John Berger – Hold Everything Dear

Some quotes from John Berger’s 2007 collection of essays, Hold Everything Dear:

“Has not the world always been pitiless? Today’s pitilessness is perhaps more unremitting, pervasive and continuous. It spares neither the planet itself nor anyone living on it anywhere. Abstract because deriving from the sole logic of the pursuit of profit (as old as the freezer), it threatens to make obsolete all other sets of belief, along with their traditions of facing the cruelty of life with dignity and some flashes of hope.”

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“Conformism is a habit cultivated by the well-off.”

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“Nihilism, in its contemporary sense, is the refusal to believe in any scale of priorities beyond the pursuit of profit, considered as the end-all of social activity, so that, precisely: everything has its price. Nihilism is resignation before the contention that price is all. It is the most current form of human cowardice. But not one to which the poor often succumb.”

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“Stories are one way of sharing the belief that justice is imminent. And for such a belief, children, women and men will fight at a given moment with astounding ferocity. This is why tyrants fear storytelling: all stories somehow refer to the story for their fall.”

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“Month by month, millions leave their homelands. They leave because there is nothing there, except their everything, which does not offer enough to feed their children. Once it idid. This is the poverty of the new capitalism. […] All they have left of their home continent is themselves.”

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“The consumer is essentially somebody who feels, or is made to feel, lost, unless he or she is consuming. Brand names and logos become the place names of the Nowhere.”