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It is the ability to hold two contrasting ideas, themes, arguments at the same time, i.e. to believe that one thing and its opposite are both true. Linguistically speaking, it is an oxymoron (“profound shallowness”) elevated to political thought and policy. It forms the basis of the creed of the Party; it also allows the Party to change their mind indefinitely and for no reason. The slogans - endlessly repeated in the book - are perfect examples: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” Doublethink is connected to both propaganda and Newspeak: it is a tool the Party uses to say one thing and deny it at the same time, to minimise a fact and then to bring it back in full force when it is needed (victories over the other states), to manipulate reality in broad terms. It is enshrined in Newspeak, it actually constitutes the very basis of the new dictionary. Doublethink creates bewilderment and disorientation and so it exerts a deep influence on the minds of the disconcerted inhabitants of Oceania; in the end, it simply prevents understanding of the plight they are in.
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