Life is not so bad if you have plenty of luck, a good physique, and not too much imagination.

— Christopher Isherwood

The most mind-blowing Christopher Isherwood quotes that will activate your desire to change

We must remember that nothing in this world really belongs to us. At best, we are merely borrowers.

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By helping yourself, you are helping humankind.

By helping humankind, you are helping yourself. That's the law of all spiritual progress.

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Only those who are capable of silliness can be called truly intelligent.

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Sometimes awful things have their own beauty.

22

What irritates me is the bland way people go around saying, 'Oh, our attitude has changed. We don't dislike these people any more.' But by the strangest coincidence, they haven't taken away the injustice; the laws are still on the books.

18

I'll bet Shakespeare compromised himself a lot;

anybody who's in the entertainment industry does to some extent.

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Bad writing is bad not just because the language is humdrum, but the quality of the observation is so poor.

15

I am a camera, with its shutter open. Someday, all of this will be developed, printed, fixed.

11

Someone has to ask you a question," George continues meaningly, "before you can answer it. But it's so seldom you find anyone who'll ask the right questions. Most people aren't that much interested.

10

It seems to me that the real clue to your sexual orientation lies in your romantic feelings rather than your sexual feelings. If you are really gay, you are able to fall in love with a man, not just enjoy sex with him.

10

But seriously, I believe I'm a sort of Ideal Woman, if you know what I mean.

I'm the sort of woman who can take men away from their wives, but I could never keep anybody for long. And that's because I'm the type which every man imagines he wants, until he gets me; and then he finds he doesn't really, after all.

7

If it’s going to be a world with no time for sentiment, it’s not a world that I want to live in.

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About Christopher Isherwood

Quotes 63 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Author
Birthday October 16

The Nazis hated culture itself, because it is essentially international and therefore subversive of nationalism. What they called Nazi culture was a local, perverted, nationalistic cult, by which a few major artists and many minor ones were honored for their Germanness, not their talent.

6

I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking.

4

In the eternal lazy morning of the Pacific, days slip away into months, months into years; the seasons are reduced to the faintest nuance by the great central fact of the sunshine; one might pass a lifetime, it seems, between two yawns, lying bronzed and naked in the sand.

3

Hollywood's two polar types are the cynically drunken writer aggressively nursing a ten-year-old reputation and the theatrically self-conscious hermit who strides the boulevard in sandals, home-made shorts and a prophetic beard, muttering against the Age of the Machines.

3

I seldom try to probe the mystery of my sloth.

I have squandered a gigantic fortune of work hours... seems likely that I'll go on squandering till the very end.

3

Waking up begins with saying am and now.

That which has awoken then lies for a while staring up at the ceiling and down into itself until it has recognized I, and therefrom deduced I am, I am now. Here comes next, and is at least negatively reassuring; because here, this morning, is where it has expected to find itself: what’s called at home.

3

The prefect evening...lying down on the couch beside the bookcase and reading himself sleepy...Jim lying opposite him at the other end of the couch, also reading; the two of them absorbed in their books yet so completely aware of each other's presence.

2

I'm horrified to find, as I look at these diaries of twenty-five years ago or more, that I don't remember who the people were. "Bill and Tony were constantly in and out. We went to La Jolla" - or something. I haven't the bluest idea who they were!

1

I'm very militant, you know, in a quite way.

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I doubt if one ever accepts a belief until one urgently needs it.

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Horror is always aware of its cause; terror never is. That is precisely what makes terror terrifying.

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At one campus where I was lecturing, I asked a friend, "How many of my colleagues know I'm gay?" He answered, "All of them." I wasn't surprised. But, just the same, it was kind of spooky, because not one of them had ever given me the faintest sign that he or she knew. If I had spoken about it myself, most of them would have felt it was in bad taste.

0

California is a tragic country — like Palestine, like every Promised Land.

Its short history is a fever-chart of migrations — the land rush, the gold rush, the oil rush, the movie rush, the Okie fruit-picking rush, the wartime rush to the aircraft factories — followed, in each instance, by counter-migrations of the disappointed and unsuccessful, moving sorrowfully homeward.

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What it sees there isn't so much a face as the expression of a predicament.

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I often feel that worse than the most fiendish Nazis were those Germans who went along with the persecution of the Jews not because they really disliked them but because it was the thing.

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The Nazis were not right to hate the Jews.

But their hating of Jews was not without a cause. No one ever hates without a cause.

0

For a few minutes, maybe, life lingers in the tissues of some outlying regions of the body. Then, one by one, the lights go out and there is total blackness. And ifsome part of the non—entity we called George has indeed been absent at this moment of terminal shock, away out there on the deep water, then it will return to find itself homeless.

0

To live sanely in Los Angeles ... you have to cultivate the art of staying awake. You must learn to resist (firmly but not tensely) the unceasing hypnotic suggestions of the radio, the billboards, the movies and the newspapers; those demon voices which are forever whispering in your ear what you should desire, what you should fear, what you should wear and eat and drink and enjoy, what you should think and do and be.

0

I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking.

Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.

0

I certainly should have,' he agrees, smiling and thinking what an absurd and universally-accepted bit of nonsense it is, that your best friends must necessarily be the ones who best understand you. As if there weren't far too much understanding in the world already; above all, that understanding between lovers, celebrated in song and story, which is actually such torture that no two of them can bear it without frequent separations or fights.

0

His life has been lived, so far, within narrow limits and he is quite naïve about most kinds of experience; he fears it and yet is wildly eager for it. To reassure himself, he converts it into epic myth as fast as it happens. He is forever play-acting.

0

As they embrace, she kisses him full on the mouth.

And suddenly sticks her tongue right in. She has done this before, often. It’s one of those drunken long shots which just might, at least theoretically, once in ten thousand tries, throw a relationship right out of its orbit and send it whizzing off on another. Do women ever stop trying? No. But, because they never stop, they learn to be good losers.

0

I am alive, he says to himself, I am alive! And life energy surges hotly through him, and delight, and appetite. How good to be in a body - even this old beat-up carcass - that still has warm blood and live semen and rich marrow and wholesome flesh!

0

The town is an advertisement for itself; none of its charms are left to the visitor's imagination.

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The sea only drowns its lovers.

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You see, Kenny, there are some things you don't even know you know, until you're asked.

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The paternalist is a sentimentalist at heart, and the sentimentalist is always potentially cruel.

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A minority is only thought of as a minority when it constitutes some kind of threat to the majority, real or imaginary. And no threat is ever quite imaginary.

0

The talk of pale, burning-eyed students, anarchists and utopians all, over tea and cigarettes in a locked room long past midnight, is next morning translated, with the literalness of utter innocence, into the throwing of the bomb, the shouting of the proud slogan, the dragging away of the young dreamer-doer, still smiling, to the dungeon and the firing squad.

0

In order to get the worst possible first impression of Los Angeles one should arrive there by bus, preferably in summer and on a Saturday night.

0

Lois and Alexander are by far the most beautiful creatures in the class;

their beauty is like the beauty of plants, seemingly untroubled by vanity, anxiety or effort.

0

The Quito telephone service is about as reliable as roulette.

0

Berlin is a skeleton which aches in the cold: it is my own skeleton aching.

I feel in my bones the sharp ache of the frost in the girders of the overhead railway, in the iron-work of balconies, in bridges, tramlines, lamp-standards, latrines. The iron throbs and shrinks, the stone and the bricks ache dully, the plaster is numb.

0

What’s so phony nowadays is all this familiarity.

Pretending there isn’t any difference between people —well, like you were saying about minorities, this morning. If you and I are no different, what do we have to give each other? How can we ever be friends?

0

I'm like a book you have to read. A book can't read itself to you. It doesn't even know what it's about. I don't know what I'm about.

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The past is just something that's over.

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Do you think it makes people nasty to be loved? You know it doesn’t! Then why should it make them nice to be loathed? While you’re being persecuted, you hate what’s happening to you, you hate the people who are making it happen; you’re in a world of hate. Why, you wouldn’t recognize love if you met it! You’d suspect love! You’d think there was something behind it—some motive—some trick.

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