Annihilate a Whole Culture

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I’m listening to Nineteen Eighty-Four right now. I read the first half in high school, and it’s been haunting me ever since as an unfinished read. My memory is of a book filled with big ideas, but it’s also wonderfully written.

The girl with dark hair was coming towards them across the field. With what seemed a single movement she tore off her clothes and flung them disdainfully aside. Her body was white and smooth, but it aroused no desire in him, indeed he barely looked at it. What overwhelmed him in that instant was admiration for the gesture with which she had thrown her clothes aside. With its grace and carelessness it seemed to annihilate a whole culture, a whole system of thought, as though Big Brother and the Party and the Thought Police could all be swept into nothingness by a single splendid movement of the arm. That too was a gesture belonging to the ancient time. Winston woke up with the word ‘Shakespeare’ on his lips.

— George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

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