“I often have the feeling that even at the best of times literary criticism is fraudulent, since in the absence of any accepted standards whatever - any external reference which can give meaning to the statement that such and such a book is “good” or “bad” - every literary judgement consists in trumping up a set of rules to justify an instinctive preference. One’s real reaction to a book, when one has a reaction at all, is usually “I like this book” or “I don’t like it” and what follows is a rationalisation.”
―George Orwell, All Art Is Propaganda: Critical Essays
"To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle. One thing that helps towards it is to keep a diary, or, at any rate, to keep some kind of record of one’s opinions about important events. Otherwise, when some particularly absurd belief is exploded by events, one may simple forget that one ever held it. Political predictions are usually wrong, but even when one makes a correct one, to discover why one was right can be very illuminating. In general, one is only right when either wish or fear coincides with reality. If one recognises this, one cannot, of course get rid of one’s subjective feelings, but one can to some extent insulate them from one’s thinking and make predictions cold-bloodedly, by the book of arithmetic."
―George Orwell, Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays