O’Brien tells Winston;
“Some years ago you had a delusion. You believed three one time Party Members, Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford… were not guilty of the crimes they were charged with. You believed that you had seen unmistakable documentary evidence proving that their confessions were false. There was a certain photograph about which you had a hallucination. You believed that you had actually held it in your hands. It was a photograph something like this.’
Now this event was real. Winston had seen the photograph, had examined it, and right there, O’Brien held that newspaper. It was another copy of the photograph of Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford at the party function in New York, which he had chanced upon eleven years ago and promptly destroyed.
Winston wanted to hold the photograph in his fingers again, or at least to see it; “It exists!” he exclaims.
‘No,’ says O’Brien as he goes to a memory hole in the wall and the paper vanishied in a flash of flame; ‘Ashes, not even identifiable ashes. Dust. It does not exist. It never existed.’
‘But it did exist! It does exist! It exists in memory. I remember it. You remember it.’ Winston cries.
‘I do not remember it,’ said O’Brien.
Winston recognised doublethink.
Had O’Brien really forgotten the photograph. If so, he would have forgotten his denial of remembering it, and forgotten the act of forgetting.
This blurring of reality, this kind of insanity is what permeates Oceania, this is the weapon; Doublethink.