Aphorisms are rogue ideas. Aphorism is aristocratic thinking: this is all the aristocrat is willing to tell you: he thinks you should get it fast, without spelling out all the details. Aphoristic thinking constructs thinking as an obstacle race: the reader is expected to get it fast, and move on. An aphorism is not an argument; it is too well-bred for that. To write aphorisms is to assume a mask—a mask of scorn, of superiority.
“This is why speech is so much easier + more copious compared to the labor of keeping a journal + the pathetic paucity of entries over months of time as compared to all that one says in a single evening.”
From Reborn: Journals & Notebooks 1947 - 1963, by Susan Sontag. Picador, page 80. This quotation is from 1955.
“Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough.”
“The masculinization of homosexuality—no longer alienated; no longer identify with culture (against nature). Being homosexual no longer facilitates a critical attitude to society. Now h’s affirm some of the worst, +most conventional, tastes of his society: sexism (hatred of women), consumerism, brutality, promiscuity emotional dissociation.”
From As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks 1964-1980, by Susan Sontag. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, page 506. This quotation is from 1980.
(a) That there is no personal god or life after death
(b) That the most desirable thing in the world is free to be true to oneself, i.e., Honesty
(c) That the only difference between human beings is intelligence
(d) That the criterion of an action is its ultimate effect on making the individual happy or unhappy
(e) That it is wrong to deprive any man of life
From Reborn: Journals and Notebooks 1947-1963, by Susan Sontag. Picador, page 3. This quotation is from 1947.
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