Category Archives: Quotations

Johanna’s Quotes

1. “She’s not at all submissive or attentive. She just wanted to get close to me, to play, and to make love.”
2. “I love her freeness, even when it hurts.”

Lost Horizon
3. “To be gentle and patient, to care for the riches of the mind, to preside in wisdom and secrecy while the storm rages without — it will all be very pleasantly simple for you, and you will doubtless find great happiness.”
4. “And then, in the midst of the still-encompassing dream, he felt himself master of Shangri–La.”

Domanique’s Quotations

Lord of the Flies: William Golding

1. “Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.”

2. “We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?”

Lost Horizons: James Hilton

1. “Laziness in doing stupid things can be a great virtue”

2. “The will of God or the lunacy of man — it seemed to him that you could take your choice, if you wanted a good enough reason for most things. Or, alternatively (and he thought of it as he contemplated the small orderliness of the cabin against the window background of such frantic natural scenery), the will of man and the lunacy of God. It must be satisfying to be quite certain which way to look at it.”

The Giver: Lois Lowry

1.“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”

2. “…now he saw the familiar wide river beside the path differently. He saw all of the light and color and history it contained and carried in its slow – moving water; and he knew that there was an Elsewhere from which it came, and an Elsewhere to which it was going” 

Ecotopia:Ernest Callenbach

1. “But what matters most is the aspiration to live in balance with nature, “walk lightly on the land,” treat the earth as a mother.”


Kai’s quotes

1) “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms ”

–Walden, by Henry David Thoreau

2) “I know there isn’t no beast — not with claws and all that, I mean– but I know there isn’t no fear, either.”
Piggy Paused.
Ralph moved restlessly.
“Unless what?”
“Unless we get frightened of people”
— Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

3) “If I could put it into a very few words, dear sir, I should say that our prevalent belief is in moderation. We inculcate the virtue of avoiding excesses of all kinds– even including, if you pardon the paradox, excess of virtue itself.

— Lost Horizon, by James Hilton

Phil’s Quotes

Here’s a quote from the introduction to the 1972 Viking Press edition of Yevgeney Zamyatin’s We by translator Mirra Ginsburg. We is one of those works in which understanding the era and location in which it was written is crucial to noticing some of the underlying themes presented by the author, as well as his intentions in writing the story. Zamyatin’s vision of an awesome totalitarian state is a response to the great political and social unrest he witnessed during the Russian Revolution and as a writer who had his works banned by the communist Soviet Party in the early twentieth century. This excerpt is a very powerful description of just how difficult it was for these artists, whom history has immortalized as the great Russian authors of the revolutionary period, to practice their craft. They had little little outside support and their government tried to punish them for their work, but they persevered in order to keep their country’s culture alive.

In Russia, Zamyatin (no longer a Bolshevik) threw himself with tremendous energy into the great cultural and artistic upsurge that followed the revolution. This was a period of fantastic contradictions. Russia lay in ruins after years of war, revolution, and continuing civil strife. Her economic life had all but wholly broken down. Transportation, communication, the food supply, the contact between city and village were in total disarray. Yet in the midst of hunger and cold, a band of dedicated spirits took it upon themselves not only to save the country’s culture but also to present to the hitherto deprived masses the cultural heritage of the entire world… Studios were organized where young writers were taught the elements of their craft by such writers, poets, and translators as Zamyatin, Gumilyov, Lozinsky, Chukovsky, and others. Both teachers and students often had to cross the frozen city on foot and sit, chilled and hungry, in unheated rooms, dressed in old coats, sweaters, mufflers, but  totally absorbed in the brilliant discussions of literature.

The next one is from the entertaining satirist Aristophanes’ Ecclesiazusae. I had previously read his comedy Lysistrata and loved its vulgar humor; it may have been the modern day translation, but I did not expect a Greek playwright to be so crude. The excerpt of Ecclasiazusae in our Utopia Reader is interesting because it’s a commentary on men who speak of their imaginative grand utopias in which everybody may live together happily and all societal issues will be somehow solved. In the text, Praxagora casually and ambiguously shoots down all of Blepyrus’ inquires into how exactly this dream utopia may work and properly function, stubbornly clinging to the notion that his simplistic ideas have the unfailing power to benefit greater society.

Blepyrus. Our clothes, what of them?

Praxagora. You have plenty in store, when these are worn out, we will weave you some more.

BL. Just one other thing. If an action they bring, what funds will be mine for discharging the fine? You won’t pay it out of the stores, I opine.

PR. A fine to be paid when such an action they bring! Why bless you, our people won’t know such a thing as an action.

BL. No actions! I feel a misgiving. Pray, what are “our people” to do for a living?

Chremes. You are right: there are many will rue it.

PR. No doubt. But what can one then bring as an action about?

BL. There are reasons in plenty; I’ll just mention one. If a debtor won’t pay you, pray what’s to be done?

PR. If a debtor won’t pay! Nay, but tell me, my friend, how the creditor came by the money to lend? All money, I thought, to the stores had been brought. I’ve got a suspicion, I say it with grief, your creditor’s surely a bit of a thief.

CHR. Now that is an answer acute and befitting.

BL. But what if a man should be fined for committing some common assault, when elated with wine; pray what are his means for discharging the fine? I have posed you, I think.

PR. Why, his victuals and drink will be stopped by command for awhile; and I guess that he will not again in a hurry transgress, when he pays with his stomach.

BL. Will thieves be unknown?

PR. Why, how should they steal what is partly their own?

BL. No chance then to meet at night in the street some highwayman coming our cloaks to abstract?

PR. No, not if you’re sleeping at home; nor, in fact, though you choose to go out. That trade, why pursue it? There’s plenty for all; but suppose him do it, Don’t fight and resist him; what need of a pother? You can go into the stores, and they’ll give you another.

BL. Shall we gambling forsake?

PR. Why, what could you stake?

BL. But what is the style of our living to be?

PR. One common to all, independent and free, all bars and partitions forever undone, all private establishments fused into one.

In Brave New World, Bernard Marx’s inability to assimilate to emotion-distancing social norms, the Savage’s horror at the coldness of modern day society, and Helmholtz’ intelligence and constant hunger for knowledge all culminate in a meeting with the Controller Mustapha Mond himself. The powerful leader patiently explains to them all how the rules of their society have come about out of what he claims to be strict necessity and decades of careful social reform. This excerpt from their discussion is somewhat a contradiction, as Mustapha Mond speaks of stability and the complete removal of any form of social instability, but the society actually owes it’s very existence to an artificial distancing of men and women of differing classes.

“… our world is not the same as Othello’s world. You can’t make flivvers without steel–and you can’t make tragedies without social instability. The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get. They’re well off; they’re safe; they’re never ill; they’re not afraid of death; they’re blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they’re plagued with no mothers or father; they’ve got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they’re so conditioned that they practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there’s soma…”

The Savage was silent for a little. “All the same,” he insisted obstinately, “Othello’s good, Othello’s better than those feelies.”

“Of course it is,” the Controller agreed. “But that’s the price we have to pay for stability. You’ve got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art. We’ve sacrificed the high art. We have the feelies and the scent organ instead.”

A Few Favorites

“And that,” put in the Director sententiously, “that is the secret of happiness and virtue – liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their inescapable social destiny.” – Brave New World

“The first quarter-century of your life was doubtless lived under the cloud of being too young for things, while the last quarter-century would normally be shadowed by the still darker cloud of being too old for them; and between those two clouds, what small and narrow sunlight illuminates a human lifetime!” – Lost Horizon

“It was a revelation, a liberation. Physicists, mathematicians, astronomers, logicians, biologists, all were here at the University, and they came to him or he went to them, and they talked, and new worlds were born of their talking. It is of the nature of idea to be communicated: written, spoken, done. The idea is like grass. It craves light, likes crowds, thrives on crossbreeding, grows better for being stepped on.” – The Dispossessed 

Quotes: Food For Thought

“I suppose the truth is that when it comes to
believing things without actual evidence,
we all incline to what we find most attractive.”

— Conway to Mallinson, Lost Horizon

“[Ralph] gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body…with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of  the true, wise friend called Piggy.”

— Lord of the Flies

“There were two in paradise and the choice was offered to them: happiness without freedom, or freedom without happiness. No other choice…
They, fools that they were, chose freedom.”

— R-13 to D-503, We

“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin…Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat;…the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.”

— Savage to Mustapha Mond, Brave New World

Favorite Quotes

1. Walden by Henry David Thoreau (Stanza 16 of Chapter 2- Where I Lived, and What I Lived For)

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.

(I bolded my favorite parts.)

2. Temporary Autonomous Zones by Hakim Bey, pg 97

By failing to follow this curve, the up-rising suggests the possibility of a movement outside and beyond  the Hegelian spiral of that “progress” which is secretly nothing more than a vicious circle. Surgo – rise up, surge. Insurgo – rise up, raise oneself up. A bootstrap operation. A goodbye to that wretched parody of the karmic round, historical revolutionary futility. The slogan “Revolution!” has mutated from tocsin to toxin, a malign pseudo-Gnostic fate-trap, a nightmare where no matter how we struggle we never escape that evil Aeon, that incubus the State, one State after another, every “heaven” ruled by yet one more evil angel.

3. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin, pg 238 &239 (Chapter 9)

It is our suffering that brings us together. It is not love. Love does not obey the mind, and turns to hate when forced. The bond that binds us is beyond choice. We are brothers. We are brothers in what we share. In pain, which each of us must suffer alone, in hunger, in poverty, in hope, we know our brotherhood. We know it, because we have had to learn it. We know that there is no help for us but from one another, that no hand will save us if we do not reach out our hand. And the hand that you reach out is empty, as mine is. You have nothing. You possess nothing. You own nothing. You are free. All you have is what you are, and what you give… You cannot buy the Revolution. You cannot make the Revolution. You can only be the Revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.

That first part is very Machiavellian.

4. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, pg 173 (Record 31)

And as for happiness… Really? After all, desire is torturous, isn’t it? And so it’s clear that happiness happens when there are no more desires, not one… What a mistake, what ridiculous prejudice, that until now, we have been putting a plus sign in front of absolute happiness. It is, of course, a minus sign – a divine minus.

If true happiness (true utopia) is the removal of desire, would anybody be willing to give up that desire that is so fundamental to our lives?

Robin’s favorite quotes

““Yes, I thought it was wonderful,” he lied and looked away; the sight of her transfigured face was at once an accusation and an ironical reminder of his own separateness. He was as miserably isolated now as he had been when the service began—more isolated by reason of his unreplenished emptiness, his dead satiety. Separate and unatoned, while the others were being fused into the Greater Being; alone even in Morgana’s embrace—much more alone, indeed, more hopelessly himself than he had ever been in his life before. He had emerged from that crimson twilight into the common electric glare with a self-consciousness intensified to the pitch of agony. He was utterly miserable, and perhaps (her shining eyes accused him), perhaps it was his own fault. “Quite wonderful,” he repeated; but the only thing he could think of was Morgana’s”

Brave New World

I like it because I identified with it.  So many times I have been the socially awkward odd one out at social gatherings and this quote is what it feels like.

“I write this, and my cheeks are burning. This must be similar to what a woman feels when she first senses within herself the pulse of a new, still tiny, still blind little human being. It is I, and at the same time, not I. And for many long months it will be necessary to nourish it with my own life, my own blood, then tear it painfully from myself and lay it at the feet of the One State.”


I like it because as a writer, I feel the same way towards my own work.

“Most young Anarresti felt that it was shameful to be ill: a result of their society’s very successful prophylaxy, and also perhaps a confusion arising from the analogic use of the words “healthy” and “sick.” They felt illness to be a crime, if an involuntary one. To yield to the criminal impulse, to pander to it by taking pain relievers, was immoral. They fought shy of pills and shots. As middle age and old age came on, most of them changed their view. The pain got worse than the shame. The aide gave the old men in Ward Two their medicine, and they joked with her. Shevek watched with dull incomprehension.”

The Dispossessed

I like it because there are still illnesses that are shameful to have and shameful to treat.  Depression and similar mental problems aren’t talked about.  Some people suffer in silence and others, tired of being sick, get treated.




Of Slaves in Utopia: From Thomas More’s Utopia

They do not make slaves of prisoners of war, except those that are taken in battle; nor of the sons of their slaves, nor of those of other nations: the slaves among them are only such as are condemned to that state of life for the commission of some crime, or, which is more common, such as their merchants find condemned to die in those parts to which they trade, whom they sometimes redeem at low rates; and in other places have them for nothing.

Throughout the text, Thomas More’s Utopia consistently placed emphasis on the need for people to stringently follow rules, regulations and ‘Utopian’ values/lifestyle in order to maintain the Utopian way of life. However, I feel like it is exactly these extreme moral codes which promote an “unforgiving” society that they’ve also created an underlying dystopia for those who’ve made mistakes, who ultimately are condemned into eternal slavery. I feel that giving people the room to right their wrongs means giving them a chance to help better society as a whole.

From Thomas More’s Utopia

Deceit in the New Atlantis

” Therefore in regard of our Deliverance , and our danger present, and to come, let us looke up to God, and every man reforme his own wayes. Besides we are come here amongst a Christian People, full of piety and Humanity: Let us not bring that Confusion of face upon our selves, as to show our vices, or unworthiness before them. Yet there is more. For they have been Commamement, (though in forme of Courtesie) Cloistered us within these walls, for three days: who knoweth, whether it be not, to take some tast of our manners and conditions? And if they find them bad, to banish us strait-wayes; if good to give us further time. for these Men, that they have given us for Attendance, may withall have an eye upon us. Therefore for Gods love, and as we love the weale of our Soules and Bodies, let us so behave our selves; as wee may be at peace with God, and may finde grace in the Eyes of this People.”

I know this is a long quote, however I wanted to capture what I found to be deceit by the men arriving in this new land. For them it was very important to behave in a manner that they thought would be accepted not because they wanted to show their thanks but because they felt they were somehow being deceived or maybe even being watched after in expectation of finding flaws in their character and personality. For them it was important to hopefully gain the acceptance of the Christian people as to hopefully be later on accepted by God. Their thinking was very deceitful not just in thinking that they could deceive the people who were helping them but to think that this would somehow help them gain acceptance of God- did they think they could deceive God as well?

I thought this was very interesting as I read because I never assumed the purpose of the Christian people was to deceive the men but to be cautious of their land and of their people. However, their kind, although cautious gestures, were looked at as a ploy to watch over the men and uncover their true personality and character by the men who arrived.

Domanique Borges

From Bacon’s New Atlantis

The quote I picked is “For the children of such Marriages, are not admitted to inherit above a third Part of their Parents Inheritance…”. I found it interesting that if your parents didn’t approve of your partner you would receive less inheritance. I didn’t think there would be a monetary loss if parents didn’t approve. But here it’s sort of a law.

“They have but few laws…” From Thomas More’s Utopia

They have but few laws, and such is their constitution that they need not many. They very much condemn other nations, whose laws, together with the commentaries on them, swell up so many volumes…they think it an unreasonable thing to oblige men to obey a body of laws that are both such a bulk and so dark as not to be read and understood by every one of the subjects.

I chose this quote because it describes a society that is so well kept, it does not need books of complicated laws to govern it. In theory, laws are created to keep people in control and avoid chaos. Therefore, there is no need for extensive laws in the utopia because people follow the system set up in the utopia and those who do fall through the cracks are punished accordingly. The utopian society is meant to work with everyone caring for each other– wives serve their husbands, children serve their parents, and the younger always serve the elders. Furthermore, theft is not common because “there is no reason for giving denial to any person, since there is such plenty of everything among them.” Lastly, people are happy and have no reason to protest since ” the chief end of the constitution is… to allow people as much time as necessary for the improvement of their minds, in which they think the happiness of life consists.”

 In the utopia, there are few laws and they are clear to all its citizens. I would assume that More specifically stated that the utopia “think it an unreasonable thing to oblige men to obey a body of laws” that are both extensive, dark and confusing because of how he viewed his own society in England. Even today, there are thousands of laws governing society in the US that many of us do not fully understand and will probably never fully read.


“There is no danger of a man’s asking for more than he need”: From Thomas More’s Utopia

“…every father goes and takes whatever he or his family stand in need of, without either paying for it, or leaving anything in exchange. There is no reason for giving a denial to any person, since there is such plenty of everything amongst them; and there is no danger of a man’s asking for more than he need; they have no inducements to do this, since they are sure that they shall always be supplied. It is the fear of want that makes any of the whole race of animals either greedy or ravenous; but besides fear, there is in man a pride that makes him fancy it a particular glory to excel others in pomp and excess. But by the laws of the Utopia, there is no room for this.” -Excerpt from More’s Utopia, pp 82 in “The Utopia Reader”

When reading about the governance of any utopia, we are almost always presented with rules that enforce the society’s perfection. A few pages earlier, More explains that in an effort to contain communities and counter any over-crowding, families must be held to a strict limit of members. Laws like these are necessary to maintaining a utopia. We can observe similar  regulations in the controversial one-child policy demanded by the Chinese government. However, here we are told that men are simply trusted to act in accordance with what is deemed best for society in terms of commerce and trade. Why should we blindly accept the fact that in More’s utopia, men will follow the ideas set forth by the rulers of this society without any fear of punishment? In other words, what is there to stop a man from taking more than just what he needs to survive?

I recall that our country’s founding fathers had explicit reasoning behind their intricate design of checks and balances in our government: all of this is necessary for people to prosper and order to be kept due to the inevitable fact that “men are no angels,” as BLANK once declared. This is true in our society, and in every society on this earth; thus why should this truth be ignored in More’s society? Why must the line between the fantastic and the realistic be crossed when discussing men in his utopia?

Voluntary Death: From Thomas More’s Utopia

“When any is taken with a torturing and lingering pain, so that there is no hope, either of recovery or ease, … but choose rather to die, … they shall be happy after death.” (Thomas More, Utopia, Utopia Reader pg.91)

There is a lot in these readings that I disagree with but this actually sounds like assisted suicide/euthanasia which is something that I do agree with. I personally believe that it is better to live a shorter life with a high quality than a long life of misery. Of course,  quality of life is subjective; one man’s heaven is another man’s hell,  but the man in hell should be able to leave if he so choose.

That is something I thought was interesting because it’s something that’s only legal in four US states according to the Wikipedia page on assisted suicide.

This is short because I’m posting from my phone and it’s really awkward trying to correct the auto-correct.

Vices and Virtues: From Thomas More’s Utopia

“They have, however, two sorts of games not unlike our chess…the other resembles a battle between the virtues and the vices, in which the enmity in the vices among themselves, and their agreement against virtue is not unpleasantly represented; together with the special oppositions between the particular virtues and vices; as also the methods by which vice either openly assaults or secretly undermines virtue; and virtue on the other hand resists it.”  (Claeys, Gregory, and Lyman Tower Sargent. “Of Their Trades, and Manner of Life.” The Utopia Reader. New York: New York UP, 1999. pgs 78-79. Print.)

I found this quote to be fascinating in its somewhat negative examination of human nature as it ties into the rest of the work. Utopia is not perfect by virtue of its people, but rather of its societal system of laws. Its carefully constructed rules and regulations seek to keep man’s natural instinct towards evil in check.

We see a few instances in which citizens do the wrong thing in this excerpted reading. For example, some people in Utopia rebel against the laws of travel. Rather than obeying, these offenders visit other cities without authority from the Prince. Repeated violations of this crime lead to a life of slavery (as with other crimes). Even more extreme, those who commit adultery more than once are sentenced to death. Punishment of this sort may serve to keep the Utopian people in check. More may be suggesting that utopia can only come about through a society that regulates and controls people’s vices through the proper “education.” If vices are severely punished, the citizens of Utopia will more naturally strive towards being virtuous as a form of self preservation.

Besides punishment, another way in which this occurs is the reduction of money’s worth. Societal values and needs are built in such a way that the natural jealousy and greed that stems from the love of money is curbed. The potential for jealousy and greed therefore lie dormant in mankind, and Utopia’s laws serve to avoid any activation of these passions. The virtue of society therefore overcomes the inherent vices in mankind. The game described, one of only two that the people in Utopia play, is an almost propogandic reminder that immoralities and sinful pleasures will always be resisted and overcome by virtue. This whole system of government is essentially a way to battle those evil passions in mankind which historically have caused the best of societies to spiral downward.

The Virgin of the World

“You shall understand, that there is not under the Heavens, so chast a Nation, as this of Bensalem; Nor so free from all Pollution, or foulnesse. It is the Virgin of the World…” (Bacon, The New Atlantis)

I found this quote particularly emblematic of the utopia Bacon describes. This portion of the world untouched by pollution and all things foul. Bacon repeatedly describes Bensalem in terms of this innocence as seen in his quote here where he uses the word “chaste” to describe the nation. He also exemplifies this chastity, purity, and innocence through his claim that Bensalem is “the virgin of the world.”

This quote also reminded me of a theme I noticed throughout the book. Bensalem is a place free from total authority and even religion to an extent, and serves as a new beginning for the men on the ship in an untouched, and perfect world.

Perhaps the Bensalem is meant to represent Bacon’s idea of a utopia to be created in the Americas?

Utopian Flaw: From Thomas More’s Utopia

“The hospital are furnished and stored with all things that are convenient for the ease and recovery of the sick; and those that are put in them are looked after with such tender and watchful care, and are so constantly attended by their skillful physicians…” (UR, 83)

This type of sincere, serious care can only originate from a genuine, familial love. Because we are first able to experience and understand love within our own family, we are able to then proliferate that love unto others (neighbors, friends, partners, patients). How can this Utopia, which easily ignores the importance of maintaining genetically-linked families, encourage an environment that fosters such a love?

In a household, the number of members must remain between ten and sixteen. Any “extra” member is trafficked into another household– even into another city or town or continent (81). This is clearly a form of human trafficking! If parents are able to send out their own children and receive others, how can love really exist? It may be easy/natural to care for another being as your own (e.g. adoptions), but can you disregard the love for your own at the same time? Can you easily transfer that love around?

Because this Utopia encourages its people to be proficient in specialities that they enjoy doing and/or are talented in, these “skillful physicians” are obviously medical experts. But someone who knows exactly how to treat a virus or disease may not have the same capacity to truly care about their patients. If they are just doing their jobs, why is More describing them as such caring attendees?

Where does this “tender and watchful care” originate from?

Classic Quotations

“Man is the symbol using animal, inventor of the negative, separated from his natural condition by instruments of his own making, goaded by the spirit of hierarchy, and rotten with perfection.”

Kenneth Burke, “Definition of  Man,” The Hudson Review 16.4 (1963), p 507


“Throughout the ages the Utopias reflect the anxieties and discontents amidst which they are produced. They are, so to speak, shadows of light thrown by darkness.”

H.G. Wells, Australian Radio Address, January 19th, 1939