Günther Grass
Quotations


Art is so wonderfully irrational, exuberantly pointless, but necessary all the same. Pointless and yet necessary, that’s hard for a puritan to understand.

Believing: it means believing in our own lies. And I can say that I am grateful that I got this lesson very early.

Art is uncompromising and life is full of compromises.

Melancholy has ceased to be an individual phenomenon, an exception. It has become the class privilege of the wage earner, a mass state of mind that finds its cause wherever life is governed by production quotas.

We already have the statistics for the future: the growth percentages of pollution, overpopulation, desertification. The future is already in place.

Information networks straddle the world. Nothing remains concealed. But the sheer volume of information dissolves the information. We are unable to take it all in.

The human head is bigger than the globe. It conceives itself as containing more. It can think and rethink itself and ourselves from any desired point outside the gravitational pull of the earth. It starts by writing one thing and later reads itself as something else. The human head is monstrous.

If work and leisure are soon to be subordinated to this one utopian principle -- absolute busyness -- then utopia and melancholy will come to coincide: an age without conflict will dawn, perpetually busy -- and without consciousness.

I shall speak of . . . how melancholy and utopia preclude one another. How they fertilize one another. . . . Of the revulsion that follows one insight and precedes the next. . . . Of superabundance and surfeit. Of stasis in progress. And of myself, for whom melancholy and utopia are heads and tails of the same coin.



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