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Advertising
Engrave this Quote Advertising is not merely an assembly of competing messages; it is a language itself which is always being used to make the same general proposal
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-John Berger
Animals
Engrave this Quote 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.
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-John Berger, Why Look at Animals? about looking, 1980
Art
Engrave this Quote The strange power of art is sometimes it can show that what people have in common is more urgent than what differentiates them. It seems to me it's something that theatre can do, but it's rare; it's very rare.
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-John Berger
Engrave this Quote I can't 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....
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-John Berger, Miners, exhibition catalogue, 1989; in Keeping a Rendezvous, 1992.
Boredom
Engrave this Quote Is boredom anything less than the sense of one's faculties slowly dying?
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-John Berger
Capitalism
Engrave this Quote Publicity is the life of this culture -- in so far as without publicity capitalism could not survive -- and at the same time publicity is its dream.
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-John Berger, Ways of Seeing, ch. 7, 1972
City Life, Cities
Engrave this Quote Every city has a sex and an age which have nothing to do with demography. Rome is feminine. So is Odessa. London is a teenager, an urchin, and, in this, hasn't changed since the time of Dickens. Paris, I believe, is a man in his twenties in love with an older woman.
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-John Berger
Common Sense
Engrave this Quote Common-sense is part of the home-made ideology of those who have been deprived of fundamental learning, of those who have been kept ignorant. This ideology is compounded from different sources: items that have survived from religion, items of empirical knowledge, items of protective skepticism, items culled for comfort from the superficial learning that is supplied. But the point is that common-sense can never teach itself, can never advance beyond its own limits, for as soon as the lack of fundamental learning has been made good, all items become questionable and the whole function of common-sense is destroyed. Common-sense can only exist as a category insofar as it can be distinguished from the spirit of inquiry, from philosophy.
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-John Berger
Criticism
Engrave this Quote Post-modernism has cut off the present from all futures. The daily media add to this by cutting off the past. Which means that critical opinion is often orphaned in the present.
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-John Berger
Death
Engrave this Quote A man's death makes everything certain about him. Of course, secrets may die with him. And of course, a hundred years later somebody looking through some papers may discover a fact which throws a totally different light on his life and of which all the people who attended his funeral were ignorant. Death changes the facts qualitatively but not quantitatively. One does not know more facts about a man because he is dead. But what one already knows hardens and becomes definite. We cannot hope for ambiguities to be clarified, we cannot hope for further change, we cannot hope for more. We are now the protagonists and we have to make up our minds.
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-John Berger
Doctors
Engrave this Quote One of the fundamental reasons why so many doctors become cynical and disillusioned is precisely because, when the abstract idealism has worn thin, they are uncertain about the value of the actual lives of the patients they are treating. This is not because they are callous or personally inhuman: it is because they live in and accept a society which is incapable of knowing what a human life is worth.
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-John Berger
Entertainment
Engrave this Quote Compare the cinema with theatre. Both are dramatic arts. Theatre brings actors before a public and every night during the season they re-enact the same drama. Deep in the nature of theatre is a sense of ritual. The cinema, by contrast, transports its audience individually, singly, out of the theatre towards the unknown.
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-John Berger
Envy / Jealousy
Engrave this Quote The envied are like bureaucrats; the more impersonal they are, the greater the illusion (for themselves and for others) of their power.
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-John Berger
Evil
Engrave this Quote Nothing in the nature around us is evil. This needs to be repeated since one of the human ways of talking oneself into inhuman acts is to cite the supposed cruelty of nature.
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-John Berger
Film / Filmmaking / Movies
Engrave this Quote 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.
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-John Berger
Grief, Grieving
Engrave this Quote 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.
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-John Berger
Imagination
Engrave this Quote The human imagination...has great difficulty in living strictly within the confines of a materialist practice or philosophy. It dreams, like a dog in its basket, of hares in the open.
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-John Berger, The Soul and the Operator, in Expressen (Stockholm), March 19, 1990
Kindness
Engrave this Quote 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.
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-John Berger
Language
Engrave this Quote One can say of language that it is potentially the only human home, the only dwelling place that cannot be hostile to man.
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-John Berger
Legacy
Engrave this Quote Autobiography begins with a sense of being alone. It is an orphan form.
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-John Berger
Love
Engrave this Quote The opposite of love is not to hate but to separate. If love and hate have something in common it is because, in both cases, their energy is that of bringing and holding together
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-John Berger, And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos, ch. 2, Pantheon (1984)
Media
Engrave this Quote The media network has its idols, but its principal idol is its own style which generates an aura of winning and leaves the rest in darkness. It recognizes neither pity nor pitilessness.
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-John Berger
Men & Women
Engrave this Quote Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.
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-John Berger
Nation, Nationality, Nationalism
Engrave this Quote All nationalisms are at heart deeply concerned with names: with the most immaterial and original human invention. Those who dismiss names as a detail have never been displaced; but the peoples on the peripheries are always being displaced. That is why they insist upon their continuity -- their links with their dead and the unborn.
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-John Berger
Nudity
Engrave this Quote Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is placed on display. The nude is condemned to never being naked. Nudity is a form of dress.
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-John Berger

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