A Friendly Reminder from George Orwell: Nothing is New under the Sun

We are all drowning in filth. When I talk to anyone or read the writings of anyone who has any axe to grind, I feel that intellectual honesty and balanced judgement have simply disappeared from the face of the earth. Everyone’s thought is forensic, everyone is simply putting a “case” with deliberate suppression of his opponent’s point of view, and, what is more, with complete insensitiveness to any sufferings except those of himself and his friends… What is most striking of all is the way sympathy can be turned on and off like a tap according to political expediency… But is there no one who has both firm opinions and a balanced outlook? Actually there are plenty, but they are all powerless. All power is in the hands of paranoiacs.

– George Orwell, Diaries, March 27, 1942


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4 thoughts on “A Friendly Reminder from George Orwell: Nothing is New under the Sun

  1. It’s easy to turn one’s own personal failings over to a cause, and abstract from personal experience into public opinions, but it’s hard to stay humble and speak only when it might be necessary and/or important, aiming mostly for the truth.

    The longer I’ve observed, the more I’ve come to think that honesty, sincerity and goodness are local, interpersonal and are mostly their own reward.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, indeed. He certainly could have been writing about the present generation. And while it’s true that there’s nothing “new” under the sun, I believe the problem he’s writing about here has, over the last couple decades, grown in intensity and severity to a level it’s never achieved previously. Maybe it’s simply because we have more people on this planet — which means we have more self-centered, small-minded people to cultivate the problem.

    Liked by 1 person

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