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Ursula K. Le Guin quotes (showing 31-60 of 716)

“The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places
“When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
“For we each of us deserve everything, every luxury that was ever piled in the tombs of the dead kings, and we each of us deserve nothing, not a mouthful of bread in hunger. Have we not eaten while another starved? Will you punish us for that? Will you reward us for the virtue of starving while others ate? No man earns punishment, no man earns reward. Free your mind of the idea of deserving, the idea of earning, and you will begin to be able to think.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed
“What is an anarchist? One who, choosing, accepts the responsibility of choice.”
Ursula K. Le Guin
“A man does not make his destiny: he accepts it or denies it.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore
“This is. And thou art. There is no safety. There is no end. The word must be heard in silence. There must be darkness to see the stars. The dance is always danced above the hollow place, above the terrible abyss.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore
“There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.”
Ursula K. Le Guin
“I think," Tehanu said in her soft, strange voice, "that when I die, I can breathe back the breath that made me live. I can give back to the world all that I didn't do. All that I might have been and couldn't be. All the choices I didn't make. All the things I lost and spent and wasted. I can give them back to the world. To the lives that haven't been lived yet. That will be my gift back to the world that gave me the life I did live, the love I loved, the breath I breathed.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Other Wind
“To see that your life is a story while you're in the middle of living it may be a help to living it well.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, Gifts
“My world, my Earth is a ruin. A planet spoiled by the human species. We multiplied and fought and gobbled until there was nothing left, and then we died. We controlled neither appetite nor violence; we did not adapt. We destroyed ourselves. But we destroyed the world first.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed
“You cannot take what you have not given, and you must give yourself. You cannot buy the Revolution. You cannot make the Revolution. You can only be the Revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed
“I had forgotten how much light there is in the world, till you gave it back to me.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea
“How does one hate a country, or love one? Tibe talks about it; I lack the trick of it. I know people, I know towns, farms, hills and rivers and rocks, I know how the sun at sunset in autumn falls on the side of a certain plowland in the hills; but what is the sense of giving a boundary to all that, of giving it a name and ceasing to love where the name ceases to apply? What is love of one's country; is it hate of one's uncountry? Then it's not a good thing. Is it simply self-love? That's a good thing, but one mustn't make a virtue of it, or a profession... Insofar as I love life, I love the hills of the Domain of Estre, but that sort of love does not have a boundary-line of hate. And beyond that, I am ignorant, I hope.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
“A profound love between two people involves, after all, the power and chance of doing profound hurt.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
“To be whole is to be part; true voyage is return.”
Ursula K. Le Guin
“If you evade suffering you also evade the chance of joy. Pleasure you may get, or pleasures, but you will not be fulfilled. You will not know what it is to come home.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed
“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. The only truth I can understand or express is, logically defined, a lie. Psychologically defined, a symbol. Aesthetically defined, a metaphor.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
“Do nothing because it is righteous or praiseworthy or noble to do so; do nothing because it seems good to do so; do only that which you must do and which you cannot do in any other way.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore
“I certainly wasn't happy. Happiness has to do with reason, and only reason earns it. What I was given was the thing you can't earn, and can't keep, and often don't even recognize at the time; I mean joy.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
“I doubt that the imagination can be suppressed. If you truly eradicated it in a child, he would grow up to be an eggplant.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction
“Change is freedom, change is life.

It's always easier not to think for oneself. Find a nice safe hierarchy and settle in. Don't make changes, don't risk disapproval, don't upset your syndics. It's always easiest to let yourself be governed.

There's a point, around age twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life, or to make a virtue of your peculiarities.

Those who build walls are their own prisoners. I'm going to go fulfil my proper function in the social organism. I'm going to go unbuild walls.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed
“I never knew anybody . . . who found life simple. I think a life or a time looks simple when you leave out the details.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Birthday of the World and Other Stories
“The use of imaginative fiction is to deepen your understanding of your world, and your fellow men, and your own feelings, and your destiny.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction
“Gradually the healing took place, seeming as it always does that it wasn't taking place.”
Ursula K. Le Guin
“The individual cannot bargain with the State. The State recognizes no coinage but power: and it issues the coins itself.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed
“My soul is ten thousand miles wide and extremely invisibly deep. It is the same size as the sea, and you cannot, you cannot cram it into beer cans and fingernails and stake it out in lots and own it. It will drown you all and never even notice.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, Searoad
“And I speak of spiritual suffering! Of people seeing their talent, their work, their lives wasted. Of good minds submitting to stupid ones. Of strength and courage strangled by envy, greed for power, fear of change. Change is freedom, change is life”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed
“When I was young, I had to choose between the life of being and the life of doing. And I leapt at the latter like a trout to a fly. But each deed you do, each act, binds you to itself and to its consequences, and makes you act again and yet again. Then very seldom do you come upon a space, a time like this, between act and act, when you may stop and simply be. Or wonder who, after all, you are.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore
“And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. You need distance, interval. The way to see how beautiful the earth is, is to see it as the moon. The way to see how beautiful life is, is from the vantage point of death.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed
“When we're done with it, we may find—if it's a good novel—that we're a bit different from what we were before we read it, that we have been changed a little, as if by having meet a new face, crossed a street we've never crossed before.”
Ursula K. Le Guin


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