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Top 80 Barry López Quotes (2024 Update)
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Barry López Quote: “The writer works on the inside and the critic works on the outside. I don’t know what it looks like on the outside, sometimes. It’s not that I’m not interested-it’s not where I live. I live inside the story.”
Barry López Quote: “For me, the ability to listen carefully to another person’s perspective, rather than summarily deciding what that person means, is in keeping with the behavior one expects of an elder. And the ability to understand what someone else is thinking is the foundation of stable social order.”
Barry López Quote: “Art’s underlying strength is that it does not intend to be literal. It presents a metaphor and leaves the viewer or listener to interpret. It is giving in to art, not trying to divine its meaning, that brings the viewer or listener the deepest measures of satisfaction.”
Barry López Quote: “We, all of us, look back over our lives, trying to make sense of what happened, to see what enduring threads might be there.”
Barry López Quote: “If the real human environment in developed countries today is third-growth monocultured “forests,” tar-sand petroleum, cow-burnt grasslands, and smog-like clouds of microplastics floating in oceans where fish once thrived, then human cultures need to distinguish between sentimentality about loss and the imperative to survive. They need to establish a more relevant politics than the competitive politics of nation-states. And to found economies built not on profit but on conservation.”
Barry López Quote: “They have a quality of nuannaarpoq, of taking extravagant pleasure in being alive; and they delight in finding it in other people.”
Barry López Quote: “The frozen ocean itself still turns in its winter sleep like a dragon.”
Barry López Quote: “It would be to hear resonating within oneself the shouting of the Mothers of the Disappeared in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires in the 1970s, and to turn instead to other things.”
Barry López Quote: “Of the sciences today, quantum physics alone seems to have found its way back to an equitable relationship with metaphors, those fundamental tools of the imagination. The other sciences are occasionally so bound by rational analysis, or so wary of metaphor, that they recognize and denounce anthropomorphism as a kind of intellectual cancer, instead of employing it as a tool of comparative inquiry, which is perhaps the only way the mind works, that parallelism we finally call narrative.”
Barry López Quote: “Each place is itself only, and nowhere repeated.”
Barry López Quote: “I had a theology professor once,” I said to John, “who told us that religion was not about being certain but about living with uncertainty. It was about being comfortable with doubt, and maintaining the continuity of one’s reverence for a profound mystery.”
Barry López Quote: “We can no longer afford to carry on in a prolonged era of polite reflection and ineffective resistance... We must invent overnight another kind of civilization... It is a good idea to love each other, and to love the Earth.”
Barry López Quote: “The wolf was the one animal that, again, did two things at once year after year: remained distinct and exemplary as an individual, yet served the tribe. There are no stories among Indians of lone wolves.”
Barry López Quote: “Is it still possible to face the gathering darkness and say to the physical Earth, and to all its creatures, including ourselves, fiercely and without embarrassment, I love you, and to embrace fearlessly the burning world?”
Barry López Quote: “The alarming situation here for humanity is that H. sapiens, though it has asserted itself as the dominant species on Earth, is at the same time the potential victim of its domination over virtually all Earth’s ecosystems. If H. sapiens were to become extinct, the event would simply be regarded as evolution continuing to unfold, a biological future for life but not one that any longer included humanity.”
Barry López Quote: “One can choose to step into the treacherous void between oneself and the confounding world, and there to be staggered by the breadth, the intricacy, the possibilities of that world, accepting its requirement for death but working still to lessen the degree of cruelty and to increase the reach of justice in every quarter.”
Barry López Quote: “The horrors – ethnic cleansing, industrial rapine, political corruption, racist lynching, extrajudicial execution – once identified and then denounced, always return, wearing different clothes but with the same obsessive face of indifference. We denounce those who order it, we condemn the people who carry out the policies, calling them inhumane. But the behavior is fully human. We are the darkness, as we are, too, the light.”
Barry López Quote: “Exposure to an unusually spectacular place in conducive circumstance, the thinking goes, can release one from the prison of one’s own ego and initiate a renewed awareness of the wondrous, salutary, and informing nature of the Other, the thing outside of the self.”
Barry López Quote: “Our question is no longer how to exploit the natural world for human comfort and gain, but how we can cooperate with one another to ensure we will someday have a fitting, not a dominating, place in it.”
Barry López Quote: “As the decades passed for me, I began to think that the path many of us now share, a path of self-realization and self-aggrandizement, might eventually leave us stranded, having arrived at the end of exploitation, but with most of us standing there empty-handed. And what is it that we have found through the injustice of exploitation that these Magdalenians at Altamira did not already possess?”
Barry López Quote: “And yet if we persist in believing that we alone, living in whatever culture we’re from, are right, and that we therefore have no need to listen to anyone else’s stories, stories that we often can’t quite understand and so are unwilling to discuss, we endanger ourselves.”
Barry López Quote: “Without intending to, they separated themselves from the galaxy of African wildlife and emerged as something else, not yet the founders of civilization but no longer truly wild. These were the first creatures to shimmer with intentionality.”
Barry López Quote: “To eliminate diversity would be like eliminating carbon and expecting life to go on.”
Barry López Quote: “There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.”
Barry López Quote: “And ceremony also functions as an antidote to loneliness.”
Barry López Quote: “In those minutes of gazing at the boiling cistern of waves and watching the albatrosses addressing the storm with great seriousness, I could fix only on what I admired most often in other human beings, their enduring grace and poise.”
Barry López Quote: “The truth, one tends to think, is that all of us, drunk or sober, sedated or not, aggrieved or manic, live consciously or unconsciously within this maelstrom, which no one really wants to risk shutting down.”
Barry López Quote: “Only the misled can insist that heaven awaits the righteous while they watch the fires on Earth consume the only heaven we have ever known.”
Barry López Quote: “To act here is to face one’s own complicity, to choose to take life in order that one’s own kin might continue to live. When I lie down to sleep far from home, I place this small work of art close by on a folded scarf.”
Barry López Quote: “At some critical point, accommodation and cooperation replace violence and exploitation, or humanity’s fate is delivered into the hands of barbarians.”
Barry López Quote: “We must invent overnight, figuratively speaking, another kind of civilization, one more cognizant of limits, less greedy, more compassionate, less bigoted, more inclusive, less exploitive.”
Barry López Quote: “In other words, that humans were not set apart by having “a soul.”
Barry López Quote: “It didn’t occur to me that taking life so seriously might cause a loss of perspective. How else, I would ask, could you take it?”
Barry López Quote: “To regard the Milagros there as evidence of superstition, or to describe these out-of-the-way chapels as backwards, seems to me to dismiss what it means to be human, which is to live in fear in a world in which one’s destiny is never entirely of one’s choosing.”
Barry López Quote: “A clearcut is not the outward sign of a healthy economy but of an indifference to life.”
Barry López Quote: “To this list I would add one more thing. Elders are more often listeners than speakers. And when they speak, they can talk for a long while without using the word I.”
Barry López Quote: “There is something about the way birds can calm you, how the graceful way they define the sky can draw irritation right out of you.”
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