movie. Zendagi migzara, Afghans like to say: Life goes on, unmindful of beginning, end,, crisis or catharsis, moving forward like a slow, dusty caravan of Kochis.
Panorama

November Panorama

  • “He was buried there or maybe under my feet…or somewhere else! suddenly, I thought, why all the reading on my brother’s tomb, he hadn’t sinned. He just lived for his sickness and then my father killed him. I remembered the words of the Imam who buried him, “your brother is now with angels”, he said. My brother became an angel, and I will become the devil, that is most certain. children become angels when they die young, and adults become devils. I have missed being angel! Part of Mohamed Chouckri’s autobiography, For Bread Alone.
  • “What! I spend half of my day working under the heat of the sun to pay for gas, water and other home expenses, while my wife enjoys her time watching TV under the air condition. In addition, the total of my expenses are no more than 500 S.R while my wife’s make up for the wedding of her sister costs me more than 700 S.R.” one of my Saudi friend commenting on how women are living a better life than men in Saudi.
  • “Saudi women are very respective, kind and wonderful compare to men here. They always treat me with respect and kindness.” Said an indian taxi driver when I asked him to compare between saudi men and women in term of how they treat him as a taxi driver.
  • “Did delivery guy just say “love u, bye” on the phone after I said “thank u, bye”?”  Diana’s tweet about the funny incident that happened to her.
  • “It is always unclear to me how the society function here, if you talk about the problem here, they say “you are westernized”, if you don’t, oh, they say: “why didn’t you make an effort to solve it” God damn it, how could someone solve a problem without talking about? tell me how?” a Saudi friend talking about his frustration of Saudi society.
  • “And with the passing years, what had once seemed like a miracle or the luckiest of chances and which he had always promised himself he would never become enslaved by, has gradually become his sole reason to go on living.” A quote from Paulo Coelho’s last novel, the Winner Stands Alone.
  • “I really think that everyone who drives a car here in Saudi, should go and see a psychologist at least once a month!” I, telling my friend about the horrible driving experience I have here in Saudi.
  • “Getting married is very much like going to a restaurant with friends. You order what you want then, When you see what the other person has, You wish you had ordered that.” A very funny status that I read on Abdulaziz Alyabes‘s facebook.
  • “Depression is not sadness, it is an absence of feeling. My world feels flat, like a grassy field in Illinois” Said Fatima in her Blog Mushroom Mellow
  • “The increased conservatism of our society over these past years has only moved social interaction to the inside of people’s homes.” reading part of WikiLeaks document on Saudi from CNN.
  • “No, no, no comparison! Pakistani women are more beautiful than Saudi women. Here, Saudi women are like decoration, too much make up!” said Pakistani’s taxi driver after I asked him whether saudi women are more beautiful than Pakistani women.
  • “As a 26-year-old woman living in Manhattan, I have zero tolerance for couples who exhibit very private affections in very public places. Although I try to look elsewhere, these amorous displays are hard to avoid. Everywhere I go, people are fondling each other as if the entire city were a cheap motel room” Said NYT editors Nicole Ferraro in her article Complaint Box, Public Smooching
  • “I don’t want this indepencey, not even the responsibility that I dream of. I want to come back to my father and mother.” Said a female Saudi student in USA, Najla Barasain in her Blog’s post, America, I am sorry, but I don’t like you
Book Review

Book Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four

You are being watched and followed! You are not allowed to think or question without a permission. You can’t read the past and you aren’t allowed to predict the future. You are only allowed to live the moment. The ministry of love controls how, when and who you love. The ministry of information controls the dictionary, how you perceives the word, how you understands it and even how you thinks about it. “War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength” these are the constitution of the government.

George Orwell in his novel, 1984, takes you into his prophecy of the future and how the world would look like when it is controlled by totalitarian regime like “Big Brother” which censors everyone’s thoughts and behaviors.  Winston Smith, the main character of the novel, joined a secret group of underground rebels to overthrow Big Brother regime. He meets Julia and they both fall in love and have an affair secretly. In Big Brother’s regime, “sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting minor operation, like having an enema” Love is considered to be a crime and lovers are sentenced to death. So, between love, fear and sacrifice, Winston has to choose his destiny.

I highly recommend reading this novel with much thoughts and reflection. Many of the points that Orwell makes in the novel are really true in our present. The novel was first published in 1949 so it is marvelous that Orwell was able to draw all these predications from his imagination.

The following selections are from the novel and I would like to share them with you because they gained my attention a lot and they made think and reflect. Please let me know which one of the selection you like the most and why! I spent a lot of my time writing the quotes down from the novel, so I hope you have time to read some of them.

  • War is peace, freedom is salvery, ignorance is strength.
  • Either the future would resemble the present, in which case it would not listen to him:or it would be different from it, and his predicament would be meaningless.
  • How could you make appeal to the future when not a trace of you, not even an anonymous word scribbled on a piece of paper, could physically survive?
  • His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully-constructed lies, to hold simulateneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them; to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the party was the guardian of democracy; to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into the memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget again: and above all, to apply the same process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to be become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the world
  • To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and don’t live alone to a time when truth exists and what is done, to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone.
  • Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death
  • He was out in the light and air while they were being sucked down to death, and they were down there because he was up here. He knew it and they knew it, and he could see the knowledge in their faces. There was no reproach either in their faces or in their hearts, only the knowledge that they must die in order that he might remain alive, and that was part of the unavoidable order of things ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.
  • For how could you establish even the most obvious fact when there existed no record outside your own memory?
  • After all, what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in itself. Take “good”, for instance. if you have a word like “good”, what need is there for a word like “bad”? “ungood” will do just as well-better, because it’s an exact opposite, which the other is not. Or again, if you want a stronger version of “good”, what sense is there in having a whole string of vague useless words like “excellent” and “splendid” and all the rest of them? “plusgood” covers the meaning; or “doubleplusgood” if you want something stronger still.
  • Orthodoxy means not thinking- not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.
  • ‘there is a word in Newspeak’ said Syme, ‘ I don’t know whether you know it: Duckspeak, to quack like a duck. It is one of those interesting words that have two contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it is abuse; applied to someone you agree with, it is praise’
  • Was he, then, alone in the possession of a memory?
  • It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wonder when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. the smallest thing could give you away.
  • your worse enemy, he reflected, was your own nervous system. At any moment of tension inside you was liable to translate itself into some visible symptom.
  • the only recognized purpose of marriage was to beget children of the service of the Party. Sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting minor operation, like having an enema.
  • the party was trying to kill the sex instinct, or if it could not be killed, then to distort it and dirty it. He didn’t know why this was so, but it seemed natural that it should be so.
  • until the become conscious, they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled, they cannot become conscious.
  • It struck him that the truly characteristic thing about modern life was not its cruelty and insecurity, but simply its bareness, its dinginess, its listlessness.
  • Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth. Just once in his life he had possessed after the event: that was what counted- concrete, unmistakable evidence of an act of falsification.
  • The immediate advantages of falsifying the past were obvious, but the ultimate motive was mysterious. He took up his pen again and wrote: I understand HOW: I don’t understand WHY.
  • Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one. At one time it had been a sign of madness to believe that the earth goes round the sun: today, to believe that the past is unalterable. He might be alone in holding that belief., and if alone, then a lunatic. But the thought of being a lunatic did not greatly trouble him: the horror was that he might also be wrong.
  • Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.
  • To do anything that suggested a taste for solitude, even to go for a walk by yourself, was always slightly dangerous. There was a word for it in Newspeak: own life, it was called, meaning individualism and eccentricity.
  • ‘if there is hope,’ he had written in the diary, ‘it  lies in the proles.’ The word kept coming back to him, statement of a mystical truth and a palpable absurdity.
  • when you put it in words it sounded reasonable: it was when you looked at the human beings passing you on the pavement that it became an act of faith.
  • It was precisely against suicidal impulses of this kind that he had hoped to guard himself by openning the diary.
  • Many of the disappearances were suicides. But it needed desperate courage to kill yourself in a world where firearms, or any quick and certain poison, were completely unprocurable. He thought with a kind of astonishment of biological uselessness of pain and fear, the treachery of the human body which always freezes into inertia at exactly the moment when a special effort is needed.
  • It struck him that in moments of crisis one is never fighting against an external enemy, but always against one’s own body.
  • Life is a moment to moment struggle against huger or cold or sleeplessness, against a sour stomach or an aching tooth.
  • Why was it not possible to cut a few days or weeks out of your life? Nobody ever escaped detection, and nobody ever failed to confess.
  • His whole mind and body seemed to be afflicted with an unbearable sensitivity, a sort of transparency, which made every movement, every sound, every contact, every word that he had to speak or listen to, an agony.
  • ‘I hate purity, I hate goodness! I don’t want any virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones’
  • That was above all what he wanted to hear. Not merely the love one person, but the animal instinct, the simple undifferentiated desire: that was the force that would tear the party to pieces.
  • In the old days, he thought, a man looked at a girl’s body and saw that it was desirable, and that was the end of the story. But you couldn’t have pure love or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred. Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory.
  • She didn’t much care for reading’, she said. Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.
  • ‘When you make love you’re using up energy; and afterward you feel happy and don’t give a damn for anything. They can’t bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. all this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour.
  • There was a direct, intimate connection between chastity and political  orthodoxy.
  • She believed that it was somehow possible to construct a secret world in which you could live as you chose. All you needed was luck and cunning and boldness. She didn’t understand that there was no such thing as happiness, that the only victory lay in the far future, long after you were dead, that from the moment of declaring war on the party it was better to think of yourself as a corpse.
  • So long as human beings stay human, death and life are the same thing.
  • I am not interested in the next generation, dear, I am interested in us.
  • the smell of her hair, the taste of her mouth, the feeling of her skin seemed to have got inside him, or into the air all round him. She had become a physical necessity, something that he not only wanted but felt that he had right to.
  • talking to her, he realized how easy it was to present an appearance of orthodoxy while having no grasp whatever of what orthodoxy meant.
  • By lack of understanding, they remained sane.
  • I don’t mean confessing. Confession is not betrayal. What you say or do doesn’t matter: only feelings matter. If they could make me stop loving you- that would be the real betrayal.
  • The war, therefore, if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is merely an imposture. It is like the battles between certain ruminant animals whose horns are set at such an angle that they are incapable of hurting one another. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs.
  • The best books, he perceived, are those that tell you what you know already.
  • 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 toward one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never alerted. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibrium.
  • 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 n 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 millimeter 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.
  • The cyclical movement of history was now intelligible, or appeared to be so; and if it was intelligible, then it was alterable.
  • The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further.
  • It had long been realized that the  only secure basis for oligarchy  is collectivism.
  • Wealth and privilege are most easily defended when they are possessed jointly.
  • Human equality was no longer an ideal to be striven after, but a danger to be averted.
  • To make sure that all written records agree with the orthodoxy of the moment is merely a mechanical act. But it is also necessary to remember that events happened in the desired manner. And if it is necessary to re-arrange one’s memories or to tamper with written records, then it is necessary to forget that one has done so. The trick of doing this can be learned like any other mental technique.
  • Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. The party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be alerted; he therefore knows that he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated. The process has to be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence guilt.
  • To tell deliberate lies with genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the  reality which one denies- all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tempering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.
  • If one is to rule, and to continue ruling, one must be able to dislocate the sense of reality. For the secret of rulership is to combine a belief in one’s own infallibility with the power to learn from past mistakes.
  • In general, the greater the understanding, the greater the delusion: the more intelligent, the less sane.
  • the problem, that is to say; is educational. It is a problem of continuously moulding the consciousness both of the directing group and the larger executive group that lies immediately below it. The consciousness of the masses needs only to be influenced in a negative way….”
  • One clear illustration of this is the fact that war hysteria increases in intensity as one rises in social scale. Those whose attitude toward the war is most nearly rational are the subject peoples of the disputed territories. To these people the war is simply a continuous calamity which sweeps too and fro over their bodies like a tidal wave. Which side is winning is a matter of complete indifference to them. They are aware that a change of overlordship means simply that they will be doing the same work as before for new masters who treat them in the same manner as the old ones. The slightly more favored workers whom we call “the proles” are only intermittently conscious of the war. When it is necessary they can be prodded into frenzies of fear and hatred, but when left to themselves they are capable of forgetting for long periods that the war is happening. It is in the ranks of the Party, and above all of the Inner Party, that the true war enthusiasm is found. World-conquest is believed in most firmly by those who know it to be impossible. This peculiar linking-together of opposites–knowledge with ignorance, cynicism with fanaticism–is one of the chief distinguishing marks of Oceanic society
  • The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy; they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.
  • But there is one question which until this moment we have almost ignored. It is: why should human equality be averted? supposing that the machines of the process have been rightly described, what is the motive for this huge, accurately planned effort to freeze history at a particular moment of time?
  • Winston became aware of silence, as one becomes aware of a new sound.
  • In no other way could the ancient cycle be broken. If human equality is to be for ever averted – if the High, as we have called them, are to keep their places permanently – then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity.
  • “And the people under the sky were also very much the same…everywhere, all over the world, hundreds or thousands of millions of people just like this, people ignorant of one another’s existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same — people who had never learned to think but were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world.
  • He moved himself mentally from place to a place, and tried to determine by the feeling of his body whether he was perched high in the air or buried deep underground.
  • Besides, was it possible, when you were actually suffering it, to wish for any reason whatever that your own pain should increase?
  • Everything was all right, there was no more pain, the last detail of his life was laid bare, understood, forgiven.
  • You preferred to be a lunatic, a minority of one. Only disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal.
  • Perhaps one did not want to be loved as much as to be understood.
  • What most oppressed him was the consciousness of his own intellectual inferiority.
  • Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.
  • Do you remember writing in your diary, “I understand how: I do not understand why”? It was when you thought about “why” that you doubted your own sanity.
  • The individual only has power in so far as he ceases to be an individual.
  • But the world itself is only a speak of dust, And man is tiny-helpless! How long has he been in existence.
  • ‘How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?’ Winston thought. ‘by making him suffer,’ he said.
  • Stupidity was as necessary as intelligence, and as difficult to attain.
  • The one certain thing was that death never come at an expected moment.
  • She had seemed to be not merely with him, but inside him.
  • For the first time he perceived that if you want to keep a secret you must also hide it from yourself. You must know all the while that it is there, but until it is needed you must never let it emerge into your consciousness in any shape that could be given a name.