Friday, November 06, 2009

QuoteS V

"Happiness is a hound dog in the sun. We are not here to be happy but to experience great and wonderful things." —Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." —Eleanor Roosevelt

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." —J.K. Galbraith

"Strive not to be a man of success, but a man of value." —Albert Einstein

* * *

"What happens in Western Cinema, they say: "Look at this. You're so stupid you don't know what we're trying to tell you. Let me tell you something." And we say: "Hey, discover this." —Christopher Doyle, cinematographer.

"When I watch French television today, I think I know exactly how the French resistance felt during the German occupation."
—Jean-Luc Godard

"Jeanne Dielman was considered a feminist film, but that was not my goal when I made it. My goal at the time was to show someone who organizes her life so that there is no hole in her time, because when there is a hole, there is also anxiety." —Chantal Akerman

"Courses may be pointless and uninteresting. The data may go through you like mineral oil. But at least it is some kind of challenge. And while you're involved in all this, time is off your hands and rests in theirs--the authorities'. Should you not be attending school, you may feel that you're pissing away time--days and weeks; you may begin to feel very uncomfortable. On your own, you have to face the responsibility for how you spend time. But in school you don't. What they make you do may obviously be a waste but at least the responsibility isn't charged to your account. School in this respect is, once again, like the army or jail. Once you're in, you may have all kinds of problems but freedom isn't one of them.

After you leave school and get a job, you'll find you need the job just as you learned to need school. You'll remain an existential minor who needs trustees to spend his time for him.

The schools we have are a cop-out. Why not face the responsibility for what we do with our time? And if we need structures to inform our time, why not find more congenial, more human ones." —Jerry Farber

"When you go to school, you're doing society a favor. And when you say "no," you withhold much more than your attendance. You deny continuity to the dying society; you put the future on strike." —Jerry Farber

* * *

"There is a real possibility that the primary victim of the ongoing crisis will not be capitalism but the left itself, insofar as its inability to offer a viable global alternative was again made visible to everyone. It was the left that was effectively caught out, as if recent events were staged with a calculated risk in order to demonstrate that, even at a time of shattering crisis, there is no viable alternative to capitalism. Immanuel Kant countered the conservative motto “Don’t think, obey!” not with the injunction “Don’t obey, think!” but rather “Obey, but think!” When we are transfixed by something like the bailout, we should bear in mind that since it is actually a form of blackmail, we must resist the populist temptation to act out our anger and thus wound ourselves. Instead of such impotent acting-out, we should control our fury and transform it into an icy determination to think—to think things through in a really radical way, and to ask what kind of a society renders such blackmail possible." —Žižek, to each according to his greed

"There are some people who would never have fallen in love if they had not heard there was such a thing." —La Rochefoucauld

"The last three decades of this century have witnessed the ignition of the most significant internal conflict ever to engage the human species. It is not the struggle between capitalism and communism or between any other set of 'isms'. It is the conflict between those who possess the means and will to exploit the living world to destruction, and those who are banding together in a desperate and last-ditch attempt to prevent the New Juggernaut from trashing our small planet." —Farley Mowat

"If nuclear war breaks out, the average citizen of a Western democracy will be better informed about Brittny Spears than the causes of their death." —Roger Ebert

"Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day." —Emerson

* * *

"The whole world understands that the real question is the following: Why do the politics of the Western powers, of NATO, of Europe and the USA, appear completely unjust to two out of three inhabitants of the planet? Why are five thousand American deaths considered a cause for war, while five hundred thousand dead in Rwanda and a projected ten million dead from AIDS in Africa do not, in our opinion, merit outrage? Why is the bombardment of civilians in the US Evil, while the bombardment of Baghdad or Belgrade today, or that of Hanoi or Panama in the past, is Good? The ethic of Truths that I propose proceeds from concrete situations, rather than from an abstract right, or a spectacular Evil. The whole world understands these situations, and the whole world can act in a disinterested fashion prompted by the injustice of these situations. Evil in politics is easy to see: It's absolute inequality with respect to life, wealth, power. Good is equality. How long can we accept the fact that what is needed for running water, schools, hospitals, and food enough for all humanity is a sum that corresponds to the amount spent by wealthy Western countries on perfume in a year? This is not a question of human rights and morality. It is a question of the fundamental battle for equality of all people, against the law of profit, whether personal or national." —Alain Badiou

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." —Krishnamurti

"Insanity: a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world." —R.D. Laing

"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." —Thoreau

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." —Voltaire

* * *

"Democracy is at its best when citizens debate among themselves, working out their differences through a process of reasoned argument and compromise. Democracy, in this sense, requires a mutual respect, across political differences. It requires us to grant, if only for the sake of our shared national life, that those who disagree have spent as much time in reflecting on their positions as we have.

A book matches perfectly the ideal of reflection. The tougher the text, the more reflective we must be in absorbing it. This suggests the importance of reading books that are difficult. Long books. Hard books. Books with which we have to struggle. The hard work of serious reading mirrors the hard work of serious governing—and, in a democracy, governing is a responsibility all citizens share. And if we are willing to work our way through difficult texts, we are far more likely to be willing to work our way through our opponents’ difficult ideas. An important lesson of serious reading is that ideas need not be correct to be important." —Stephen L. Carter, Where's the Bailout for Publishing?

"To see what is in front of one's nose requires a constant struggle." —Orwell

* * *

"Tell people something they know already and they will thank you for it. Tell them something new and they will hate you for it." —George Monbiot [a variation on "If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you. If you make them really think, they’ll hate you." —Don Marquis]

"If you are going to tell people the truth, you had better make them laugh. Otherwise they'll kill you." —George Bernard Shaw (disputed)

"A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything." —Nietzsche

* * *

"When you give up on hope, something even better happens than it not killing you, which is that in some sense it does kill you. You die. And there’s a wonderful thing about being dead, which is that they—those in power—cannot really touch you anymore. Not through promises, not through threats, not through violence itself. Once you’re dead in this way, you can still sing, you can still dance, you can still make love, you can still fight like hell—you can still live because you are still alive, more alive in fact than ever before. You come to realize that when hope died, the you who died with the hope was not you, but was the you who depended on those who exploit you, the you who believed that those who exploit you will somehow stop on their own, the you who believed in the mythologies propagated by those who exploit you in order to facilitate that exploitation. The socially constructed you died. The civilized you died. The manufactured, fabricated, stamped, molded you died. The victim died.

And who is left when that you dies? You are left. Animal you. Naked you. Vulnerable (and invulnerable) you. Mortal you. Survivor you. The you who thinks not what the culture taught you to think but what you think. The you who feels not what the culture taught you to feel but what you feel. The you who is not who the culture taught you to be but who you are. The you who can say yes, the you who can say no. The you who is a part of the land where you live. The you who will fight (or not) to defend your family. The you who will fight (or not) to defend those you love. The you who will fight (or not) to defend the land upon which your life and the lives of those you love depends. The you whose morality is not based on what you have been taught by the culture that is killing the planet, killing you, but on your own animal feelings of love and connection to your family, your friends, your landbase—not to your family as self-identified civilized beings but as animals who require a landbase, animals who are being killed by chemicals, animals who have been formed and deformed to fit the needs of the culture." —Derrick Jensen, Beyond Hope

1 comment:

stillness said...

Alain Badiou quote is spectacular.