It is high time that I learn to be more careful about hope, a reckless emotion for travelers. The sensible approach would be to the expect the worst, the very worst, that way you avoid grievous disappointment and who knows with a tiny bit of luck, you might even have a moderately pleasant surprise, like the difference between hell and purgatory.
What the trees can do handsomely-greening and flowering, fading and then the falling of leaves-human beings cannot do with dignity, let alone without pain.
No wars, in the war-logged record of our species, have been terminal. Until now, when we know that nuclear war would be the death of our planet. It is beyond belief that any governments–those brief political figures–arrogate to themselves the right to stop history, at their discretion.
I do not hope for a world at peace, all of it, all the time. I do not believe in the perfectibility of man, which is what would be required for world peace; I only believe in the human race. I believe the human race must continue.
On the night of New Year’s Day, I thought of a wonderful New Year’s resolution for the men who run the world: get to know the people who only live in it.
I had a sudden notion of why history is such a mess: humans do not live long enough. We only learn from experience and have no time to use it in a continuous and sensible way.
The only way I can pay back for what fate and society have handed me is to try, in minor totally useless ways, to make an angry sound against injustice.
I took only one suitcase, and a cosmetics case for medicines but I was worried about books. Solitude is all right with books, awful without.
... none had been outside Russia. I kept trying to remember something that I had read about a species of fish that was born, lived, spawned, died in the dark waters of a cave; and were blind.
In Warsaw, you also remember that you are in a Communist-controlled country, though by all accounts the control is now humane and lenient, judged by what it was and what it is in other satellite countries. Still you do hear the incompetent echo in the tapped hotel telephone, you do notice that people look over their shoulders when talking in restaurants - the secret police are dormant but not forgotten; you feel in your bones, as you would a threatening change in the weather, every change in Russian mood or action. This is not and air we have ever breathed; I doubt if we would be strong enough to resist such a climate and stay as healthy in spirit as the Poles.
Politics really must be a rotten profession considering what awful moral cowards most politicians become as soon as they get the job.
Then somebody suggested I should write about the war, and I said I didn't know anything about the war. I did not understand anything about it. I didn't see how I could write it.
Why do people talk of the horrors of old age? It's great. I feel like a fine old car with the parts gradually wearing out, but I'm not complaining,... Those who find growing old terrible are people who haven't done what they wanted with their lives.
After the desperate years of their own war, after six years of repression inside Spain and six years of horror in exile, these people remain intact in spirit. They are armed with a transcendent faith; they have never won, and yet they have never accepted defeat.