Tina Fey On Arrogance, Ray Bradbury On The Possibilities Of Sci-Fi And More
Your monthly fix of quotes from influential personalities
It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don’t like something, it is empirically not good. I don’t like Chinese food, but I don’t write articles trying to prove it doesn’t exist.
Tina Fey, comedian, writer and producer
A democracy must empower its weakest, its most marginalized. A democracy cannot function without questioning, debate and a vibrant opposition.
Artists Unite, a group of 700 theatre practitioners
The value of information does not survive the moment in which it was new. It lives only at that moment; it has to surrender to it completely and explain itself to it without losing any time. A story is different. It does not expend itself. It preserves and concentrates its strength and is capable of releasing it even after a long time.
Walter Benjamin, philosopher and critic
We forget that nature itself is one vast miracle transcending the reality of night and nothingness. We forget that each one of us in his personal life repeats that miracle.
Loren Eiseley, anthropologist, philosopher and writer
Science fiction is any idea that occurs in the head and doesn’t exist yet, but soon will, and will change everything for everybody and nothing will ever be the same again. As soon as you have an idea that changes some small part of the world, you are writing science fiction. It is always the art of the possible, never the impossible.
Ray Bradbury, author and screenwriter
The question is who has power over the story. The response of anybody interested in liberty is that we all have a say, and the ability to have an argument is exactly what liberty is, even though it may never be resolved. In any authoritarian society the possessor of power dictates, and if you try and step outside he will come after you.
Salman Rushdie, novelist and essayist
India is this great experiment of a billion people of such great diverse persuasion working together, seeking their salvation in the framework of a democracy. I believe it will have some lessons for all multicultural societies. And I believe all societies, all thriving societies of the future, are going to be multicultural.
Dr Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister of India
They say there are no stupid questions. That’s obviously wrong; I think my question about hard and soft things, for example, is pretty stupid. But it turns out that trying to thoroughly answer a stupid question can take you to some pretty interesting places.
Randall Munroe, engineer and cartoonist
The difference between a simpleton and an intelligent man, according to the man who is convinced that he is of the latter category, is that the former wholeheartedly accepts all things that he sees and hears, while the latter never admits anything except after a most searching scrutiny. He imagines his intelligence to be a sieve of closely woven mesh through which nothing but the finest can pass.
R. K. Narayan, novelist
I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art.
Toni Morrison, Nobel prize-winning novelist
History and fable show nothing is ever entirely lost. David can take Goliath. A beach in Normandy can turn the tide of war. Bravery can topple the powerful. These facts are often seen as exceptional, but they are not. Every day, we all become the balance of our choices—choices between love and fear, belief or despair. No hope is ever too small.
Guillermo del Toro, film-maker, author and actor