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Doublethink - alive and well in today's society

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posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 08:53 AM
What is doublethink?

The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in ones mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them

Since the idea was introduced by George Orwell in his dystopian novel 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' it has been widely cited by social commentators and political analysts as an important tool in controlling the thoughts and actions of the masses.

The world of 1984 had it's horrific versions of this, such as:


A world where 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.

It also exists today in plain sight and yet there are many who would be unable to cite examples of doublethink within society. Here are a few examples:

Fighting for peace

This is a ridiculous concept. As comedian George Carlin once said “Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity”. Fighting, or any form of conflict, is obviously the very thing that stands in the way of peace.

Peace-keeping Forces

Peace keeping forces are those troops left in a country to help enforce a particular regime. The very fact that a military presence is required would suggest that there is no peace there to 'keep'.

Ministry of Defence

The Ministry of Defence bears striking resemblance to Orwell's 'Ministry of Peace' not only in the classic use of doublethink in the name but also in its actions. Both are primarily concerned with warfare and seem to spend the majority of their time and efforts dealing in attack and invasion as opposed to the implied defence or peace.

Holy War

I am not a religious scholar of any kind but as far I am aware all major religions preach a message of peace and have some variation of the 'Love thy neighbour' commandment. No religion promotes violence or killing, so it seems to me that for a war to be considered 'holy' is a contradiction in terms.

Giving up our rights in the name of freedom

This is possibly the most relevant aspect of doublethink in our society today. With Orwellian surveillance on every corner and acts such as 'The Patriot Act', we are being asked to give up the very freedoms that 'The War on Terror' is alleged to protect, and all in the name of freedom. If that isn't doublethink, I dont know what is. -

The last one is particularly frightening.

At one point during Alex Jones' documentary 'TerrorStorm' he speaks to a market stall owner outside Stockwell Tube Station about the goings on the day Jean Charles de Menezes was killed by police. Alex asks her if she believed it was right to give up liberty for security, she replied with the following harrowing sentence:

"Yes I believe we should give up our liberty for freedom"

Alex again asked the question "Liberty for security?" again she answered "Yes I believe we should give up our liberty for freedom". Classic Doublethink. How can one give up Liberty for Freedom? They are one and the same thing. hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them...

Another example from 'TerrorStorm' is when Jones talks to an employee of a local cafe about the pole outside his establishment that has several surveillance cameras attached. The employee states that he had never noticed the cameras before, despite having worked at the cafe for over a year, and then says "I choose to ignore them, for me they do not exist". Just another example of doublethink. deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary.

Politicians also use this tactic shamelessly, and it seems to work. Politicians need to appeal to as many voters as possible, how do they do this? Well, quite simply, they tell both sides what they want to hear...they use doublethink. Here is the oratory overlord, Barack Obama, at work:

I'm not too sure about the credibility of that video for I know how easily something can be edited to make it seem like something it isn't. However, it is a good example of how doublethink works. Those who wanted to see an increase in troops would go away from that speech feeling happy; as would those who wanted to see a decrease in troops. It is in essence mass hypnosis - mass self-hypnosis.

...consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed.

Orwell also touches on how the masses can become apathetic towards a war that they believe to be false (in one way or another), thanks to doublethink:

It is precisely in the Inner Party that war hysteria and hatred of the enemy are strongest. In his capacity as an administrator, it is often necessary for a member of the Inner Party to know that this or that item of war news is untruthful, and he may often be aware that the entire war is spurious and is either not happening or is being waged for purposes quite other than the declared ones: but such knowledge is easily neutralized by the technique of doublethink.

Sounds eerily familiar, doesn't it?

But what can we do about it?

Our only weapons against our own weaker instincts are these: one, to harden ourselves to become stronger in the face of mental discomfort, two, to find compatriots and companions who support us instead of those crowds who encourage conformity, and three, to actively try to remain aware of things we might forget — to fight for conscious appraisal instead of quasi-consciousness, shocking ourselves into looking from a different perspective when necessary. These are our three weapons against doublethink. -

Awareness, both of ones self and ones surroundings, is key. As is knowledge of the past, for as the party slogan reads...

Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.


[edit on 7/8/10 by LiveForever8]

posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 09:01 AM
Loved the Obama video.

[edit on 7-8-2010 by Copernicus]

posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 09:10 AM
reply to post by LiveForever8

good points all. I find it hard to hold 2 diametrically opposed and contradictory thoughts in my head at the same time... mainly because I tend to agree with myself, and wouldnt dare offend myself by holding a contradictory thought in mind... just wouldnt be good manners.

Lets be serious for a moment though... our ability to call the blue sky black and pink and believe it is really what the issue is... We must be mighty impressive psychological beasts to hold intellectually deprecating thoughts in our head at all...

People have been believing in imaginary friends for years... Here... I'd like you to meet my imaginary friend Jesus and have a relationship with him
jk... but u get the idea.


posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 09:27 AM
Very nice compilation of quotes and such(star). I really liked reading 1984, and I definitely believe in doublethink. The problem is, in our society, doublethink, saying one thing, doing another, yet believing both has so many benefits. It is truly a power because of it's prevalence in society. In order to live in the 'progressive' society and become professionals, well-off individuals, we have to doublethink and make it believable. I speak as someone in a city in a professional education program.

"The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in ones mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them"

Of course if it is prevalent in colleges, hospitals, banks; it will and is present in out government and across the globe, and we pay it's price. My main point is that doublethink starts at the bottom, not the top.

[edit on 7-8-2010 by BenIndaSun]

posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 01:31 PM
I'm often conflicted.

My whole life I've been taught to do the morally right thing; to follow things like the bible and the golden rule. However, the more logical part of me tells me to behave in a way that is often amoral.

I always feel guilted into behaving the moral way (by my conscience). Well... except on here; which is why I often feel like I'm coming off like a jerk.

What would you call that? I don't think that qualifies as doublethink.

posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 03:12 PM
This thread will not get as much attention as it should. That is a shame. It seems that it is not a favorite of people here to discuss their own cognitive shortcomings. Perhaps the shock to the ego is just too much?

Regardless, this is good stuff. The cognitive sleight of hand used by people such as Obama, Rumsfeld, and Cheney are masterful (Obama in particular).

It is something that more people should be aware of, how our "leaders" manipulate us via tricks of cognition, such as the hypnosis you referred to.

posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 04:08 PM
reply to post by LiveForever8

This is going down in my favorites for sure. But, isn't funny how once you recognize these things in yourself you can see them everywhere else, in peoples ever day speech, to what a character says or does in a book or movies, and arguments ofcourse. If I'm around anyone who contradicts themselves I instantly pull them up on it. I right away got to know what's going on in their mind...

posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 04:15 PM
Nicely done...

although be it that our founding fathers used the same tactics to establish this country. Its the basis for any government.

posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 04:25 PM

Originally posted by FoxStriker
Nicely done...

although be it that our founding fathers used the same tactics to establish this country. Its the basis for any government.

There is a fine line between doublethink, and using juxtaposition to find a deeper meaning.

Me personally, i tend to use doublethink as a mindset. Not in a way that confuses me, but rather that allows me to think on the level of many different concepts. Not being a Christian, being able to discuss Christianity on the level of a Christian allows for quite a bit of movement within my local, closed minded community despite being anathema to their own beliefs (anything nonChristian is reviled by most around here).

Or being able to discuss the Apollo moon landing, either with the CT spin, or without. We all do this in our daily lives. It is more like subterfuge, i suppose.

But in my own mind i can espouse different philosophies, examining them as if i had the fullest of confidence in them. Because of this, i often argue from the position of devils advocate while on forums. I suspect that most are the same way, although i haven't discussed it with others to verify.

posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 07:12 PM
reply to post by bigfatfurrytexan

The reason I mentioned government as being the benefactor in using these tactics is because without a single conscience hivemind you need contradictive government out of necessity.

Humanity has the ability to have individual thought and function as a hive mind as well. Thats why we don't fight against an oppresive government unless they overinfringe on these principles.

At least this is my understanding of government.


P.S. I do see your point as well... but in my opinion Religion and government function very much the same.

[edit on 8/7/2010 by FoxStriker]

posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 09:08 PM
Double think should really be called, convenient thinking, only through some sort of convenience on our part, can both train of thoughts be held in our mind that contradict each other. So double think seems to gravitate around a third more convenient thought most likely the Self, or its just not in our interest to question what we think or say.

posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 09:31 PM
Just my two cents:

Fighting for peace

Fighting FOR peace, as in you are in war.

I see a group of men about to attack another group of men, I help stop the attackers from attacking men by counterattacking. If the outcome is the attackers are removed, then the fight for peace was a success.

Peace-keeping Forces

I'll stick with my group of men attacking other groups of men example. If there were to be another group of men plotting an attack, but they knew a third group of men will defeat them, they probably won't attack. If this happened, they can be called a peace keeping force, they enforce peace through the treat of a counterattack.

Ministry of Defence

Again using the above example, if I knew the group of men were planning to attack regardless of the peace keeping forces, a ministry what be able to gather intelligence on how to defeat the threat, finish the battle, and re-enter a "peacetime", or perhaps to neutralize the threat before it becomes a major problem.

Giving up our rights in the name of freedom

Oddly worded, I suppose you mean in the name of safety, if not, then I honestly have no idea what that phrase means. I guess a legitimate doublethink example

"I choose to ignore them, for me they do not exist". Just another example of doublethink.

I think that quote is being misrepresented, I don't think the person legitimately thinks they do not exist in the same way it was used in "1984"

As for the Obama video, a lot of it is, in my opinion, being taken out of context and misrepresented.

I think some of the best examples of "doublethink" are people influenced by the reactions and feelings of others to the point of not doing something you know or feel to be right because you fear someone that holds a different opinion will disagree and possibly damage a relationship or worse.

[edit on 7-8-2010 by Whyhi]

posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 10:03 PM
reply to post by LiveForever8
What about the phrase, "hope for the best, expect the worst"? I think this is a perfect example of what some people actually think and use in their lives. Personally, I think this is such a bad phrase, people should hope for the best and believe they will get the best. Thus only having their minds going in one direction.

Interesting topic..

posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 10:06 PM
S+F for a well presented, important & informative thread that puts into words so well what so many of us are thinking & seeing. Thank you.


posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 10:08 PM
I pay taxes to my government, because if I don't they may hurt me, throw me in jail, or kill me.

My government tortures people with advanced CIA interrogation techniques, imprisons tens of thousands without a writ of habeous corpus, and has killed millions of people around the globe without a formal Constitutionally required Declaration of War.

Whenever I see a patrol car behind me, I get nervous and am afraid I will get pulled over. I notice everyone else on the road slows down when in the presence of a policeman.

I pay my local taxes that fund the police force.

In either example it is possible that that someone understand the difference, and therefore is not committing double-think; although, if they aren't they ppl who can say either of these statements may be suicidal or so filled with fear they could be called a "coward."

If the above is accurate, then this no longer may be called the "land of the free and home of the brave" due to either double-think tyranny, or to shriveled raisin like testicles within the scrotum.

posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 10:54 PM
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, "You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war." I agree. I think it's an example of double-speak when we say we want peace yet prepare for war.

posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 11:12 PM
I think this argument is weak.

So, by this argument, if we have nuclear weapons we should use them or divest ourselves of them completely?

If you have a gun you should shoot someone or give it up?

Can you not plan for the worst, but hope you never have to exercise the option?

I think the "liberty vs freedom" discussion isn't loss of all liberty but an erosion of it.

More along the idea of I'm not a criminal so why should I care if there are cameras everywhere.

I'm not defending that concept, but I think it is a leap to say that people are willing to give up all of something for something else.

posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 11:31 PM
While I certainly agree that, for me at least, things like war and "peace" (or "peace keeping,") Liberty and the curtailing of civil liberties for "security," etc. are incompatible, I do feel that there are positions which can seem to be mutually exclusive but which in reality aren't necessarily.

For example, I am both pro-life and pro-choice. I'm pro-life in the sense that I would never want to have an abortion and would be tremendously unhappy if someone I was in a relationship chose to have one. However, I am pro-choice in the sense that I would defend to the death a woman's right to choose to have an abortion for herself. These may seem like mutually exclusive positions, however for me they most assuredly are not.

I agree with what I interpret to be the primary point of this topic, however, which is that those in positions of power capable of influencing the public zeitgeist and collective mentality, often attempt to render (what we feel are) mutually exclusive positions somehow compatible in order to cater to more than one side of a political dichotomy, such as war for the sake of "peace."

posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 11:33 PM
reply to post by bigfatfurrytexan

Well...I guess a lot of people here are very, very familiar with all of this. But I do hope that those who are not take a look and singlethink.

posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 12:32 AM
reply to post by LiveForever8

WOW! Great thread, I found myself guilty on all charges of buying into the language of Doublethink.

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