«Contents PART ONE 4 Chapter 1 5 Chapter 2 14 Chapter 3 19 Chapter 4 24 Chapter 5 30 Chapter 6 38 Chapter 7 41 Chapter 8 47 PART TWO 58 Chapter 1 59 ...»
‘Do not imagine that you will save yourself, Winston, however completely you surrender to us. No one who has once gone astray is ever spared. And even if we chose to let you live out the natural term of your life, still you would never escape from us. What happens to you here is for ever. Understand that in advance. We shall crush you down to the point from which there is no coming back. Things will happen to you from which you could not recover, if you lived a thousand years. 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.’ He paused and signed to the man in the white coat. Winston was aware of some heavy piece of apparatus being pushed into place behind his head. O’Brien had sat down beside the bed, so that his face was almost on a level with Winston’s.
‘Three thousand,’ he said, speaking over Winston’s head to the man in the white coat.
Two soft pads, which felt slightly moist, clamped themselves against Winston’s temples. He quailed.
There was pain coming, a new kind of pain. O’Brien laid a hand reassuringly, almost kindly, on his.
‘This time it will not hurt,’ he said. ‘Keep your eyes fixed on mine.’ At this moment there was a devastating explosion, or what seemed like an explosion, though it was not certain whether there was any noise. There was undoubtedly a blinding flash of light. Winston was not hurt, only prostrated. Although he had already been lying on his back when the thing happened, he had a curious feeling that he had been knocked into that position. A terrific painless blow had flattened him out. Also something had happened inside his head. As his eyes regained their focus he remembered who he was, and where he was, and recognized the face that was gazing into his own;
but somewhere or other there was a large patch of emptiness, as though a piece had been taken out of his brain.
‘It will not last,’ said O’Brien. ‘Look me in the eyes. What country is Oceania at war with?’ Winston thought. He knew what was meant by Oceania and that he himself was a citizen of Oceania.
He also remembered Eurasia and Eastasia; but who was at war with whom he did not know. In fact he had not been aware that there was any war.
‘I don’t remember.’ ‘Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Do you remember that now?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. Since the beginning of your life, since the beginning of the Party, since the beginning of history, the war has continued without a break, always the same war. Do you remember that?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Eleven years ago you created a legend about three men who had been condemned to death for treachery. You pretended that you had seen a piece of paper which proved them innocent. No such piece of paper ever existed. You invented it, and later you grew to believe in it. You remember now the very moment at which you first invented it. Do you remember that?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Just now I held up the fingers of my hand to you. You saw five fingers. Do you remember that?’ ‘Yes.’ O’Brien held up the fingers of his left hand, with the thumb concealed.
‘There are five fingers there. Do you see five fingers?’ ‘Yes.’ And he did see them, for a fleeting instant, before the scenery of his mind changed. He saw five fingers, and there was no deformity. Then everything was normal again, and the old fear, the hatred, and the bewilderment came crowding back again. But there had been a moment–he did not know how long, thirty seconds, perhaps–of luminous certainty, when each new suggestion of O’Brien’s had filled up a patch of emptiness and become absolute truth, and when two and two could have been three as easily as five, if that were what was needed. It had faded but before O’Brien had dropped his hand;
but though he could not recapture it, he could remember it, as one remembers a vivid experience at some period of one’s life when one was in effect a different person.
‘You see now,’ said O’Brien, ‘that it is at any rate possible.’ ‘Yes,’ said Winston.
O’Brien stood up with a satisfied air. Over to his left Winston saw the man in the white coat break an ampoule and draw back the plunger of a syringe. O’Brien turned to Winston with a smile. In almost the old manner he resettled his spectacles on his nose.
‘Do you remember writing in your diary,’ he said, ‘that it did not matter whether I was a friend or an enemy, since I was at least a person who understood you and could be talked to? You were right.
I enjoy talking to you. Your mind appeals to me. It resembles my own mind except that you happen to be insane. Before we bring the session to an end you can ask me a few questions, if you choose.’ ‘Any question I like?’ ‘Anything.’ He saw that Winston’s eyes were upon the dial. ‘It is switched off. What is your first question?’ ‘What have you done with Julia?’ said Winston.
O’Brien smiled again. ‘She betrayed you, Winston. Immediately–unreservedly. I have seldom seen anyone come over to us so promptly. You would hardly recognize her if you saw her. All her rebelliousness, her deceit, her folly, her dirty-mindedness–everything has been burned out of her. It was a perfect conversion, a textbook case.’ ‘You tortured her?’ O’Brien left this unanswered. ‘Next question,’ he said.
‘Does Big Brother exist?’ ‘Of course he exists. The Party exists. Big Brother is the embodiment of the Party.’ ‘Does he exist in the same way as I exist?’ ‘You do not exist,’ said O’Brien.
Once again the sense of helplessness assailed him. He knew, or he could imagine, the arguments which proved his own nonexistence; but they were nonsense, they were only a play on words. Did not the statement, ‘You do not exist’, contain a logical absurdity? But what use was it to say so? His mind shrivelled as he thought of the unanswerable, mad arguments with which O’Brien would demolish him.
‘I think I exist,’ he said wearily. ‘I am conscious of my own identity. I was born and I shall die. I have arms and legs. I occupy a particular point in space. No other solid object can occupy the same point simultaneously. In that sense, does Big Brother exist?’ ‘It is of no importance. He exists.’ ‘Will Big Brother ever die?’ ‘Of course not. How could he die? Next question.’ ‘Does the Brotherhood exist?’ ‘That, Winston, you will never know. If we choose to set you free when we have finished with you, and if you live to be ninety years old, still you will never learn whether the answer to that question is Yes or No. As long as you live it will be an unsolved riddle in your mind.’ Winston lay silent. His breast rose and fell a little faster. He still had not asked the question that had come into his mind the first. He had got to ask it, and yet it was as though his tongue would not utter it. There was a trace of amusement in O’Brien’s face. Even his spectacles seemed to wear an ironical gleam. He knows, thought Winston suddenly, he knows what I am going to ask! At the thought the
words burst out of him:
‘What is in Room 101?’
The expression on O’Brien’s face did not change. He answered drily:
‘You know what is in Room 101, Winston. Everyone knows what is in Room 101.’ He raised a finger to the man in the white coat. Evidently the session was at an end. A needle jerked into Winston’s arm. He sank almost instantly into deep sleep.
Chapter 3 ‘There are three stages in your reintegration,’ said O’Brien. ‘There is learning, there is understanding, and there is acceptance. It is time for you to enter upon the second stage.’ As always, Winston was lying flat on his back. But of late his bonds were looser. They still held him to the bed, but he could move his knees a little and could turn his head from side to side and raise his arms from the elbow. The dial, also, had grown to be less of a terror. He could evade its pangs if he was quick-witted enough: it was chiefly when he showed stupidity that O’Brien pulled the lever.
Sometimes they got through a whole session without use of the dial. He could not remember how many sessions there had been. The whole process seemed to stretch out over a long, indefinite time– weeks, possibly–and the intervals between the sessions might sometimes have been days, sometimes only an hour or two.
‘As you lie there,’ said O’Brien, ‘you have often wondered–you have even asked me–why the Ministry of Love should expend so much time and trouble on you. And when you were free you were puzzled by what was essentially the same question. You could grasp the mechanics of the Society you
lived in, but not its underlying motives. 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.
You have read THE BOOK, Goldstein’s book, or parts of it, at least. Did it tell you anything that you did not know already?’ ‘You have read it?’ said Winston.
‘I wrote it. That is to say, I collaborated in writing it. No book is produced individually, as you know.’ ‘Is it true, what it says?’ ‘As description, yes. The programme it sets forth is nonsense. The secret accumulation of knowledge–a gradual spread of enlightenment–ultimately a proletarian rebellion–the overthrow of the Party. You foresaw yourself that that was what it would say. It is all nonsense. The proletarians
will never revolt, not in a thousand years or a million. They cannot. I do not have to tell you the reason:
you know it already. If you have ever cherished any dreams of violent insurrection, you must abandon them. There is no way in which the Party can be overthrown. The rule of the Party is for ever. Make that the starting-point of your thoughts.’ He came closer to the bed. ‘For ever!’ he repeated. ‘And now let us get back to the question of “how” and “why”. You understand well enough HOW the Party maintains itself in power. Now tell me WHY we cling to power. What is our motive? Why should we want power? Go on, speak,’ he added as Winston remained silent.
Nevertheless Winston did not speak for another moment or two. A feeling of weariness had overwhelmed him. The faint, mad gleam of enthusiasm had come back into O’Brien’s face. He knew in advance what O’Brien would say. That the Party did not seek power for its own ends, but only for the good of the majority. That it sought power because men in the mass were frail, cowardly creatures who could not endure liberty or face the truth, and must be ruled over and systematically deceived by others who were stronger than themselves. That the choice for mankind lay between freedom and happiness, and that, for the great bulk of mankind, happiness was better. That the party was the eternal guardian of the weak, a dedicated sect doing evil that good might come, sacrificing its own happiness to that of others. The terrible thing, thought Winston, the terrible thing was that when O’Brien said this he would believe it. You could see it in his face. O’Brien knew everything. A thousand times better than Winston he knew what the world was really like, in what degradation the mass of human beings lived and by what lies and barbarities the Party kept them there. He had understood it all, weighed it all, and it made no difference: all was justified by the ultimate purpose. What can you do, thought Winston, against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?
‘You are ruling over us for our own good,’ he said feebly. ‘You believe that human beings are not fit to govern themselves, and therefore—-’ He started and almost cried out. A pang of pain had shot through his body. O’Brien had pushed the lever of the dial up to thirty-five.
‘That was stupid, Winston, stupid!’ he said. ‘You should know better than to say a thing like that.’
He pulled the lever back and continued:
‘Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.
The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.
Now do you begin to understand me?’ Winston was struck, as he had been struck before, by the tiredness of O’Brien’s face. It was strong and fleshy and brutal, it was full of intelligence and a sort of controlled passion before which he felt himself helpless; but it was tired. There were pouches under the eyes, the skin sagged from the cheekbones. O’Brien leaned over him, deliberately bringing the worn face nearer.
‘You are thinking,’ he said, ‘that my face is old and tired. You are thinking that I talk of power, and yet I am not even able to prevent the decay of my own body. Can you not understand, Winston, that the individual is only a cell? The weariness of the cell is the vigour of the organism. Do you die when you cut your fingernails?’ He turned away from the bed and began strolling up and down again, one hand in his pocket.
‘We are the priests of power,’ he said. ‘God is power. But at present power is only a word so far as you are concerned. It is time for you to gather some idea of what power means. The first thing you must realize is that power is collective. The individual only has power in so far as he ceases to be an individual. You know the Party slogan: “Freedom is Slavery”. Has it ever occurred to you that it is reversible? Slavery is freedom. Alone–free–the human being is always defeated. It must be so, because every human being is doomed to die, which is the greatest of all failures. But if he can make complete, utter submission, if he can escape from his identity, if he can merge himself in the Party so that he IS the Party, then he is all-powerful and immortal. The second thing for you to realize is that power is power over human beings. Over the body–but, above all, over the mind. Power over matter–external reality, as you would call it–is not important. Already our control over matter is absolute.’ For a moment Winston ignored the dial. He made a violent effort to raise himself into a sitting position, and merely succeeded in wrenching his body painfully.
‘But how can you control matter?’ he burst out. ‘You don’t even control the climate or the law of gravity. And there are disease, pain, death—-’ O’Brien silenced him by a movement of his hand. ‘We control matter because we control the mind.
Reality is inside the skull. You will learn by degrees, Winston. There is nothing that we could not do.