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Quotes of the day: Ursula K. Le Guin

Published Monday, October 20, 2014 @ 9:45 PM EDT
Oct 20 2014

Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (b. October 21, 1929) is an American author of novels, children's books, and short stories, mainly in the genres of fantasy and science fiction. She has also written poetry and essays. First published in the 1960s, her work has often depicted futuristic or imaginary alternative worlds in politics, natural environment, gender, religion, sexuality and ethnography. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A wrong that cannot be repaired must be transcended.

All of us have to learn how to invent our lives, make them up, imagine them. We need to be taught these skills; we need guides to show us how. If we don't, our lives get made up for us by other people.

Almost everything carried to its logical extreme becomes depressing, if not carcinogenic.

Animals do neither good nor evil. They do as they must do. We may call what they do harmful or useful, but good and evil belong to us, who chose to choose what we do.

Belief in heaven and hell is a big deal in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and some forms of doctrinaire Buddhism. For the rest of us it’s simply meaningless. We don’t live in order to die, we live in order to live.

Belief is the wound that knowledge heals.

Coercion is the least efficient means of obtaining order.

Excess is excrement.

Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one.

Go to bed; tired is stupid.

Great artists make the roads; good teachers and good companions can point them out. But there ain't no free rides, baby.

Great self-destruction follows upon unfounded fear.

Have you never thought how danger must surround power as shadow does light?

I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth.

Injustice makes the rules, and courage breaks them.

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

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.

It is only when science asks why, instead of simply describing how, that it becomes more than technology. When it asks why, it discovers Relativity. When it only shows how, it invents the atomic bomb, and then puts its hands over its eyes and says, 'My God, what have I done?'

Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread, re-made all the time, made new.

Morning comes whether you set the alarm or not.

Most civilisations, perhaps, look shinier in general terms and from several light-years away.

My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.

One alien is a curiosity, two are an invasion.

Same old hypocrisy. Life is a fight, and the strongest wins. All civilization does is hide the blood and cover up the hate with pretty words!

Science fiction is not prescriptive; it is descriptive.

Suffering is dysfunctional, except as a bodily warning against danger. Psychologically and socially it’s merely destructive.

The counsel of the dead is not profitable to the living.

The danger in trying to do good is that the mind comes to confuse the intent of goodness with the act of doing things well.

The law of evolution is that the strongest survives... and the strongest, in the existence of any social species, are those who are most social. In human terms, most ethical.

The more defensive a society, the more conformist.

To claim power over what you do not understand is not wise, nor is the end of it likely to be good.

To hear, one must be silent.

To learn a belief without belief is to sing a song without the tune.

To oppose something is to maintain it.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Ursula K. Le Guin


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