Best 334 of Rebecca Solnit quotes - MyQuotes

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Rebecca Solnit
By Anonym 19 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

We can act to deal with the consequences of the earthquake and tsunami, but the disaster was only faintly political in the economics and indifference...the relief will be very political, in who gives how much (Bush offering 15 million, then 35 million under pressure, the cost of his inauguration and then 350 million under strong international pressure)...but the event itself transcends politics, the realm of things we cause and can work to prevent. We cannot wish that human beings were not subject to the forces of nature, including the mortality... we cannot wish for the seas to dry up, that the waves grow still, that the tectonic plates ceast to exist, that nature ceases to be beyond our abilities to predict and control... But the terms of that nature include such catastrophe and suffering, which leaves us with sorrow as not a problem to be solved but a fact. And it leaves us with compassion as the work we will never finish

By Anonym 19 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

We are all the heroes of our own stories, and on of the arts of perspective is to see yourself small on the stage of another's story, to see the vast expanse of the world that is not about you, and to see your power, to make your life, to make others, or break them, to tell stories rather that be told by them.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

The famous Zen parable about the master for whom, before his studies, mountains were only mountains, but during his studies mountains were no longer mountains, and afterward mountains were again mountains could be interpreted as an allegory about [the perpetual paradox that when one is closest to a destination one is also the farthest).

By Anonym 15 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

We are often in two places at once. In fact we are usually in at least two places and occasionally the contrast is evident....Here, most often, is nothing more than the best perspective to contemplate there.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

For me, being in a car or on an airplane is like being in limbo. It's this dead zone between two places. But to walk, you're some place that's already interesting. You're not just between places. Things are happening.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Perhaps the central question about [Eliot] Porter's work is about the relationship between science, aesthetics, and environmental politics. His brother, the painter and critic Fairfield Porter, wrote in a 1960 review of [Porter's] colour photographs: 'There is no subject and background, every corner is alive,' and this suggests what an ecological aesthetic might look like.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

There is so much information that our ability to focus on any piece of it is interrupted by other information, so that we bathe in information but hardly absorb or analyse it. Data are interrupted by other data before we've thought about the first round, and contemplating three streams of data at once may be a way to think about none of them.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

As for me, the grounds of my hope have always been that history is wilder than our imagination of it and that the unexpected shows up far more regularly than we ever dream.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

What is the message that wild animals bring, the message that seems to say everything and nothing? What is this message that is wordless, that is nothing more or less than the animals themselves- that the world is wild, that life is unpredictable in its goodness and its danger, that the world is larger than your imagination.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

In the wildlife sanctuaries of literature, we study the species of speech, the flight patterns of individual words, the herd behavior of words together, and we learn what language does and why it matters. this is excellent training for going out into the world and looking at all the unhallowed speech of political statements and news headlines and CDC instructions and seeing how it makes the word or in this case, makes a mess of it. It is the truest, highest purpose of language to make things clear and help us see; when words are used to do the opposite you know you're in trouble and maybe that there's a cover-up.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Of course women's walking is often construed as performance rather than transport, with the implication that women walk not to see but to be seen, not for their own experience but for that of a male audience, which means that they are asking for whatever attention they receive.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

I was being cured of soldiering on endlessly: my job was now to be still, which had become almost easy at last.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

In great cities, spaces as well as places are designed and built: walking, witnessing, being in public, are as much part of the design and purpose as is being inside to eat, sleep, make shoes or love or music. The word citizen has to do with cities, and the ideal city is organized around citizenship -- around participation in public life.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

...the questions a photographer raises may be more profound than the answers the medium permits.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

I talked about places, about the ways that we often talk about love of place, by which we mean our love for places, but seldom of how the places love us back, of what they give us. They give us continuity, something to return to, and offer a familiarity that allows some portion of our lives to remain connected and coherent... And distant places give us refuge in territories where our own histories aren't so deeply entrenched and we can imagine other stories, other selves, or just drink up quiet and respite.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Given a choice between their worldview and the facts, it's always interesting how many people toss the facts.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

In a sense the car has become a prosthetic, and though prosthetics are usually for injured or missing limbs, the auto-prosthetic is for a conceptually impaired body or a body impaired by the creation of a world that is no longer human in scale.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth's treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal. To hope is to give yourself to the future - and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

For me, before I learned how to read I was really interested in story and in landscape and nature. I decided to become a writer almost as soon as I learned to read.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Everywhere people are at work to build a better world in which we - and some of the beauty of this world - will be guaranteed to survive. Everywhere they are at war with the forces threatening us and the planet.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

[On the] question of why we might want to look at images even more than the real thing: I think there is some quality when you look at an image of, not only seeing this thing, whether it's the horse or the sky, but you are seeing somebody point at it and say, Look!

By Anonym 18 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

The art is not one of forgetting but letting go

By Anonym 14 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

The great majority of people are calm, resourceful, altruistic or even beyond altruistic, as they risk themselves for others. We improvise the conditions of survival beautifully.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

How do you even speak of, let alone propose regulation of, [any] category [so] full of internal contradictions? . . . Maybe, like so many other things, it is a language problem.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

This paying attention is the foundational act of empathy, of listening, of seeing, of imagining experiences other than one's own, of getting out of the boundaries of one's own experience. There's a currently popular argument that books help us feel empathy, but if they do so they do it by helping us imagine that we are people we are not. Or to go deeper within ourselves, to be more aware of what it means to be heartbroken, or ill, or six, or ninety-six, or completely lost. Not just versions of our self rendered awesome and eternally justified and always right, living in a world in which other people only exist to help reinforce our magnificence, though those kinds of books and movies exist in abundance to cater to the male imagination. Which is a reminder that literature and art can also help us fail at empathy if it sequesters us in the Big Old Fortress of Magnificent Me.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Nearly every book has the same architecture--cover, spine, pages--but you open them onto worlds and gifts far beyond what paper and ink are, and on the inside they are every shape and power. Some books are toolkits you take up to fix things, from the most practical to the mostmysterious, from your house to your heart, or to make things, from cakes to ships. Some books are wings. Some are horses that run away with you. Some are parties to which you are invited, full of friends who are there even when you have no friends. In some books you meet one remarkable person; in others a whole group or even a culture. Some books are medicine, bitter but clarifying. Some books are puzzles, mazes, tangles, jungles. Some long books are journeys, and at the end you are not the same person you were at the beginning. Some are handheld lights you can shine on almost anything.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Hope is not like a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky.... hope is an ax you break down doors with in an emergency.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Feminism has both undone the hierarchy in which the elements aligned with the masculine were given greater value than those of the feminine and undermined the metaphors that aligned these broad aspects of experience with gender. So, there goes women and nature. What does it leave us with? One thing is a political mandate to decentralize privilege and power and equalize access, and that can be a literal spatial goal too, the goal of our designed landscapes and even the managed ones -- the national parks, forests, refuges, recreation areas, and so on.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

That made clear to me the continuum that stretches from minor social minor to violent silencing and violent death (and I think we would understand misogyny and violence against women even better if we looked at the abuse of power as a whole rather than treating domestic violence separately from rape and murder and harrassment and intimidation, online at home and in the workplace and in the streets; seen together, the pattern is clear). Having the right to show up and speak are basic to survival, to dignity, and to liberty.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Earlier 18th-century literary language was not supple enough to connect the life of the imagination to that of the street.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Nothing is ever so good that it can’t stand a little revision, and nothing is ever so impossible and broken down that a try at fixing it is out of the question.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

The task of calling things by their true names, of telling the truth to the best of our abilities, of knowing how we got here, of listening particularly to those who have been silenced in the past, of seeing how the myriad stories fit together and break apart, of using any privilege we may have been handed to undo privilege or expand its scope is each of our tasks. It's how we make the world.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Musing takes place in a kind of meadowlands of the imagination, a part of the imagination that has not yet been plowed, developed, or put to any immediately practical use…time spent there is not work time, yet without that time the mind becomes sterile, dull, domesticated. The fight for free space — for wilderness and public space — must be accompanied by a fight for free time to spend wandering in that space.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

If sorrow and beauty are all tied up together, then perhaps maturity brings with it not what Nabhan calls abstraction, but an aesthetic sense that partially redeems the losses time brings and finds beauty in the faraway.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Revolution is as unpredictable as an earthquake and as beautiful as spring. Its coming is always a surprise, but its nature should not be.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Books are solitudes in which we meet.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

We treat desire as a problem to be solved, address what desire is for and focus on that something and how to acquire it rather than on the nature and the sensation of desire, though often it is the distance between us and the object of desire that fills in the space in between with the blue of longing. I wonder sometimes whether with a slight adjustment of perspective it could be cherished as a sensation in its own terms, since it is as inherent to the human condition as blue is to distance?

By Anonym 15 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

The oil dinosaurs want to win so badly in my home state because what happens here matters everywhere. The nation often follows where California goes.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

The battle with Men Who Explain Things has trampled down many women - of my generation, of the up-and-coming generation we need so badly, here and in Pakistan and Bolivia and Java, not to speak of the countless women who came before me and were not allowed into the laboratory, or the library, or the conversation, or the revolution, or even the category called human.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Everyone talks about green cities now, but the concrete results in affluent cities mostly involve curbside composting and tackling solar panels onto rooftops while residents continue to drive, to stop, to eat organic pears flown in from Argentina, to be part of the big machine of consumption and climate change. The free-range chickens and Priuses are great, but they alone aren't adequate tools for creating a truly different society and ecology. The future, at least the sustainable one, isn't going to be invented by people who are happily surrendering selective bits and pieces of environmentally unsound privilege. It's going to be made by those who had all that taken away from them or never had it in the first place. {...} There is no moral reason why they should do and be better than the rest of us—but there is a practical one. They have to. Detroit is where change is most urgent and therefore most viable.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

... a certain kind of wanderlust can only be assuaged by the acts of the body itself in motion, not the motion of the car, boat, or plane.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Sometimes I get mail for people who lived in my home before I did, and sometimes my own body seems like a home through which successive people have passed like tenants, leaving behind memories, habits, scars, skills, and other souvenirs.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Getting lost was not a matter of geography so much as identity, a passionate desire, even an urgent need, to become no one and anyone, to shake off the shackles that remind you who you are, who others think you are.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

A precursor to the Social Darwinists, Hobbes argued from th premise that the primordial human condition was a war fought by each against each, so brutal and incesssant that it was impossible to develop industry or even agriculture or the arts while that condition persisted. It's this description that culmintes in his famous epithet "And the life of man, solitary, poor, brutish, and short." It was a fiction to which he brought to bear another fiction, that of the social contract by which men agree to submit to rules and a presiding authority, surrendering their right to ravage each other for the sake of their own safety. The contract was not a bond of affection or identification, bot a culture or religion binding togetehr a civilization, only a convenience. Men, in his view, as in that of many other European writers of the period, are stark, mechanical creatures, windup soldiers social only by strategy and not by nature...

By Anonym 19 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

The sea is a body in a thousand ways that don't add up, because adding is too stable a transaction for that flux, but the waves come in in a roar and then ebb, almost silent but for the faint suck of sand and snap of bubbles, over and over, a heartbeat rhythm, the sea always this body turned inside out and opened to the sky, the body always a sea folded in on itself, a nautical chart folded into a paper cup.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Alone in the car with my social life all before and behind me, I was suspended in the beautiful solitude of the open road, in a kind of introspection that only outdoor space generates, for inside and outside are more intertwined than the usual distinctions allow. The emotion stirred by the landscape is piercing, a joy close to pain when the blue is deepest on the horizon or the clouds are doing those spectacular fleeting things so much easier to recall than to describe.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

The sea is a body in a thousand ways that don't add up, because adding is too stable a transaction for that flux, but the waves come in in a roar and then ebb, almost silent but for the fain suck of sand and snap of bubbles, over and over, a heartbeat rhythm, the sea always this body turned inside out and opened to the sky, the body always a sea folded in on itself, a nautical chart folded into a paper cup.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

If the body is the register of the real, then reading with one's feet is real in a way reading with one's eyes alone is not.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

The subject of walking is, in some sense, about how we invest universal acts with particular meanings. Like eating or breathing, it can be invested with wildly different cultural meanings, from the erotic to the spiritual, from the revolutionary to the artistic.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Rebecca Solnit

Bush invited his constituency to be blind to the world's real problems, and leftists often do the opposite, gazing so fixedly at those problems that they cannot see beyond them. Thus it is that the world often seems divided between false hope and gratuitous despair. Despair demands less of us, it's more predictable, and in a sad way safer. Authentic hope requires clarity--seeing the troubles in this world--and imagination, seeing what might lie beyond these situations that are perhaps not inevitable and immutable.