Authors — V

Quotations by Stephen Vizinczey

As both capitalist and communist states — not to mention the technological world — have evolved under the illusion that men purposefully built them, ideological optimism seeps into every niche of our lives. It is made worse by mass culture which feeds our most destructive illusions, fostering the belief that if we’re only justified (and who isn’t?) — if we only calculate things correctly, if we only do the right thing (and who doesn’t?) — then the future must yield the desired results. There must always be a way. And so hubris turns to false certainties, everyone expects to be a winner, and each morning is a mind-blowing surprise.

Consistency is a virtue for trains: what we want from a philosopher is insights, whether he comes by them consistently or not.

Is it possible that I am not alone in believing that in the dispute between Galileo and the Church, the Church was right and the centre of man’s universe is the earth?

Most bad books get that way because their authors are engaged in trying to justify themselves. If a vain author is an alcoholic, then the most sympathetically portrayed character in his book will be an alcoholic. This sort of thing is very boring for outsiders.

Perhaps in a book review it is not out of place to note that the safety of the state depends on cultivating the imagination.

Powerful men in particular suffer from the delusion that human beings have no memories. I would go so far as to say that the distinguishing trait of powerful men is the psychotic certainty that people forget acts of infamy as easily as their parents birth.

Strange as it may seem, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and formal education positively fortifies it.

The only virtue a character needs to possess between hardcovers, even if he bears a real person’s name, is vitality: if he comes to life in our imaginations, he passes the test.

The truth is that our race survived ignorance; it is our scientific genius that will do us in.

The war against Vietnam is only the ghastliest manifestation of what I’d call imperial provincialism, which afflicts America’s whole culture — aware only of its own history, insensible to everything which isn’t part of the local atmosphere.