"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." - George Orwell
Since this quote sums up my market niche as a writer -- to explore the implications of social facts that are so obvious that other intellectuals prefer to remain oblivious to them -- I've been asked where in Orwell's writings I found this line. Well, being a vastly learned literary scholar, I found it on the "Quotable Quotes" page of Readers' Digest. Fortunately, the prominent Amherst medical researcher, Dr. Paul Ewald, who is the partner of Gregory Cochran in developing the Darwinian-based New Germ Theory, is planning to use this quote in a book he's writing, so he dug up the original source. It was originally published in March, 1946, and can be found in The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell: In Front of Your Nose, 1945-1950, Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus, Editors / Paperback / Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1968, p. 125.
Here's another Orwell quote I like:
"We have now sunk to a depth at which re-statement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men."
And Chris Brand recently sent me another highly relevant Orwell quote:
"At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas of which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is "not done" to say it... Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the high-brow periodicals". -- George Orwell, 1945, Introduction to 'Animal Farm.'
Here's a tremendous quote that Thomas Sowell dug up,
"Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm -- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves." -- T.S. Eliot, 1950
And a killer insight from the last chapter of Steve Pinker's The Blank Slate:
"Paradoxically, in today's intellectual climate novelists may have a clearer mandate than scientists to speak the truth about human nature. Sophisticated people sneer at feel-good comedies and saccharine romances in which all loose ends are tied and everyone lives happily ever after. Life is nothing like that, we note, and we look to the arts for edification about the painful dilemmas of the human condition. Yet, when it comes to the science of human beings, this same audience says: Give us schmaltz!"
And here's one from Enoch Powell in 1968:
The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils. In seeking to do so, it encounters obstacles which are deeply rooted in human nature... Above all, people are disposed to mistake predicting troubles for causing troubles and even for desiring troubles: “if only”, they love to think, “if only people wouldn't talk about it, it probably wouldn't happen”. Perhaps this habit goes back to the primitive belief that the word and the thing, the name and the object, are identical.
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