Susan Sontag quote

"Result of self-consciousness: audience and actor are the same. I live my life as a spectacle for myself, for my own edification. I live my life but I don't live in it. The hoarding instinct in human relations."

Susan Sontag

Born: January 16, 1933

Die: December 28, 2004

Occupation: Writer

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More quotes of Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag

Dissimulation, secretiveness, appear a necessity to the melancholic. He has complex, often veiled relations with others. These feelings of superiority, of inadequacy, of baffled feeling, of not being able...

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Susan Sontag

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...

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Susan Sontag

Each of us carries a room within ourselves, waiting to be furnished and peopled, and if you listen closely, you may need to silence everything in your own room, you can hear the sounds of that other room...

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Susan Sontag

Again: there is nothing inherently superior about resistance. All our claims for the righteousness of resistance rest on the rightness of the claim that the resisters are acting in the name of justice....

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Susan Sontag

Enemies are somewhere else, as the fighting is almost always “over there,” with Islamic fundamentalism now replacing Russian and Chinese communism as the implacable, furtive menace. And “terrorist”...

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Susan Sontag

Part of the puzzle, surely, lies in the disconnect between official rhetoric and lived realities. Americans are constantly extolling “traditions”; litanies to family values are at the center of every...

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Susan Sontag

Time exists in order that everything doesn’t happen all at once…and space exists so that it doesn’t all happen to you.

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Susan Sontag

Instead of just recording reality, photographs have become the norm for the way things appear to us, thereby changing the very idea of reality and of realism.

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Susan Sontag

Much of modern art is devoted to lowering the threshold of what is terrible. By getting us used to what, formerly, we could not bear to see or hear, because it was too shocking, painful, or embarrassing,...

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Susan Sontag

Reading usually precedes writing. And the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer.

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Susan Sontag

We are told we must choose - the old or the new. In fact, we must choose both. What is a life if not a series of negotiations between the old and the new?

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Susan Sontag

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...

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Susan Sontag

Love is friendship on fire -- anonymous

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Susan Sontag

Life is a movie; death is a photograph.

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Susan Sontag

I discovered that I am tired of being a person. Not just tired of being the person I was, but any person at all

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Susan Sontag

The photograph is like a quotation, or a maxim or proverb. Each of us mentally stocks hundreds of photographs, subject to instant recall.

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Susan Sontag

Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick.

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Susan Sontag

What pornographic literature does is precisely to drive a wedge between one's existence as a sexual being - while in ordinary life a healthy person is one who prevents such a gap from opening up

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Susan Sontag

10 percent of any population is cruel, no matter what, and 10 percent is merciful, no matter what, and the remaining 80 percent can be moved in either direction.

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Susan Sontag

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...

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Susan Sontag

To travel is to shop.

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Susan Sontag

War-making is one of the few activities that people are not supposed to view realistically; that is, with an eye to expense and practical outcome. In all-out war, expenditure is all-out, unprudent - war...

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Susan Sontag

The shock of photographed atrocities wears off with repeated viewings, just as the surprise and bemusement felt the first time one sees a pornographic movie wear off after one sees a few more.

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Susan Sontag

I must remain always, both in principle + actively, interested in everything. Taking all of knowledge as my province.

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Susan Sontag

I don't write because there's an audience. I write because there is literature.

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Susan Sontag

If literature has engaged me as a project, first as a reader, then as a writer, it is as an extension of my sympathies to other selves, other domains, other dreams, other territories.

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Susan Sontag

The writer is either a practicing recluse or a delinquent, guilt-ridden one--or both. Usually both.

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Susan Sontag

Etymologically, 'patient' means sufferer.

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Susan Sontag

To paraphrase several sages: Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time.

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Susan Sontag

[O]ne person's 'barbarian' is another person's 'just doing what everybody else is doing.

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Susan Sontag

I urge you to be as impudent as you dare. BE BOLD, BE BOLD, BE BOLD.

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Susan Sontag

Art is a form of consciousness.

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Susan Sontag

[T]he visibility of styles is itself a product of historical consciousness. ... The very notion of "style" needs to be approached historically. Awareness of style as a problematic and isolable element...

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Susan Sontag

The only story that seems worth writing is a cry, a shot, a scream. A story should break the reader's heart.

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Susan Sontag

My idea of a writer: someone interested in everything.

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Susan Sontag

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,...

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Susan Sontag

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...

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Susan Sontag

Why wouldn't you write to escape yourself as much as you might write to express yourself? It's far more interesting to write about others.

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Susan Sontag

I don't write easily or rapidly. My first draft usually has only a few elements worth keeping. I have to find what those are and build from them and throw out what doesn't work, or what simply is not alive.

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Susan Sontag

The solution to a problem - a story that you are unable to finish - is the problem. It isn't as if the problem is one thing and the solution something else. The problem, properly understood = the solution....

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Susan Sontag

I am profoundly uncertain how to write. I know what I love and what I like, because it's a direct passionate response. But when I write, I'm very uncertain whether it's good enough. That is, of course,...

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Susan Sontag

A good book is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility what human nature is of what happens in the world. It's a creator of inwardness.

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Susan Sontag

Art is seduction, not rape.

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Susan Sontag

The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes....

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Susan Sontag

A good book is an education of the heart.

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Susan Sontag

To be an artist or a writer is to be this weird thing - a hand worker in an era of mass production.

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Susan Sontag

The two ideas are antithetical. Insofar as photography is (or should be) about the world, the photographer counts for little, but insofar as it is the instrument of intrepid, questioning subjectivity,...

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Susan Sontag

In photographing dwarfs, you don't get majesty and beauty. You get dwarfs.

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Susan Sontag

...to photograph is to frame, and to frame is to exclude.

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Susan Sontag

A photograph is not only an image (as a painting is an image), an interpretation of the real; it is also a trace, something directly stenciled off the real, like a footprint or a death mask.

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Susan Sontag

While a painting, even one that meets photographic standards of resemblance, is never more than the stating of an interpretation, a photograph is never less than the registering of an emanation (light...

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Susan Sontag

Photographs are perhaps the most mysterious of all the objects that make up, and thicken, the environment we recognize as modern. Photographs really are experience captured, and the camera is the ideal...

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Susan Sontag

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...

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Susan Sontag

To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed. It means putting oneself into a certain relation to the world that feels like knowledge-and therefore, like power.

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Susan Sontag

Photographs objectify: they turn an event or a person into something that can be possessed.

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Susan Sontag

Although photography generates works that can be called art-it requires subjectivity, it can lie, it gives aesthetic pleasure-photography is not, to begin with, an art form at all. Like language, it is...

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Susan Sontag

In contrast to the written account-which, depending on its complexity of thought, reference, and vocabulary, is pitched at a larger or smaller readership-a photograph has only one language and is destined...

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Susan Sontag

Photographs trade simultaneously on the prestige of art and the magic of the real.

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Susan Sontag

Ours is a culture based on excess, on overproduction; the result is a steady loss of sharpness in our sensory experience. All the conditions of modern life - its material plenitude, its sheer crowdedness...

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Susan Sontag

I do not think white America is committed to granting equality to the American Negro... this is a passionately racist country; it will continue to be so in the foreseeable future.

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Susan Sontag

Today is such a time, when the project of interpretation is largely reactionary, stifling. Like the fumes of the automobile and of heavy industry which befoul the urban atmosphere, the effusion of interpretations...

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Susan Sontag

What pornography is really about, ultimately, isn't sex but death.

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Susan Sontag

Religion is probably, after sex, the second oldest resource which human beings have available to them for blowing their minds.

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Susan Sontag

Fear of sexuality is the new, disease-sponsored register of the universe of fear in which everyone now lives.

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Susan Sontag

Tamed as it may be, sexuality remains one of the demonic forces in human consciousness - pushing us at intervals close to taboo and dangerous desires, which range from the impulse to commit sudden arbitrary...

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Susan Sontag

Rules of taste enforce structures of power.

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Susan Sontag

Writing is a mysterious activity.

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Susan Sontag

If I thought that what I'm doing when I write is expressing myself, I'd junk the typewriter. Writing is a much more complicated activity that that.

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Susan Sontag

To the militant, identity is everything.

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Susan Sontag

Chris Marker has a brilliant mind and heart and appetite for life, and it's a privilege to travel with him to whatever he chooses to remember and to evoke. He is one of cinema's all time greats - the most...

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Susan Sontag

Photographs shock insofar as they show something novel.

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Susan Sontag

Photographs are a way of imprisoning reality...One can't possess reality, one can possess images--one can't possess the present but one can possess the past.

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Susan Sontag

It's hard not to be afraid. Be less afraid.

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Susan Sontag

Photographs may be more memorable than moving images, because they are a neat slice of time, not a flow. Each still photograph is a privileged moment turned into a slim object that one can keep and look...

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Susan Sontag

I envy paranoids; they actually feel people are paying attention to them.

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Susan Sontag

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.

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Susan Sontag

Intelligence is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas.

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Susan Sontag

The life of the creative man is lead, directed and controlled by boredom. Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes.

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Susan Sontag

What is the most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.

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Susan Sontag

Sanity is a cozy lie.

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Susan Sontag

Silence remains, inescapably, a form of speech.

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Susan Sontag

The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people's reality, and eventually in one's own.

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Susan Sontag

Any critic is entitled to wrong judgments, of course. But certain lapses of judgment indicate the radical failure of an entire sensibility.

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Susan Sontag

The truth is balance. However the opposite of truth, which is unbalance, may not be a lie.

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Susan Sontag

Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs.

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Susan Sontag

A family's photograph album is generally about the extended family and, often, is all that remains of it.

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Susan Sontag

Depression is melancholy minus its charms - the animation, the fits.

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Susan Sontag

The only interesting answers are those that destroy the questions.

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Susan Sontag

As photographs give people an imaginary possession of a past that is unreal, they also help people to take possession of space in which they are insecure.

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Susan Sontag

I was not looking for my dreams to interpret my life, but rather for my life to interpret my dreams.

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Susan Sontag

What we need is to use what we have.

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Susan Sontag

Books are funny little portable pieces of thought.

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Susan Sontag

Interpretation is the revenge of the intellectual upon art.

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Susan Sontag

Although none of the rules for becoming more alive is valid, it is healthy to keep on formulating them.

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Susan Sontag

It is not the position, but the disposition.

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Susan Sontag

Lying is the most simple form of self-defence.

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Susan Sontag

In America, the photographer is not simply the person who records the past, but the one who invents it.

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Susan Sontag

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.

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Susan Sontag

'Camp' is a vision of the world in terms of style - but a particular style. It is the love of the exaggerated.

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Susan Sontag

Life is not significant details, illuminated by a flash, fixed forever. Photographs are.

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Susan Sontag

Lying is an elementary means of self-defense.

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Susan Sontag

Victims suggest innocence. And innocence, by the inexorable logic that governs all relational terms, suggests guilt.

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Susan Sontag

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...

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Susan Sontag

Ambition, if it feeds at all, does so on the ambition of others.

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Susan Sontag

Most people in this society who aren't actively mad are, at best, reformed or potential lunatics.

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Susan Sontag

Science fiction films are not about science. They are about disaster, which is one of the oldest subjects of art.

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Susan Sontag

The painter constructs, the photographer discloses.

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Susan Sontag

The truth is always something that is told, not something that is known. If there were no speaking or writing, there would be no truth about anything. There would only be what is.

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Susan Sontag

A fiction about soft or easy deaths is part of the mythology of most diseases that are not considered shameful or demeaning.

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Susan Sontag

AIDS obliges people to think of sex as having, possibly, the direst consequences: suicide. Or murder.

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Susan Sontag

Any important disease whose causality is murky, and for which treatment is ineffectual, tends to be awash in significance.

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Susan Sontag

Anything in history or nature that can be described as changing steadily can be seen as heading toward catastrophe.

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Susan Sontag

Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future.

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Susan Sontag

In the final analysis, style is art. And art is nothing more or less than various modes of stylized, dehumanized representation.

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Susan Sontag

It is not altogether wrong to say that there is no such thing as a bad photograph - only less interesting, less relevant, less mysterious ones.

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Susan Sontag

Mallarme said that everything in the world exists in order to end in a book. Today everything exists to end in a photograph.

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Susan Sontag

So successful has been the camera's role in beautifying the world that photographs, rather than the world, have become the standard of the beautiful.

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Susan Sontag

Societies need to have one illness which becomes identified with evil, and attaches blame to its victims.

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Susan Sontag

Surrealism is a bourgeois disaffection; that its militants thought it universal is only one of the signs that it is typically bourgeois.

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Susan Sontag

The ideology of capitalism makes us all into connoisseurs of liberty - of the indefinite expansion of possibility.

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Susan Sontag

The love of the famous, like all strong passions, is quite abstract. Its intensity can be measured mathematically, and it is independent of persons.

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Susan Sontag

To photograph is to confer importance.

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Susan Sontag

Volume depends precisely on the writer's having been able to sit in a room every day, year after year, alone.

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Susan Sontag

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.

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Susan Sontag

I don't want to express alienation. It isn't what I feel. I'm interested in various kinds of passionate engagement. All my work says be serious, be passionate, wake up.

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Susan Sontag

Making social comment is an artificial place for an artist to start from. If an artist is touched by some social condition, what the artist creates will reflect that, but you can't force it.

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Susan Sontag

The aim of all commentary on art now should be to make works of art - and, by analogy, our own experience - more, rather than less, real to us. The function of criticism should be to show how it is what...

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Susan Sontag

A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world.

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Susan Sontag

To read was precisely to enter another world, which was not the reader's own, and come back refreshed, ready to bear with equanimity the injustices and frustrations of this one. Reading was balm, amusement...

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Susan Sontag

To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have...

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Susan Sontag

Our appreciations, it was felt, could be so much more inclusive if we said that something, instead of being beautiful, was 'interesting'.

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Susan Sontag

As objects of contemplation, images of the atrocious can answer to several different needs. To steel oneself against weakness. To make oneself more numb. To acknowledge the existence of the incorrigible.

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Susan Sontag

People don't become inured to what they are shown - if that's the right way to describe what happens - because of the quantity of images dumped on them. It is passivity that dulls feeling. The states described...

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Susan Sontag

Perversity is the muse of modern literature.

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Susan Sontag

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...

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Susan Sontag

Real art has the capacity to make us nervous.

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Susan Sontag

Writing is a little door. Some fantasies, like big pieces of furniture, won’t come through.

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Susan Sontag

A large part of the popularity and persuasiveness of psychology comes from its being a sublimated spiritualism: a secular, ostensibly scientific way of affirming the primacy of spirit over matter.

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Susan Sontag

Like the effects of industrial pollution and the new system of global financial markets, the AIDS crisis is evidence of a world in which nothing important is regional, local, limited; in which everything...

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Susan Sontag

Wherever people feel safe (...) they will be indifferent.

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Susan Sontag

A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing.

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Susan Sontag

In good films, there is always a directness that entirely frees us from the itch to interpret.

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Susan Sontag

The quality of American life is an insult to the possibilities of human growth... the pollution of American space, with gadgetry and cars and TV and box architecture, brutalizes the senses, making gray...

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Susan Sontag

That even an apocalypse can be made to seem part of the ordinary horizon of expectation constitutes an unparalleled violence that is being done to our sense of reality, to our humanity.

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Susan Sontag

I don’t care about someone being intelligent; any situation between people, when they are really human with each other, produces ‘intelligence.

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Susan Sontag

Fewer and fewer Americans possess objects that have a patina, old furniture, grandparents pots and pans - the used things, warm with generations of human touch, essential to a human landscape. Instead,...

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Susan Sontag

There is a great deal that either has to be given up or be taken away from you if you are going to succeed in writing a body of work.

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Susan Sontag

A great writer has all 4 - but you can still be a good writer with only 1 and 2.

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Susan Sontag

It is the nature of aphoristic thinking to be always in a state of concluding; a bid to have the final word is inherent in all powerful phrase-making.

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Susan Sontag

To make your life being a writer, it's an auto-slavery ... you are both the slave and the task-master.

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Susan Sontag

One set of messages of the society we live in is: Consume. Grow. Do what you want. Amuse yourselves. The very working of this economic system, which has bestowed these unprecedented liberties, most...

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Susan Sontag

It is not suffering as such that is most deeply feared but suffering that degrades.

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Susan Sontag

Time eventually positions most photographs, even the most amateurish, at the level of art.

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Susan Sontag

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,...

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Susan Sontag

Nature in America has always been suspect, on the defensive, cannibalized by progress. In America, every specimen becomes a relic.

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Susan Sontag

It is passivity that dulls feeling.

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Susan Sontag

To us, the difference between the #‎ photographer as an individual eye and the photographer as an objective recorder seems fundamental, the difference often regarded, mistakenly, as separating photography...

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Susan Sontag

The becoming of man is the history of the exhaustion of his possibilities.

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Susan Sontag

What I really wanted was every kind of life, and the writer’s life seemed the most inclusive.

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Susan Sontag

...to be a poet, requires a mythology of the self. The self described is the poet self, to which the daily self (and others) are often ruthlessly sacrificed. The poet self is the real self, the other one...

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Susan Sontag

Gide and I have attained such perfect intellectual communion that I experience the appropriate labor pains for every thought he gives birth to!

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Susan Sontag

What, I ask, drives me to disorder? How can I diagnose myself? All I feel, most immediately, is the most anguished need for physical love and mental companionship -

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Susan Sontag

The really important thing is not to reject anything.

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Susan Sontag

I have always been full of lust - as I am now - but I have always been placing conceptual obstacles in my own path.

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Susan Sontag

It's so effortless to let my loneliness defeat me, make me mold myself to whatever would (in some way - but not wholly) relieve it. I must never forget it... I want sensuality and sensitivity, both......

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Susan Sontag

Passion paralyzes good taste.

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Susan Sontag

One can know worlds one has not experienced, choose a response to life that has never been offered, create an inwardness utterly strong and fruitful.

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Susan Sontag

Whoever invented marriage was an ingenious tormentor. It is an institution committed to the dulling of the feelings. The whole point of marriage is repetition. The best it aims for is the creation of strong,...

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Susan Sontag

She felt herself needing more and more sleep. When she awoke in the morning, she thought of when she might lie down again - and when she would sleep. She started going to the movies.

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Susan Sontag

My emotional life: dialectic between craving for privacy and need to submerge myself in a passionate relationship to another.

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Susan Sontag

Instead of expecting all and being lowered into despair each time I get less, I expect nothing now and, occasionally, I get a little, and am more than a little happy.

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Susan Sontag

Marriage is a sort of tacit hunting in couples. The world all in couples, each couple in its own little house, watching its own little interests and stewing in its own little privacy - it's the most repulsive...

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Susan Sontag

My ignorance is not charming.

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Susan Sontag

In NY sensuality completely turns into sexuality - no objects for the senses to respond to, no beautiful river, houses, people. Awful smells of the street, and dirt... Nothing except eating, if that, and...

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Susan Sontag

Result of self-consciousness: audience and actor are the same. I live my life as a spectacle for myself, for my own edification. I live my life but I don't live in it. The hoarding instinct in human relations.

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Susan Sontag

I want to be able to be alone, to find it nourishing - not just a waiting.

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Susan Sontag

Conventions vs. spontaneity. This is a dialectical choice, it depends on the assessment you make of your own times. If you judge that your own time is ridden with empty insincere formalities, you plump...

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Susan Sontag

The fear of becoming old is born of the recognition that one is not living now the life that one wishes.

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Susan Sontag

The writer must be four people: 1) The nut, the obsede 2) The moron 3) The stylist 4) The critic. 1 supplies the material; 2 lets it come out; 3 is taste; 4 is intelligence.

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Susan Sontag

Kindness, kindness, kindness. I want to make a New Year's prayer, not a resolution. I'm praying for courage.

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Susan Sontag

In ‘life,’ I don’t want to be reduced to my work. In ‘work,’ I don’t want to be reduced to my life.

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Susan Sontag

Books are not only the arbitrary sum of our dreams, and our memory. They also give us the model of self-transcende nce.

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Susan Sontag

Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art. Even more. It is the revenge of the intellect upon the world. To interpret is to impoverish, to deplete the world -- in order to set up a shadow...

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Susan Sontag

Taste has no system and no proofs.

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Susan Sontag

The discovery of the good taste of bad taste can be very liberating. The man who insists on high and serious pleasures is depriving himself of pleasure; he continually restricts what he can enjoy; in...

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Susan Sontag

Art is not consciousness per se, but rather its antidote- evolved from within consciousness itself.

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Susan Sontag

The hard truth is that what may be acceptable in elite culture may not be acceptable in mass culture, that tastes which pose only innocent ethical issues as the property of a minority become corrupting...

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Susan Sontag

Growing older is mainly an ordeal of the imagination-a moral disease, a social pathology...

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Susan Sontag

Most men experience getting older with regret, apprehension. But most women experience it even more painfully: with shame. Aging is a man's destiny, something that must happen because he is a human...

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Susan Sontag

Remember when you hear yourself saying one day that you don't have time anymore to read or listen to music or look at paintings or go to the movies or do whatever feeds your head now. Then you're getting...

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Susan Sontag

Compassion is an unstable emotion. It needs to be translated into action, or it withers. The question of what to do with the feelings that have been aroused, the knowledge that has been communicated. If...

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Susan Sontag

Death is unbearable unless you can get beyond the I.

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Susan Sontag

Never worry about being obsessive. I like obsessive people. Obsessive people make great art

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Susan Sontag

Mad people = People who stand alone and burn. I'm attracted to them because they give me permission to do the same.

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Susan Sontag

To suffer is one thing; another thing is living with the photographed images of suffering, which does not necessarily strengthen conscience and the ability to be compassionate. It can also corrupt them....

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Susan Sontag

Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted. Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is...

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Susan Sontag

In the valley of sorrow, spread your wings.

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Susan Sontag

It is a nostalgic time right now, and photographs actively promote nostalgia. Photography is an elegiac art, a twilight art. Most subjects photographed are, just by virtue of being photographed, touched...

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Susan Sontag

I want to live as long as possible, just to see how stupid it gets.

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Susan Sontag

Today everything exists to end in a photograph.

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Susan Sontag

Any sensibility which can be crammed into the mold of a system, or handled with the rough tools of proof, is no longer sensibility at all. It has hardened into an idea.

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Susan Sontag

Using a camera appeases the anxiety which the work-driven feel about not working when they are on vacation and supposed to be having fun. They have something to do that is like a friendly imitation of...

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Susan Sontag

Most of my reading is rereading.

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Susan Sontag

My urge to write is an urge not to self-expressionism but to self-transcendence. My work is both bigger and smaller than I am.

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Susan Sontag

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...

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Susan Sontag

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.

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Susan Sontag

My library is an archive of longings.

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Susan Sontag

One cannot use the life to interpret the work. But One can use the work to interpret the life.

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Susan Sontag

Love words, agonize over sentences. And pay attention to the world.

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Susan Sontag

The photographer's intentions do not determine the meaning of a photograph, which will have its own career, blown by the whims and loyalties of the diverse communities that have use for it.

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Susan Sontag

No 'we' should be taken for granted when the subject is looking at other people's pain.

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Susan Sontag

AIDS occupies such a large part in our awareness because of what it has been taken to represent. It seems the very model of all the catastrophes privileged populations feel await them.

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Susan Sontag

Finally, the most grandiose result of the photographic enterprise is to give us the sense that we can hold the whole world in our heads – as an anthology of images. To collect photographs is to collect...

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Susan Sontag

Photographed images do not seem to be statements about the world so much as pieces of it, miniatures of reality that anyone can make or acquire

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Susan Sontag

But when we are nostalgic, we take pictures

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Susan Sontag

A photograph passes for incontrovertible proof that a given thing happened. The picture may distort; but there is always a presumption that something exists, or did exist, which is like what’s in the...

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Susan Sontag

Although there is a sense in which the camera does indeed capture reality, not just interpret it, photographs are as much an interpretation of the world as paintings and drawings are

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Susan Sontag

Any photograph has multiple meanings: indeed, to see something in the form of a photograph is to encounter a potential object of fascination. The ultimate wisdom of the photographic image is to say: “There...

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Susan Sontag

Photography is, first of all, a way of seeing.

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Susan Sontag

Photographers are always imposing

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Susan Sontag

Art is not only about something; it is something. A work of art is a thing in the world, not just a text or commentary on the world.

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Susan Sontag

To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed....

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Susan Sontag

I'm only interested in people engaged in a project of self-transformation.

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Susan Sontag

Literature can train, and exercise, our ability to weep for those who are not us or ours.

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Susan Sontag

To me, literature is a calling, even a kind of salvation. It connects me with an enterprise that is over 2,000 years old. What do we have from the past? Art and thought. That’s what lasts. That’s what...

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Susan Sontag

One criticizes in others what one recognizes and despises in oneself. For example, an artist who is revolted by another’s ambitiousness.

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Susan Sontag

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....

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Susan Sontag

I like to feel dumb. That’s how I know there’s more in the world than me.

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Susan Sontag

Nothing is mysterious, no human relation. Except love.

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Susan Sontag

One can never ask anyone to change a feeling.

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Susan Sontag

Can I love someone...and still think/fly? Love is flying, sown, floating. Thought is solitary flight, beating wings.

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Susan Sontag

All great art contains at its center contemplation, a dynamic contemplation.

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Susan Sontag

The only interesting ideas are heresies

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Susan Sontag

...what I write is smarter than I am. Because I can rewrite it.

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Susan Sontag

Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration's shove or society's kiss on your forehead.

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Susan Sontag

Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.

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Susan Sontag

Read a lot. Expect something big, something exalting or deepening from a book. No book is worth reading that isn't worth re-reading.

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Susan Sontag

Try not to live in a linguistic slum.

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Susan Sontag

It's a pleasure to share one's memories. Everything remembered is dear, endearing, touching, precious. At least the past is safe though we didn't know it at the time. We know it now. Because it's in the...

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Susan Sontag

I perceive value, I confer value, I create value, I even create — or guarantee — existence. Hence, my compulsion to make “lists.” The things (Beethoven’s music, movies, business firms) won’t...

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Susan Sontag

The likelihood that your acts of resistance cannot stop the injustice does not exempt you from acting in what you sincerely and reflectively hold to be the best interests of your community.

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Susan Sontag

All struggle, all resistance is -- must be -- concrete. And all struggle has a global resonance. If not here, then there. If not now, then soon. Elsewhere as well as here.

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Susan Sontag

Literature was the passport to enter a larger life; that is, the zone of freedom. Literature was freedom. Especially in a time in which the values of reading and inwardness are so strenuously challenged,...

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Susan Sontag

I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list.

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Susan Sontag

Along with people who pretty themselves for the camera, the unattractive and the disaffected have been assigned their beauty.

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Susan Sontag

The camera can be lenient; it is can also expert at being cruel. But its cruelty only produces another kind of beauty, according to the surrealist preferences which rule photographic taste.

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Susan Sontag

Because each photograph is only a fragment, its moral and emotional weight depends on where it is inserted. A photograph changes according to the context in which it is seen: thus Smith's Minamata photographs...

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Susan Sontag

Knowing a great deal about what is in the world art, catastrophe, the beauties of nature through photographic images, people are frequently disappointed, surprised, unmoved when the see the real thing....

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Susan Sontag

Photographs furnish evidence. Something we hear about, but doubt, seems proven when we're shown a photograph of it.

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Susan Sontag

As industrialization provided social uses for the operations of the photographer, so the reaction against these uses reinforced the self-consciousness of photography-as-art.

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Susan Sontag

Like the collector, the photographer is animated by a passion that, even when it appears to be for the present, is linked to a sense of the past.

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Susan Sontag

The work of art itself is . . . a vibrant, magical, and exemplary object which returns us to the world in some way more open and enriched.

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Susan Sontag

Desire has no history...

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Susan Sontag

Result of self-consciousness: audience and actor are the same. I live my life as a spectacle for myself, for my own edification. I live my life but I don't live in it. The hoarding instinct in human relations.

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Anton Szandor LaVey

I dont crave companionship. It stands in my way. I live for pleasure. There are few persons who can give me as much pleasure as those acts I perform myself. I would rather create pleasure according to...

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Lily Cole

I don't think of myself as a role model for others, but I like to live my life by my own integrity. So, in that sense, I might be a positive influence. I do believe you should get over your insecurities...

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William Shakespeare

I cannot tell what you and other men Think of this life; but, for my single self, I had as lief not be as live to be In awe of such a thing as I myself.

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Stanley Clarke

I live a different way today. I have a family, and they are a priority for me. These days, I no longer wake up in the morning and worry if my bass is tuned properly and practice for hours and hours on...

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David Levithan

healthy, adj. There are times when I'm alone that I think, This is it. This is actually the natural state. All I need are my thoughts and my small acts of creation and my ability to go or do whatever I...

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George Muller

My business is, with all my might to serve my own generation; in doing so I shall best serve the next generation, should the Lord Jesus tarry... The longer I live, the more I am enabled to realize that...

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Tite Kubo

I had a lot of things I wanted to do… I want to be a teacher…I also want to be an astronaut…and also make my own cake shop…I want to go to the sweets bakery and say “I want one of everything”,...

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Venus Williams

I believe I live in a black and white. I think things are like either black or white. I don't really believe that much in the gray. I think that there's gray for a lot of people, but I don't live in the...

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Kirsten Dunst

I don't live in the spotlight, and I don't live my life in front of the paparazzi. I live very comfortably and quietly as possible.

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J. I. Packer

Do I as a Christian understand myself? Do I know my own real identity? My own real destiny? I am a child of God, God is my Father; heaven is my home; every day is one day nearer. My Saviour is my brother;...

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Dean Cain

I just live and let live and live my life pretty much according to the Golden Rule. And it turns out well for me.

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Ashton Kutcher

I've already exceeded my expectations for myself. I'm one of the most influential people! I mean come on! I wanted to be... I never thought the things I've experienced in my life, I didn't think that was...

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Parker J. Palmer

Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about-quite apart from what I would like it to be about-or my life will...

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Bertrand Russell

The world in which we live can be understood as a result of muddle and accident; but if it is the outcome of deliberate purpose, the purpose must have been that of a fiend. For my part, I find accident...

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J. Michael Straczynski

If I feel that I'm not able to do my best work - whether that's my own fault or as a result of an editorial situation - then I need to stop doing it. I would rather not do something than do it badly or...

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Neil Peart

I can worship Nature, and that fulfills my need for miracles and beauty. Art gives a spiritual depth to existence -- I can find worlds bigger and deeper than my own in music, paintings, and books. And...

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Rainer Maria Rilke

I live my life in widening circle That reach out across the world. I may not ever complete the last one, But I give myself to it. I circle around God, that primordial tower. I have been circling for thousands...

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Henry David Thoreau

There are old heads in the world who cannot help me by their example or advice to live worthily and satisfactorily to myself; but I believe that it is in my power to elevate myself this very hour above...

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Michelangelo

I live in sin, to kill myself I live; no longer my life my own, but sin's; my good is given to me by heaven, my evil by myself, by my free will, of which I am deprived.

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Johnny Carson

I couldn't care less what anybody says about me. I live my life, especially my personal life, strictly for myself.... Whatever you do, you're going to be criticized. I feel the one sensible thing you can...

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“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

― Dr. Seuss