Orwell on Truth

Orwell on Truth

You probably have seen this one before, but it is worth repeating and worth discussing.

“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.”

– George Orwell

This quote by Orwell on truth is well known, but we should focus less on using it as a cudgel against a political enemy du jour and more on its enduring message. All societies have a relationship with truth. No society has a perfect relationship with truth. All societies drift closer to and farther away from truth. And all societies drift closer to and farther away from hating those who seek and speak truth. Too many people fear the difficult work of seeking truth and they fear the truth itself. Intellectuals have always been a target of hate not just by the power structure, but by the masses in general.

So, instead of using this Orwell on truth quote or any other quotations because the other party is currently in power, reflect on the deeper meaning that quotes express. Instead of using quotations to attack, use their ideas to build a better society. The issue that we face is not “the other side hates me.” The issue is that everyone is quicker to hate than they are to listen. Truth is found through searching and dialogue. A corollary to Orwell’s quote is “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate speech itself and the further it will drift from truth.”

We all need to ask ourselves what we value and why and how we can make our world a better place. How far have you drifted from truth and what is your attitude toward those who speak it? We all need to be more open-minded. We all need to be better at listening to others.

See also: Martin Buber on Encountering Others and If You Think Trump Is the Problem…


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