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The Thought Police (thinkpol in Newspeak) is the secret police of Oceania in George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

It is the job of the Thought Police to uncover and punish thoughtcrime and thought-criminals, using psychology and omnipresent surveillance from telescreens to find and eliminate members of society who were capable of the mere thought of challenging ruling authority.[1] The government attempts to control not only the speech and actions, but also the thoughts of its subjects, labeling unapproved thoughts with the term thoughtcrime, or, in Newspeak, crimethink. It was the Thought Police that had arrested Winston and Julia. The Thought Police operate a false resistance movement in order to lure in disloyal Party members, before arresting them. It is unknown, however, if a genuine resistance movement exists. The Thought Police also move among the Proles, spreading false rumors and marking down and eliminating any individual deemed capable of rebellion against the Party or Independent thought. All Party members live their lives under constant supervision of the Thought Police. Every Party member has a Telescreen in his or her home, which the Thought Police uses to observe every single action, and takes note of anything that hints of unorthodox opinions or an inner struggle. When a Party member talks in their sleep, the words are carefully analyzed. The Thought Police also target and eliminate highly intelligent people, since they may come to realize how the Party is exploiting them. An example of this was of Syme, a developer of Newspeak, who, despite his fierce devotion to the Party, simply disappeared one day.

It also had much to do with Orwell's own "power of facing unpleasant facts", as he called it, and his willingness to criticize prevailing ideas which brought him into conflict with others and their "smelly little orthodoxies".[2] Although Orwell described himself as a democratic socialist, many other socialists thought that his criticism of the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin damaged the socialist cause.


Other uses

In the first half of the twentieth century, the Special Higher Police (Tokko) in Japan were sometimes known as the Thought Police.

The term "Thought Police", by extension, has come to refer to real or perceived enforcement of ideological correctness, or preemptive policing where a person is apprehended in anticipation of the possibility that they may commit a crime, in any modern or historical contexts.

Brain-scanning research

In June 2009, CBS's 60 Minutes revealed that Carnegie Mellon University's Psychology Department and their associates in Germany, have developed ground-breaking technology that is able to scan the human brain, reading thoughts and intentions. [3].


  1. ^ Taylor, Kathleen; Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control; p. 21; Oxford University Press, 2006, ISBN 0199204780, 9780199204786
  2. ^ Orwell, George; Orwell, Sonia; Angus, Ian; The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell; pg. 460; David R. Godine Publisher, 2000; ISBN 1567921337, 9781567921335
  3. ^;cbsCarousel

See also

External links

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