Sanity is a cozy lie.— Susan Sontag
The most instructive Susan Sontag quotes that are simple and will have a huge impact on you
A family's photograph album is generally about the extended family and, often, is all that remains of it.
The taste for quotations (and for the juxtaposition of incongruous quotations) is a Surrealist taste.
A fiction about soft or easy deaths is part of the mythology of most diseases that are not considered shameful or demeaning.
I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list.
We live under continual threat of two equally fearful, but seemingly opposed, destinies: unremitting banality and inconceivable terror. It is fantasy, served out in large rations by the popular arts, which allows most people to cope with these twin specters.
What is the most beautiful in virile men is something feminine;
what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.
It seems positively unnatural to travel without taking a camera along.
.. The very activity of taking pictures is soothing and assuages general feelings of disorientation that are likely to be exacerbated by travel.
I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list.
For those who live neither with religious consolations about death nor with a sense of death (or of anything else) as natural, death is the obscene mystery, the ultimate affront, the thing that cannot be controlled. It can only be denied.
Surrealism in painting amounted to little more than the contents of a meagerly stocked dream world: a few witty fantasies, mostly wet dreams and agoraphobic nightmares.
Do stuff. be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration's shove or society's kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It's all about paying attention. attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. stay eager.
In most modern instances, interpretation amounts to the philistine refusal to leave the work of art alone. Real art has the capacity to make us nervous. By reducing the work of art to its content and then interpreting that, one tames the work of art. Interpretation makes art manageable, conformable.
To take a photograph is to participate in another person's mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time's relentless melt.
The best emotions to write out of are anger and fear or dread.
The least energizing emotion to write out of is admiration. It is very difficult to write out of because the basic feeling that goes with admiration is a passive contemplative mood.
Cancer patients are lied to, not just because the disease is (or is thought to be) a death sentence, but because it is felt to be obscene -- in the original meaning of that word: ill-omened, abominable, repugnant to the senses.
Perversity is the muse of modern literature.
In the valley of sorrow, spread your wings.
Intelligence is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas.
I don’t care about someone being intelligent;
any situation between people, when they are really human with each other, produces ‘intelligence.
I'm only interested in people engaged in a project of self-transformation.
Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.
Tragedy is a vision of nihilism, a heroic or ennobling vision of nihilism.
Authoritarian political ideologies have a vested interest in promoting fear, a sense of the imminence of takeover by aliens and real diseases are useful material.
Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies;
it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution. Poignant longings for beauty, for an end to probing below the surface, for a redemption and celebration of the body of the world. Ultimately, having an experience becomes identical with taking a photograph of it.
The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people's reality, and eventually in one's own.
Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future.
The taste for worst-case scenarios reflects the need to master fear of what is felt to be uncontrollable. It also expresses an imaginative complicity with disaster.
Lying is the most simple form of self-defence.
It hurts to love. It's like giving yourself to be flayed and knowing that at any moment the other person may just walk off with your skin.
Someone who is perennially surprised that depravity exists, who continues to feel disillusioned (even incredulous) when confronted with evidence of what humans are capable of inflicting in the way of gruesome, hands-on cruelties upon other humans, has not reached moral or psychological adulthood.
Photographers are always imposing
Real art has the capacity to make us nervous.
My idea of a writer: someone interested in everything.
Cameras began duplicating the world at that moment when the human landscape started to undergo a vertiginous rate of change: while an untold number of forms of biological and social life are being destroyed in a brief span of time, a device is available to record what is disappearing.
The painter constructs, the photographer discloses.
Mozart, Pascal, Boolean algebra, Shakespeare, parliamentary government, baroque churches, Newton, the emancipation of women, Kant, Balanchine ballets, et al. don’t redeem what this particular civilization has wrought upon the world. The white race is the cancer of human history.
The past itself, as historical change continues to accelerate, has become the most surreal of subjects - making it possible... to see a new beauty in what is vanishing.
To paraphrase several sages: Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time.
To be an artist or a writer is to be this weird thing - a hand worker in an era of mass production.
The white race is the cancer of human history.
Guns have metamorphosed into cameras in this earnest comedy, the ecology safari, because nature has ceased to be what it always had been -- what people needed protection from. Now nature tamed, endangered, mortal -- needs to be protected from people.
It is not the position, but the disposition.
Self-respect. It would make me lovable. And it's the secret to good sex.
Depression is melancholy minus its charms -- the animation, the fits.
Fear of sexuality is the new, disease-sponsored register of the universe of fear in which everyone now lives.
The writer's first job is not to have opinions but to tell the truth.
.. and refuse to be an accomplice of lies and misinformation. Literature is the house of nuance and contrariness against the voices of simplification.
Books are not only the arbitrary sum of our dreams, and our memory.
They also give us the model of self-transcende nce.
The life of the creative man is lead, directed and controlled by boredom.
Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes.
Unfortunately, moral beauty in art -- like physical beauty in a person -- is extremely perishable. It is nowhere so durable as artistic or intellectual beauty. Moral beauty has a tendency to decay very rapidly into sententiousness or untimeliness.
The ideology of capitalism makes us all into connoisseurs of liberty -- of the indefinite expansion of possibility.