Total experiences, of which there are many kinds, tend again and again to be apprehended only as revivals or translations of the religious imagination. To try to make a fresh way of talking at the most serious, ardent, and enthusiastic level, heading off the religious encapsulation, is one of the primary intellectual tasks of future thought.
One task of literature is to formulate questions and construct counterstatements to the reigning pieties. And even when art is not oppositional, the arts gravitate toward contrariness. Literature is dialogue: responsiveness. Literature might be described as the history of human responsiveness to what is alive and what is moribund as cultures evolve and interact with one another.
Cinema is a kind of pan-art. It can use, incorporate, engulf virtually any other art: the novel, poetry, theater, painting, sculpture, dance, music, architecture. Unlike opera, which is a (virtually) frozen art form, the cinema is and has been a fruitfully conservative medium of ideas and styles of emotions.
I write in spurts. I write when I have to because the pressure builds up and I feel enough confidence that something has matured in my head and I can write it down. But once something is really under way, I don't want to do anything else. I don't go out, much of the time I forget to eat, I sleep very little. It's a very undisciplined way of working and makes me not very prolific. But I'm too interested in many other things.
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.
Time may enhance what seems simply dogged or lacking in fantasy now because we are too close to it, because it resembles too closely our own everyday fantasies, the fantastic nature of which we don't perceive. We are better able to enjoy a fantasy as a fantasy when it is not our own.
It's not 'natural' to speak well, eloquently, in an interesting, articulate way. People living in groups, families, communes say little - have few verbal means. Eloquence - thinking in words - is a byproduct of solitude, deracination, a heightened painful individuality. In groups, it's more natural to sing, to dance, to pray: given, rather than invented (individual) speech.
The need for truth is not constant; no more than is the need for repose. An idea which is a distortion may have a greater intellectual thrust than the truth; it may better serve the needs of the spirit, which vary. The truth is balance, but the opposite of truth, which is unbalance, may not be a lie.
War is a culture, bellicosity is addictive, defeat for a community that imagines itself to be history's eternal victim can be as intoxicating as victory. How long will it take for the Serbs to realize that the Milosevic years have been an unmitigated disaster for Serbia, the net result of Milosevic's policies being the economic and cultural ruin of the entire region, including Serbia, for several generations? Alas, one thing we can be sure of, that will not happen soon.
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 that can circulate does, and every problem is, or is destined to become, worldwide.
Images anesthetize. An event known through photographs certainly becomes more real than it would have been if one had never seen the photographs ... But after repeated exposure to images it also becomes less real. ... 'concerned' photography has done at least as much to deaden conscience as to arouse it.
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. For photographic images tend to subtract feeling from something we experience at first hand and the feelings they do arouse are, largely, not those we have in real life. Often something disturbs us more in photographed form than it does when we actually experience it.