John Berger
Quotations


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 and not by a but.

I canít tell you what art does and how it does it, but I know that often art has judged the judges, pleaded revenge to the innocent and shown to the future what the past suffered, so that it has never been forgotten. . . . Art, when it functions like this, becomes a meeting-place of the invisible, the irreducible, the enduring, guts, and honour.

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

Is boredom anything less than the sense of oneís faculties slowly dying?

Nothing fortuitous happens in a childís world. There are no accidents. Everything is connected with everything else and everything can be explained by everything else. . . . For a young child everything that happens is a necessity.

What is saved in the cinema when it achieves art is a spontaneous continuity with all mankind. It is not an art of the princes or the bourgeoisie. It is popular and vagrant. In the sky of the cinema people learn what they might have been and discover what belongs to them apart from their single lives.

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.

The envied are like bureaucrats; the more impersonal they are, the greater the illusion (for themselves and for others) of their power.

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

When we suffer anguish we return to early childhood because that is the period in which we first learnt to suffer the experience of total loss. It was more than that. It was the period in which we suffered more total losses than in all the rest of our life put together.

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


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