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John Berger Quotes





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A peasant becomes fond of his pig and is glad to salt away its pork. What is significant, and is so difficult for the urban stranger to understand, is that the two statements are connected by an and not by a but.
 

At times failure is very necessary for the artist. It reminds him that failure is not the ultimate disaster. And this reminder liberates him from the mean fussing of perfectionism.
[Perfection]
 

Autobiography begins with a sense of being alone. It is an orphan form.
 

Compassion has no place in the natural order of the world which operates on the basis of necessity. Compassion opposes this order and is therefore best thought of as being in some way supernatural.
 

Emigration, forced or chosen, across national frontiers or from village to metropolis, is the quintessential experience of our time.
 

Glamour cannot exist without personal social envy being a common and widespread emotion.
 

Modern thought has transferred the spectral character of Death to the notion of time itself. Time has become Death triumphant over all.
 

Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is placed on display. The nude is condemned to never being naked. Nudity is a form of dress.
 

Never chain your dogs together with sausages. One must accustom one's self to be bored.
 

Nothing in the nature around us is evil. This needs to be repeated since one of the human ways of talking oneself into inhuman acts is to cite the supposed cruelty of nature.
[Acts]
 

One can say of language that it is potentially the only human home, the only dwelling place that cannot be hostile to man.
 

Ours is the century of enforced travel of disappearances. The century of people helplessly seeing others, who were close to them, disappear over the horizon.
 

Post-modernism has cut off the present from all futures. The daily media add to this by cutting off the past. Which means that critical opinion is often orphaned in the present.
 

Publicity is the life of this culture - in so far as without publicity capitalism could not survive - and at the same time publicity is its dream.
 

That we find a crystal or a poppy beautiful means that we are less alone, that we are more deeply inserted into existence than the course of a single life would lead us to believe.
 

The camera relieves us of the burden of memory. It surveys us like God, and it surveys for us. Yet no other god has been so cynical, for the camera records in order to forget.
 

The human imagination... has great difficulty in living strictly within the confines of a materialist practice or philosophy. It dreams, like a dog in its basket, of hares in the open.
 

The past grows gradually around one, like a placenta for dying.
 

The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich.
 

Unlike any other visual image, a photograph is not a rendering, an imitation or an interpretation of its subject, but actually a trace of it. No painting or drawing, however naturalist, belongs to its subject in the way that a photograph does.
 


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