Molly Lindenbaum - my quote collection

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It is the nature of all greatness not to be exact.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
As regards the celebrated struggle for life, it seems to me for the present to have been rather asserted than proved. It does occur, but as the exception; the general aspect of life is not hunger and distress, but rather wealth, luxury, even absurd prodigality -- where there is a struggle it is a struggle for power.
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
Fear is the mother of morality.
Man consists of two parts, his mind and his body, only the body has more fun.
Sex alleviates tension. Love causes it.
Of all the wonders of nature, a tree in summer is perhaps the most remarkable; with the possible exception of a moose singing Embraceable You in spats.
Life is divided up into the horrible and the miserable.
I don't respond well to mellow, you know what I mean, I have a tendency to... if I get too mellow, I ripen and then rot.
What if nothing exists and we're all in somebody's dream? Or what's worse, what if only that fat guy in the third row exists?
What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet.
The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it.
Passion for fame: A passion which is the instinct of all great souls.
Modern man must descend the spiral of his own absurdity to the lowest point; only then can he look beyond it. It is obviously impossible to get around it, jump over it, or simply avoid it.
I'd never join a club that would allow a person like me to become a member.
I think being funny is not anyone's first choice.
If one considers how much reason every person has for anxiety and timid self-concealment, and how three-quarters of his energy and goodwill can be paralyzed and made unfruitful by it, one has to be very grateful to fashion, insofar as it sets that three-quarters free and communicates self-confidence and mutual cheerful agreeableness to those who know they are subject to its law.
We must be physicists in order to be creative since so far codes of values and ideals have been constructed in ignorance of physics or even in contradiction to physics.
It says nothing against the ripeness of a spirit that it has a few worms.
There are no eternal facts, as there are no absolute truths.
There are no facts, only interpretations.
Experience, as a desire for experience, does not come off. We must not study ourselves while having an experience.
Believe me! The secret of reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously!
Whatever is done for love always occurs beyond good and evil.
The invalid is a parasite on society. In a certain state it is indecent to go on living. To vegetate on in cowardly dependence on physicians and medicaments after the meaning of life, the right to life, has been lost ought to entail the profound contempt of society.
In the consciousness of the truth he has perceived, man now sees everywhere only the awfulness or the absurdity of existence and loathing seizes him.
One must learn to love oneself with a wholesome and healthy love, so that one can bear to be with oneself and need not roam.
The only thing that one really knows about human nature is that it changes. Change is the one quality we can predicate of it. The systems that fail are those that rely on the permanency of human nature, and not on its growth and development. The error of Louis XIV was that he thought human nature would always be the same. The result of his error was the French Revolution. It was an admirable result.
To be good, according to the vulgar standard of goodness, is obviously quite easy. It merely requires a certain amount of sordid terror, a certain lack of imaginative thought, and a certain low passion for middle-class respectability.
If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn't. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.
America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.
Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.
Fashion, by which what is really fantastic becomes for a moment the universal.
Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.
Where there is no extravagance there is no love, and where there is no love there is no understanding.
Dullness is the coming of age of seriousness.
Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.
Society often forgives the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer.
Alas, I am dying beyond my means.
How clever you are, my dear! You never mean a single word you say.
Popularity is the crown of laurel which the world puts on bad art. Whatever is popular is wrong.
Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.
No great artist ever sees things as they really are, if he did he would cease to be an artist.
The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.
The condition of perfection is idleness: the aim of perfection is youth.
The way of paradoxes is the way of truth. To test Reality we must see it on the tight-rope. When the Verities become acrobats we can judge them.
We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.
What is mind but motion in the intellectual sphere?
To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.
Nothing looks so like innocence as an indiscretion.
The intellect is not a serious thing, and never has been. It is an instrument on which one plays, that is all.
It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life.
My experience is that as soon as people are old enough to know better, they don't know anything at all.
Love the art in yourself and not yourself in the art.
Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.
Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.
One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.
The stage is not merely the meeting place of all the arts, but is also the return of art to life.
The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.
I can believe anything provided it is incredible.
A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.
Imagination, the supreme delight of the immortal and the immature, should be limited. In order to enjoy life, we should not enjoy it too much.
Everything great in the world comes from neurotics. They alone have founded our religions and composed our masterpieces.
If we could sniff or swallow something that would, for five or six hours each day, abolish our solitude as individuals, atone us with our fellows in a glowing exaltation of affection and make life in all its aspects seem not only worth living, but divinely beautiful and significant, and if this heavenly, world-transfiguring drug were of such a kind that we could wake up next morning with a clear head and an undamaged constitution -- then, it seems to me, all our problems (and not merely the one small problem of discovering a novel pleasure) would be wholly solved and earth would become paradise.
We are able to find everything in our memory, which is like a dispensary or chemical laboratory in which chance steers our hand sometimes to a soothing drug and sometimes to a dangerous poison.
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.
Take me, I am the drug; take me, I am hallucinogenic.
It is only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned.
Everything great that we know has come from neurotics never will the world be aware of how much it owes to them, nor above all what they have suffered in order to bestow their gifts on it.
I have three phobias which, could I mute them, would make my life as slick as a sonnet, but as dull as ditch water: I hate to go to bed, I hate to get up, and I hate to be alone.
Thank Heaven! the crisis --The danger, is past, and the lingering illness, is over at last --, and the fever called Living is conquered at last.
All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream.
I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.
I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me.
Art is permitted to survive only if it renounces the right to be different, and integrates itself into the omnipotent realm of the profane.
Just as modern mass production requires the standardization of commodities, so the social process requires standardization of man, and this standardization is called equality.
We live in a world of things, and our only connection with them is that we know how to manipulate or to consume them.
Love is often nothing but a favorable exchange between two people who get the most of what they can expect, considering their value on the personality market.
If I am what I have and if I lose what I have who then am I?
The ordinary man with extraordinary power is the chief danger for mankind -- not the fiend or the sadist.
Man's biological weakness is the condition of human culture.
By alienation is meant a mode of experience in which the person experiences himself as an alien. He has become, one might say, estranged from himself. He does not experience himself as the center of his world, as the creator of his own acts -- but his acts and their consequences have become his masters, whom he obeys, or whom he may even worship. The alienated person is out of touch with himself as he is out of touch with any other person. He, like the others, is experienced as things are experienced; with the senses and with common sense, but at the same time without being related to oneself and to the world outside positively.
Acquisition means life to miserable mortals.
Oh, what a void there is in things.
It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.
Any so-called material thing that you want is merely a symbol: you want it not for itself, but because it will content your spirit for the moment.
When we try in good faith to believe in materialism, in the exclusive reality of the physical, we are asking our selves to step aside; we are disavowing the very realm where we exist and where all things precious are kept -- the realm of emotion and conscience, of memory and intention and sensation.
Modernity is the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable.
We are becoming like cats, slyly parasitic, enjoying an indifferent domesticity. Nice and snug in the social, our historic passions have withdrawn into the glow of an artificial coziness, and our half-closed eyes now seek little other than the peaceful parade of television pictures.
The modern mind is in complete disarray. Knowledge has stretched itself to the point where neither the world nor our intelligence can find any foot-hold. It is a fact that we are suffering from nihilism.
Art need no longer be an account of past sensations. It can become the direct organization of more highly evolved sensations. It is a question of producing ourselves, not things that enslave us.
Ideas improve. The meaning of words participates in the improvement. Plagiarism is necessary. Progress implies it. It embraces an author's phrase, makes use of his expressions, erases a false idea, and replaces it with the right idea.
In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.
Worldly fame is but a breath of wind that blows now this way, and now that, and changes name as it changes direction.
Abandon all hope, you who enter here!
The more perfect a thing is, the more susceptible to good and bad treatment it is.
Hollywood money isn't money. It's congealed snow, melts in your hand, and there you are.
What seems to be, is, to those to whom it seems to be, and is productive of the most dreadful consequences to those to whom it seems to be, even of torments, despair, eternal death.
Cruelty has a Human Heart, And jealousy a Human Face; Terror the Human Form Divine, And secrecy the Human Dress. The Human Dress is forged Iron, The Human Form a Fiery Forge, The Human Face a Furnace seal d, The Human Heart its hungry gorge.
The impression forces itself upon one that men measure by false standards, that everyone seeks power, success, riches for himself, and admires others who attain them, while undervaluing the truly precious thing in life.
For me, it is as though at every moment the actual world had completely lost its actuality. As though there was nothing there; as though there were no foundations for anything or as though it escaped us. Only one thing, however, is vividly present: the constant tearing of the veil of appearances; the constant destruction of everything in construction. Nothing holds together, everything falls apart.
It appears to me that almost any man may like the spider spin from his own inwards his own airy citadel.
Artists use frauds to make human beings seem more wonderful than they really are. Dancers show us human beings who move much more gracefully than human beings really move. Films and books and plays show us people talking much more entertainingly than people.
Lust is to the other passions what the nervous fluid is to life; it supports them all, lends strength to them all ambition, cruelty, avarice, revenge, are all founded on lust.
Lust's passion will be served; it demands, it militates, it tyrannizes.
Materialism coarsens and petrifies everything, making everything vulgar, and every truth false.
Young people everywhere have been allowed to choose between love and a garbage disposal unit. Everywhere they have chosen the garbage disposal unit.
There is nothing more natural than to consider everything as starting from oneself, chosen as the center of the world; one finds oneself thus capable of condemning the world without even wanting to hear its deceitful chatter.
The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment.
Whatever is a reality today, whatever you touch and believe in and that seems real for you today, is going to be -- like the reality of yesterday -- an illusion tomorrow.
Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it creative observation. Creative viewing.
Popular art is the dream of society; it does not examine itself.
The bastard form of mass culture is humiliated repetition... always new books, new programs, new films, news items, but always the same meaning.
Popular culture is the new Babylon, into which so much art and intellect now flow. It is our imperial sex theater, supreme temple of the western eye. We live in the age of idols. The pagan past, never dead, flames again in our mystic hierarchies of stardom.
Given that external reality is a fiction, the writer's role is almost superfluous. He does not need to invent the fiction because it is already there.
The very definition of the real becomes: that of which it is possible to give an equivalent reproduction. The real is not only what can be reproduced, but that which is always already reproduced. The hyper real.
Fear not what is not real, never was and never will be. What is real, always was and cannot be destroyed.
This sort of adoration of the real is but a heightening of the beau ideal.
Realism should only be the means of expression of religious genius... or, at the other extreme, the artistic expressions of monkeys which are quite satisfied with mere imitation. In fact, art is never realistic though sometimes it is tempted to be. To be really realistic a description would have to be endless.
How hard it is, sometimes, to trust the evidence of one's senses! How reluctantly the mind consents to reality.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
To be realistic today is to be visionary. To be realistic is to be starry-eyed.
The supreme reality of our time is the vulnerability of this planet.
Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.
The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
You too must not count too much on your reality as you feel it today, since like yesterday, it may prove an illusion for you tomorrow.
If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thru chinks of his cavern.
To perceive means to immobilize... we seize, in the act of perception, something which outruns perception itself.
The postmodern reply to the modern consists of recognizing that the past, since it cannot really be destroyed, because its destruction leads to silence, must be revisited: but with irony, not innocently. I think of the postmodern attitude as that of a man who loves a very cultivated woman and knows he cannot say to her, I love you madly, because he knows that she knows (and that she knows that he knows) that these words have already been written by Barbara Cartland. Still, there is a solution. He can say, As Barbara Cartland would put it, I love you madly.
Myth is neither a lie nor a confession: it is an inflexion.
Myth is the hidden part of every story, the buried part, the region that is still unexplored because there are as yet no words to enable us to get there. Myth is nourished by silence as well as by words.
Myth is an attempt to narrate a whole human experience, of which the purpose is too deep, going too deep in the blood and soul, for mental explanation or description.
I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact.
Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men's reality. Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of the rat race is not yet final.
Those who weep for the happy periods which they encounter in history acknowledge what they want; not the alleviation but the silencing of misery.
People have this obsession. They want you to be like you were in 1969. They want you to, because otherwise their youth goes with you. It's very selfish, but it's understandable.
It is a curious emotion, this certain homesickness I have in mind. With Americans, it is a national trait, as native to us as the roller-coaster or the jukebox. It is no simple longing for the home town or country of our birth. The emotion is Janus-faced: we are torn between a nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.
Even while I protest the assembly-line production of our food, our songs, our language, and eventually our souls, I know that it was a rare home that baked good bread in the old days. Mother's cooking was with rare exceptions poor, that good unpasteurized milk touched only by flies and bits of manure crawled with bacteria, the healthy old-time life was riddled with aches, sudden death from unknown causes, and that sweet local speech I mourn was the child of illiteracy and ignorance. It is the nature of a man as he grows older, a small bridge in time, to protest against change, particularly change for the better.
Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be.
Ads are the cave art of the twentieth century.
The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village.
The modern little red riding hood, reared on singing commercials, has no objections to being eaten by the wolf.
Advertising is the greatest art form of the twentieth century.
Ideally, advertising aims at the goal of a programmed harmony among all human impulses and aspirations and endeavors. Using handicraft methods, it stretches out toward the ultimate electronic goal of a collective consciousness.
The obscure only exists that it may cease to exist. In it lies the opportunity of all victory and all progress. Whether it call itself fatality, death, night, or matter, it is the pedestal of life, of light, of liberty and the spirit. For it represents resistance -- that is to say, the fulcrum of all activity, the occasion for its development and its triumph.
When you do not know what you are doing and what you are doing is the best -- that is inspiration.
One forgets too easily the difference between a man and his image, and that there is none between the sound of his voice on the screen and in real life.

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